Summer Women

“I knew a girl who was almost a lady; she had a way with all the men in her life; every inch of her blossomed in beauty, she was born on the Fourth of July. She slept in an aluminum house trailer and she worked in a juke box saloon; and she spent all the money I give her, just to see that old man in the moon”. – The Great CompromiseJohn Prine

We met the Fourth of July in a small kitchen in Berkeley that succored the cream of intellectual hippies of the day; the academy kids from Goddard and Yale who were working off their guilt trips by sharing their trust fund purchased educations with the less fortunate but infinitely happier inner city minority kids from neighborhoods that supported their high schools; savants who’d  exemplified themselves enough among their peers to be selected to partake of a summer youth jobs program; all of us funded by the last gasp of Lyndon Johnson’s vision of the Great Society and its corner-stone scheme of revenue sharing.

She burst through the doorway with a personality that arrived ten minutes before her beauty; black eyes, black hair, a coltish twenty and eons younger than my twenty-seven hard scrabble years. She sported a thin patina of bravery that masked a jittery privileged insecurity that along with a smile that made it seem as though she’d swallowed the sun really set the hook in me. Her name was Shakespearean and I was momentarily struck by how our names together formed a kind of ancient love poetry. Sometimes that’s all it takes. I was there as an instructor, a teacher; she was an intern, a student. I pulled on trouble’s braids.

My guardian angel shadow whispered let her be; but when my pal made a move for her I jumped his game and sat her on my lap. I told her some story about how I’d like to come home to her and have dinner waiting; when she bristled at the idea, another thought popped into my brain that she had a bit of poison. But things being what they are with women of this sort and me I pushed the thought out; pushed it clean out. I pulled on trouble’s braids.

We lasted about a year, her and me, lived together, loved the notion of what we thought each other could be and tangled the bed-clothes in ways they can never be undone. She was that box of Godiva chocolates you know you should only eat a few pieces of but down ten instead; powerless because it’s just so good you can’t stop. She was my toy and I couldn’t stop playing with her even though we had that Leo/Scorpio thing going; where together we are empire builders but never could be close; never partners.

It was a real choice love affair, a real stormy romance; the sex was historic, volcanic, heroin-like addictive; big medicine in any mans world and like most men I figured it would be enough. But on this Fourth of July, since we are 1,300 miles apart and she landed just what she wanted; someone ordinary and normal; apparently, it wasn’t.  I pulled on trouble’s braids. I vowed to never do it again.

Now and then I’m reminded what Einstein said, that insanity was doing a thing repeatedly and expecting a different result; and what a very dead friend of mine told me; that genius was nothing more than knowing what to do next. I didn’t listen to the advice of the former and deduced from the latter that I had to journey far before achieving genius-hood.

A couple of months ago I met another girl in this tiny Midwestern town I’d landed in who reminded me of the aforementioned; had the same Willy Shakes moniker and, once again, together our names seemed to me passionately poetic. She had the braids and the bravery covering feminine insecurity, covered too in tattoos she ran a small business covering others with them; an artist. Since my last love had been an artist and that had gone pretty well, until it didn’t, I hit the accelerator; determined to be the exception that proved Albert’s rule.

Again her mystery conjured loving thoughts in a young boy’s heart and when I made my intentions clear she seemed to take the bait; but when I went in confidently for the close she shot me down with a howitzer. I didn’t know what to make of that so naturally I was intrigued; my ID, ego and instincts told me to give it some more gas. Had it not been for that girl who’d swallowed the sun; I would have.

But by now I’d gained the good sense to take Al’s advice and mix what my brain was shouting with what my heart was screaming and not let the little head tell the big head what to do; so having achieved illusive genius, knowing instinctually not to try to push the river, knowing it would not only be ultimately destructive but worse, bad form, coupled with the fact I didn’t want some mean mouthed woman with a cob sideways anyway; I let her go.

Too bad too; I was her fireman, come here to rescue her; set to peel back the layers of bad trips she’d clearly had with past lovers. Had she bought a ticket and taken the ride she’d have been six months just catching her breath. Anyway, I believe in Kismet, today’s the Fourth of July; I kept the vow.


About circusinpurgatory
Nick Masesso Jr’s fictionalized short stories, poetry and prose have been published in the Starry Night Review, Elegant Thorn Review, Language and and Vagabond Press; the Battered Suitcase. His latest book “Armor of Innocence” and first book “Walking the Midway in Purgatory, a Journal” are available on-line and through bookstores.

3 Responses to Summer Women

  1. James Mcfarland says:

    Touching, poignant, memorable. 9.6 rating, off the charts, errorless. Incredible imagery rises from piece, a real tear jerker. The falcon soars to new heights.

  2. Reblogged this on Nick Masesso, Jr..

    • ^^^ Review unchanged, stands the test of time ~

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