Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Little Break

I find my notes on Blossom in the computer every few years and recall a little of the reality on which it was based. Every year I recall a little less, though, so that the notes become more and more the reality. There's a completed short story based on the character of "Blossom", but it's actually a rather long short story for my readership. My audience doesn't much seem to lean that way. I don't think people in general lean toward getting their fiction fix from blogs. Certainly not long stories, anyway.

Reminiscences About Blossom

Ordinarily you have to stand in line to pay court to such a beautiful young woman as Blossom was. I'd never had the luck before of catching one like this, in-between boyfriends and with her guard lowered.

Outwardly, I tried to appear cool, but how could that make much difference? I was never as cool as I wanted to be. Perhaps I was afraid of young women or of beauty or of both. Blossom had an abundance of both youth and beauty. My view at the time was that if you have too narrow a view of beauty, you not only have to eat your heart out, you might have to go without. Sometimes I went out with women who were examples of a very liberal interpretation of beauty, and other times I went without going out. In my inexperienced twenties, Blossom simply blinded me, but she couldn't help it—she didn't do anything, she just was. She tried to play down her beauty and be normal. I concluded later that she was normal, but that she just couldn't play down such beauty. Her beauty often drew things to her that she didn't want, and then it was as if her own appearance was her enemy.

I didn't claim to know where the line was drawn between ordinary and extraordinary beauty—I only know that Blossom had crossed it. The young woman wasn't stuck up about it—in fact, sometimes she seemed to be apologetic about it—but that didn't keep her from unintentionally making me uneasy. If anyone noticed anything about us at all, I knew, it wasn't because anyone was keeping track of me. They were keeping track of that young beauty.

She drove me once to a strip joint in Austin called the Pink Pussycat. We sipped watered-down drinks and watched the girls dance. Actually, I didn't know which to watch; Blossom didn't have to do anything to be worth watching and what the strippers had to do to be worthy, they were doing all they could!

I never knew if Blossom had brought me there for a lesson of some sort. (It wasn't to put the thought of sex in my head as I might ordinarily think. The best I could tell, there was no such thing on her mind.) I couldn't help wondering if she was showing that she knew something about the foolishness of being too impressed about Beauty. It seemed a very indirect way to say it.

After a fashion, I was being brave to keep going with her, even for the few weeks it lasted. It wasn't long before the handsome fool who'd left her decided to come back to her. She wanted to give him a chance; they had a lot of time invested in one another, and so forth. They'd taken a little break from one another—I'd had a little break from reality.

Thirty years later, of course, I understand better what a little break it was. It was no great matter. My life went on in a much more sensible way and the women that followed were far more desirable and sensible, though seldom as gorgeous. Still, sometimes, all of a sudden, I recall some foolish detail, the sweet smell of her hair, the terrific beauty of her face and form, the brightness of her smile, the sharp steel-blue color of those rumpled culottes, the low-cut bodice of her peasant blouse. What stupid, shallow things they are that spark remembrances sometimes, yet how tender, how redolent of all the perfumed kisses of that sexless musty old mystery…

I was always struck by this afterwards: Blossom and I got together about the time my old Ford Falcon broke down and I couldn't afford to get it worked on for a while. We used her car. The last time I went out with her was the day that I got my repaired car back from the shop. Some kind of weird symbols, eh?

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