Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pretty Little Liar

Fourteen-year-old Rosie was perhaps an inch taller than I.  It would be yet several months before the growth spurt that would put me over six foot three.  The first time I saw Rosie walk past the concession stand, my head spun around, and it was still spinning  five days later when camp was over for the year.  She may or may not have been the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, but she was without doubt the most intriguing.

Rosie wore her auburn hair in two long plaits.  I knew just how long from just one glimpse, for after she braided her hair, she coiled it and pinned it atop her head, which of course made her seem even taller than she actually was.  It was my day to work as camp messenger.  Just before lights out the camp counselor handed me an envelope and told me to deliver it pronto to Cabin C.  That was Rosie’s cabin!  Well, Rosie’s and seven other girls, but they didn’t matter.  

I knocked on the door.  One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Missi--  the door swung open and there stood Rosie in a robe, hairbrush in her right hand and her hair hanging free.  There is no doubt that she could sit on her hair if she chose to do so.  I mean, oh, man!  I did not sleep for thirty hours.

So just how did Rosie lie to me?  Let me count the ways.  One, she told me I was “cute.”  I was too inexperienced at fourteen to understand the real meaning of the expression in girl language.  Two, she told me she would write back when I wrote to her.  I wrote, she didn’t.  Three, she told me she would “never forget me.”  On second thought, that may have been the truth, for she did call out to me just now, didn’t she?

We reminisced a bit, caught up a bit with talk of spouses, and children and grandchildren, and so forth.  I ribbed her about her dishonesty with me, all in good fun, because what did it matter now?  “Oh,” she exclaimed, “I am a very deceitful person.  I try to be truthful in word, but in deed it is a different story.”  Here she reached up, twisted the hair arrangement a bit, and removed her hairpiece from her head.  Bald.  Totally bald.

Then and only then did she tell me about the cancer, the chemo, the prognosis.

I cried.

She swatted my arm with her magazine.  “Go on.  Get outta here.  You always were a sentimental old fool, even when you were a kid.”

©2015 David W. Lacy

9 comments:

Secondary Roads said...

Certainly couldn't see that one coming.

Grace said...

That was so sweet...

vanilla said...

Chuck, oft times we are unaware of the burden others are bearing.

Grace, thank you. Puppy love turned to a lasting friendship is a sweet thing.

Lin said...

Well, you did end up being friends. I think you won in the end, right? Sorry to hear about the cancer though. :(

vanilla said...

Lin, a true friendship is always a win. No one has too many friends.

Ilene said...

I laughed at "Bald. Totally Bald." Then the next sentence gave me a lump in my throat.

vanilla said...

Ilene, in the midst of our laughter life sometimes kicks us in the teeth.

Sharkbytes said...

I can't tell in your stories where the reality ends and the fiction begins, but there are certainly many Rosie's in our lives.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, if a tale is any good, there is truth therein, be it fictional or not.

You are perceptive. Some of these tales labelled "fiction" have a basis in personal experience; but to avoid the problem Brian Williams encountered, I attach the label.