At times I believed I was the only boy living on Grantline Road, for my neighborhood roamed with females. Older girls with larger physiques eventually subdued me during any test of muscular strength. Every week I faithfully claimed a different girlfriend, in which my love was steadfast until it was time to chose another.
Except Shelly Perkins.
I remember how my heart throbbed and my stomach tingled when I saw her from my window. Her blond hair seemed to burn in the sunlight and her little legs were wonderfully tanned. Her blue eyes sparkled like Fourth of July fireworks.
We sprinted bare footed in the grass and it tickled our feet. We ran across the freshly hoed garden beds and the cool crumbled soil would lodge between our toes. After endless hours of chasing and catching, we would flop into the shade of the mulberry tree and devour every purple fruit within reach.
One time when we were full and there was nothing left to do, I remember leaning close and peering down her yellow tank top. The small pink circles on her front were really not much different than my own. We didn’t know what sex was all about, and other than that encounter, we had more fun holding our breaths while kissing underwater in the child’s pool.
That summer Shelly moved. I missed her and thought about her many weeks afterwards. I do not know what happened to her, but that innocent epoch of my childhood was forever stamped into my brain.
Wherever you are, Shelly, I hope you are doing okay.