Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

My Very Own Big Bang

Gary Carter


Debbie was known as the make-out queen of Hope Springs Elementary School and an expert in the exotic art of the French kiss with a tongue that could reportedly tickle your tonsils. As a result, she was widely sought after by unskilled males eager to be schooled, and she readily obliged. While there was some talk of additional hanky-panky, there was nothing confirmed by reliable witnesses. After all, this was the early Sixties.

I will readily acknowledge that it was Debbie who initiated me, welcomed me with open arms and lips one sultry evening into the swing on her porch. I had walked back and forth in front of her house about a dozen times, trying to get up my nerve to knock on the door or hoping that she would happen onto the porch. And my prayers were answered.

“Eliot, is that you?” called a soft voice from the shadows.

“I guess it is,” I answered, immediately wanting to slap myself for not coming up with something a bit cooler.

“You guess it is?” cooed the voice. “Maybe you’d better come up here and let me check.”

I dutifully ascended the steps and saw Debbie sitting in the swing, using one bare toe to push herself gently back and forth. Even in the dim twilight, I could see that she had on a pair of shorts and a white tank top that contrasted sharply with her tanned skin.

“It’s so hot I decided to sit out here and cool off,” she said. “But it’s not doing much good.”

Ah, the weather. Now here was something on which I could speak with some authority without losing my concentration, thus allowing myself a grace period to get everything back under control.

“Yep, I heard it was almost ninety today, which is pretty hot for May,” I pronounced knowingly.

“Would you like to sit down?”

Ever suave, I stepped over and sat down, or attempted to. Unfortunately, I mis-timed the rhythm of the swing and my butt barely caught the front edge, which tilted down and dumped me onto the porch floor. Then, for good measure, it swung back around and conked me squarely in the back of the head. The ensuing pain and embarrassment came as one and, though I wanted to cry, I managed the next best thing: I laughed. Hell, I didn’t just laugh. I hooted, snorted and cackled like a maniac. Debbie, bless her heart, joined in with no prompting. And, when she dropped down beside me, that damn swing hit me in the head again, which set off a new round of snorts from both of us.

Still giggling, we managed to get back up and into the swing without any further damage. Debbie reached over and gently touched the back of my head. I tried not to flinch when she grazed the bump already rising.

“Ouch, I know that has to hurt,” she said.

“Ah, it’s not bad,” I lied. “I’ve had worse.”

Her hand continued to rub my head, and, when I turned to look at her, our eyes met. Okay, we all know what it’s like. You look at her, she looks at you and some evolutionary truth kicks in that something is about to happen. Then follows that slow migration toward one another. And then the first gentle touch of her lips against yours, a phantom lightness that is there and gone. And then her lips press against yours harder. And, if you’re lucky like I was, she knows how to part them just enough so that you are forced to open yours to retain full contact. And then you feel the tip of her tongue glide forward until it finds yours. And then she takes control and, in her worldly way, initiates you into the ways of the flesh.

It was a moment as vivid today as it was thirty-some years ago. I had never imagined, much less felt, any thing as soft as Debbie’s lips. And when our tongues collided, a jolt of something unknown and mysterious surged through my body with such force that I almost fell out of the swing again. However, the magnetic pull of her lips kept me firmly in place; in fact, I never wanted to leave that swing.

Unfortunately, Debbie’s father suddenly peered out the screen door and turned on the porch light. The magnetic pull reversed itself exponentially and propelled us back to our respective sides of the swing.

“That you Eliot?”

“Yessir, just stopped by to say hello,” I answered, somewhat amazed that my lips were able to form words after discovering this new use for them. “In fact, I guess I should get going. Don’t want to miss Gunsmoke.”

He laughed. “You bet. Never know what ol’ Festus is going to be up to.”

He turned away from the door, leaving us doused in the yellow glare of the single bulb. Debbie’s hand slipped over mine.

“That was fun, Eliot,” she whispered. “But you can’t tell anybody, okay?”

“No problem. Guess I’ll see you in school.”

We parted as if nothing big had happened. But my universe had experienced its very own Big Bang, and I knew I would never be the same again. I walked home a new man.

___

Based in North Carolina, Gary Carter is a writer and editor whose most recently published work is Eliot’s Tale, a reverse coming-of-age road trip novel that contemplates things done and left undone.

© Gary Carter

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2010