Holding On Tight

Fiction Short, created for StaceysMotheringMoments.com

I grew up anyway.

When I close my eyes though, I can still picture it. I’m 17 and working the booth at the county fair. It’s the middle of the day and it’s a virtual desert. I lean my head back, feeling my hair against my neck and turn my face to the breeze of a fan. I’m leaning against the counter and all I can hear are flies buzzing and the occasional horse whinny.

Candlebox is playing quietly on the stereo in the background. It’s a little heavier than what I usually listen to, but the boy listens to them and now, so do I. I turn my attention back to my book. If anybody asks, I’m not reading, just acting bored and cool. But on the sly, I’m really intrigued by the book.

I look up to see him walking towards the booth. I shove my book haphazardly under a bag of bread, but I don’t notice that half of the book is still sticking out. The boy is a fine specimen of maleness. Plus he’s in college and he has a really great car. And that smile. That smile melts me every time. What more can a 17 year old girl ask for? And today he’s hanging out with his friends so he’s not in our ugly green work uniforms. He takes my breath away.

I recover as he draws near and try to regain my coolness. I’m sure he knows I have nerd status at school, but he doesn’t seem to take it to heart.

“Hey beautiful. How’s it going out here today?” I feel the butterflies.

Act casual, I think. “Boring and slow. You workin’ later?” I lean slightly forward, teasingly.

“Yeah, I’m on at 6.”

I already knew that, of course, but I act surprised. “Oh, I’ll just miss you then. That’s when I’m off.”

“Maybe I’ll see you before you leave then.”

“Maybe.”

He turns to go, then something catches his eye. “Whatcha readin’?”

I look down at my half concealed book and blush. I’ve been caught.

“Anything good?”

“Not really. I’m just behind on a book we are supposed to read for school.” I lie. I’m never behind on reading and it’s not a book for school, but I’m acting cool, remember.

He winks at me and walks back to his group of friends. I’m sure he knows my secret.

If I hadn’t seen him act like this with piles of girls, I might be even more tingly than I already am. My interest in him is solely physical. He’s damaged goods. He’s been around the block once or twice or twenty times. But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t lust a little. I’ll flirt my little heart out, just for the thrill of it with that one.

I sigh as I recount all the time we spend flirting with each other, and I’m suddenly anxious for 6 o’clock to arrive. But I have hours. And once again all I hear are the flies buzzing in the background.

“Moooom! I need help wiping!” I’m wrenched back into the present. I’m no longer 17 and single, but married and 33 with six kids in tow.

“I’m coming,” is my reply as I whistle some nearly forgotten tune.