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High School Honey

by Bill Bowler

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Honey

The desire that had been Vronsky’s only one for almost an entire year and had replaced all earlier desires, and the desire that had been an impossible, horrifying and therefore all the more seductive dream of happiness for Anna — that desire was gratified. — L. N. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t love.

That evening in May of 1968, the heavens above Brookbank were clear enough to see the faint veil of the Milky Way beyond the stars. Silence lay on Saddlesoap Lane. In Number 8, two windows were lit. The shifting glimmer of an unseen TV screen flickered from a downstairs room. From a second story bedroom window, soft white light shone. A girl’s silhouette appeared for a moment at the window.

Honey closed the curtain. She felt as if someone were watching, and pulled on her robe. The curtain rustled from a soft breeze through the half open window.

Honey sat on the edge of the bed and rested her chin on one knee. The robe parted and fell away from her thigh as she painted her toenails and hummed a tune quietly to herself.

School books and glamour magazines were strewn about the floor. The phone on the night table rang. She put down the nail polish and picked up the receiver.

“Hello?.. Oh, it’s you... You’ve got some nerve... No... I don’t want to!.. That’s right!.. Don’t bother.” Click.

She hung up, reached for the nail polish and knocked over the bottle.

The phone rang again. She dabbed up the spilt polish with a kleenex and picked up the phone with the other hand,

“Hello?.. There’s nothing to discuss... I don’t want to think about it!.. Just leave me alone!!”

She hung up again, rose from the bed, and saw her reflection in the mirror over the bureau. Tears were welling in her eyes. She wiped her cheek with a tissue and was brushing her hair back when the phone rang again.

Honey stood motionless as the phone rang insistently. She lifted the receiver and placed it down again. The ringing stopped. Then she took the phone off the hook and left it off. She sat on the bed for a moment, and then lay back down on her pillow and covered her face with her hands.

“Honey, dear,” her mother called from the TV room downstairs, “come quick. I want you to see this.”

Mrs. Miller’s favorite actor, Ricardo Montalban, was being interviewed on a talk show. Honey entered the TV room wiping her eyes and sank into the easy chair. Her mother was glued to the tube.

“Look at this! Listen to this man. What a hunk!”

Honey sniffled. A commercial came on. Her mother flipped the dial.

“That man is so suave. Are you doing your homework upstairs, dear?”

“Yes.” Honey’s voice cracked.

“What’s wrong? You’re awfully pale. Have you been crying?” Mrs. Miller switched off the volume. “What is it, dear? Tell me. It can’t be that bad.”

Honey had a little cry on her mother’s shoulder. Her mother gave her a kleenex. “Now what’s the big problem?”

“It’s nothing, Mom.”

“Boy trouble? You can tell me about it. I know a few things. I might surprise you, dear. You know, I wasn’t much older than you are now when I met your father. He was just back from the war and very handsome in his uniform. He started coming by our house all the time and...”

Mrs. Miller passed into a momentary reverie, half-forgotten memories of courtship and first love.

“But, mom,” asked Honey, “why is dad never home now?”

Her mother’s face clouded over. “Things don’t always work out the way you planned them. Your father and I... He...” Mrs. Miller’s voice trailed off and she picked up her drink. Honey kissed her.

“Don’t feel bad, mom.”

Honey heard the TV click on again as she was climbing the stairway back up to her room. She left the phone off the hook, turned off the light, climbed into bed and pulled up the covers. But she couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned well into the night, wondering if that jerk was trying to call, wondering why he was acting this way, wondering what he would do.

The full moon was rising in the east, casting its dim silver light across the yard. The trees arched gracefully over the street, forming a shadowy alley. An occasional car sped by, dangerously fast. Honey still lay in bed, eyes open in the dark, watching faint shifting patterns on the ceiling, wide awake.

He wanted an explanation. Of what? He was acting like a baby, like he needed his mother or something. It was weird. Her husband, when she got married some day, would never act like that. He’d be strong, proud, loving, affectionate. He would read her moods and be sensitive and supportive, not come screaming in jealous fits and making demands.

She couldn’t picture his face, but he was fair, and muscular, wearing a suit and tie, very successful in business. She was picking him up at the train station. He was running to her arms. They embraced, he kissed her, and they were driving back to their secluded mansion...

Proceed to Chapter 2...

Copyright © 2010 by Bill Bowler

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