The Wonder Years


I stood on my tip toes and peeked through the window screen.
He pulled up in a family car, a station wagon, circa 1976 ish,
he stepped out and my stomach flipped.

His dress shirt matched the color of my gown,
rust, the color of clay found down South
intentional by design, I was sure.
The ruffles on the shirt were completely unexpected,
Fashion forward?
Not so sure.
My stomach flipped back the other way.

I flew down the stairs to get outside
and into the car before the neighbors caught
wind of this awkward rite of passage,
not nearly quick enough though,
there was the corsage to deal with,
a single, somber flower packed in a plastic dome.
Next, the pinning ceremony,
followed by endless Polaroid instant photos,
aim, shoot, wait, wait some more, and finally,
we emerged slowly through the milky white chemicals.
two rust colored kids,
dressed beyond our years.

We said goodbye and hopped into the back of the family mobile,
seats so slick we slid east to west every time we rounded a corner.

Next stop, parent trap #2,
more photos for the memory book,
light appetizers and virgin cocktails for all.
Sneaky whispers overheard from the kitchen,
“Are they holding hands?”
“Did they kiss?”
A final photo and back in the car.

We were chauffeured in silence,
and dropped in front of the gym.
We felt the music thumping from the car.
I snuck my Bonnie Bell Root Beer Lip Smacker
from my miniature purse and re-applied another coat,
along with a fresh spritz of Love’s Baby Soft.

When the doors swung open I heard Rod Stewart
singing “Tonight’s the night, it’s gonna be all right”,
the night drew to a fabulous close.

While back in the family mobile,
rust boy slid over and lightly
kissed my Bonnie Bell drenched lips,
while Mr. Chauffeur smiled from the rear view mirror.

Debbie Hope
Full of Hope

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4 thoughts on “The Wonder Years

  1. Debbie, You have written a short story, with all the necessary elements. Beautiful! If you were in my English class, you would receive an A+. Please share this at an open mike night at Jackson’s Java. They will love it.

  2. OMG Debbie you are so great at putting things and feelings into words! You truly have a gift. I’m still smiling thinking about it.

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