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.
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
©2015 David W. Lacy