Perhaps it’s Love (Ch #10: the Ship)


She would have liked to have been able to write home to tell everyone, everything that was taking place, but she didn’t’ want to be persuaded to return so she avoided such thoughts, and hid them in the back of her mind. For some peculiar reason she had thought about Johnny now: in that, Jill seemed a little let down when his name came up. Perhaps she could write to him to let him know all was well; tell him how adventurous she was, had been. He’d appreciate it from her. And why not inform him Jill had asked about him, he would like that surely. Write she would, but not home yet, another time, when everything in her life had gotten a little more stabilized, a little more settled and when she herself had gotten acclimated to the environment.

–[Morning] She woke up to the rain hitting the window; it sounded fresh and filled with new life, new horizons, and new beginnings, new everything. She had always been wakened by an alarm clock before this journey; how funny she thought to be woken by the mind-clock in one’s head. She looked around as she dressed; putting on her dress–looking for a clock when she knew there was no clock. Out into the gray wet sky she looked, where a few beams of sunlight was shinning through, giving birth to a new day: thus she stood by the window trying to close it. Little did she know it was 2:00 PM? She had slept fourteen-hours. Her mind was much clearer now, as she looked out the window noticing the Belmont’s [George and Ann], were walking under an umbrella to the corner bar; Ann was arguing about something with George. George was thin, about five-feet eight inches tall, worked for a heating company; and Ann was a secretary, short, about four foot, ten inches. It seemed she won most of the fights, but then, George knew where to hide better than her, and would escape her bickering.

Standing at the window, trying to close it, the wet rain started to splatter against her thighs as the wind pushed her dress tightly between her legs, it was as if she’d be a part of the main mast of a ship, or main sail of a ship. The wind must have been thirty miles an hour or more–she guessed–but the rain wasn’t bad, just a light drizzle, yet constant, and with it, it hit her face, lightly speckled her arms, but it was refreshing as it found its way through the screen and open window. She now headed downstairs.

The Ship

O, if this house had been a ship (The Belmont’s house, she was on the poop-deck (or above the upper quarter deck) looking out; looking out into the sea. But the boats were replaced by cars, the sea by asphalt. She felt she had the whole ship in her pocket, the yard, the mast, the boom, the sails, the decks, and the haul and gallery; the stern and the bow–everything. She was from Minnesota, land of wet, rain, rivers, snow: water in every dimension; the point where the Mississippi originated, flowing all the way down to St. Louis, and beyond to New Orleans. She loved the calm of water, the fancy boat rides up and down the river in the summer. She was most happy with rain–so Seattle was befitting; and she loved the long walks along the river banks, around the many city lakes. Today was a nice day to be alive she thought; and the rain was just part of the glory of the day.

–In the living room, behind Tasma, at this time, stood Jill; as Tasma turned a forty-five degree angle, she had a smile waiting for her. It was a fresh smile, for a fresh day, a sober smile, she commented: “Let’s walk in the rain like we used to do when we were kids [a pause] you remember, remember when we’d come visit you in Minnesota, have those picnics, and we’d stay over at your house and we’d run in the rain, play in the puddles.” There was a melancholy tone and countenance to her voice and face now. She had not visited Minnesota since she was thirteen, but before that, it was once a year, that was before her mother and father took to drinking on an excessive regular schedule.

Tasma quietly thought, as she looked into her strong looking face, almost mannish like, tight skin, square jaw, deep eyes, pretty, but looked much older than eighteen. Tasma’s eyes were telling her those were good days, family days, days you tuck away for retrieving when you are older, or in need of them on long journeys; yes, these were days to remember later on and talk about when you were old and gray; but running in the rain now was on Jill’s mind, it was a little indigent thought Tasma, she pondered, as her eyebrows tried to announce that, as they went up towards the top of her forehead, lifting her eyelids and a portion of her cheek, and exposing her dark greenish-blue eyes and long eyelashes, “It might not be the best thing to do,” she commented; there was a moment of dark-silence.

Always a little aggressive was Jill’s nature: with impatience, and unexpected behavior. Jill looked straight into Tasma’s eyes as if to say: sorry, you’re going one way or the other.

“Sure, that sounds fine,” said Tasma, “I should put on some pants instead of a dress I mean trousers.” Within a heartbeat and a chuckle, no umbrella, Jill with her white t-shirt on, one you could almost see through should it get wet, which would be plastered onto her thin body, grabbed Tasma by her right arm and pulled her along as she started running out the door, and down the sidewalk, into the street, back onto the boulevard; in the rain, dancing, and singing, drowning in the rain, wet as ducks, both now laughing, crazily laughing at being silly. Tasma had started to shake her head as if she was mad, but then uninhibited, she let go and joined in the moment’s jubilee (Tommy was gazing out the window, watching them from the second story, from Jill’s bedroom).

Then as they neared the corner where the bar was, the ‘Due-Drop Inn,’ they did an about-face, and Jill let go of her hand and they both ran back to the house, Jill’s white t-shirt glued to her bosoms, like white on rice, and showing every curve and bump around her nipples. Tasma, she couldn’t help but see Jill had grown to womanhood, like her, but it was different it seemed, to see the shape of another girl’s body in such a manner, and Jill not blinking an eye about her few quick stares.

Tasma’s dress was stuck to her thighs from the wind blowing the rain on to her like an iron on top of a shirt, and soaking into her every layer of fabric and onto her flesh. And her blouse, white and fully covering her upper body and across her shoulders was almost as revealing as Jill’s, but you could not make out the full form of her bosoms, like you could with Jill’s t-shirt; Jill looked at her with wondrous eyes; eyes that said: we are not children anymore are we, for she had not looked so closely before at another woman’s body (Jill noticed Tommy looking at them both, and how focused he was, not moving just revealing his interest). They both then ran to their bedrooms to change and get out of the wet cloths, still laughing. (Tommy was thinking, if only boys could have such fun, but when boys play they think so seriously.)

Tommy–while Jill was changing her wet cloths for dry cloths–went into the hallway to wait, pacing the hallway back and forth. Through Tasma’s slightly open door he happened to stop and glance in, thus, seeing her, her completely naked, wiping her legs and stomach area dry with a short towel; next, she then lowered her leg from the bed, from which it was resting as she wiped her thigh, and looking for trousers, Tommy noticed her womanly curves, form and toned body, her pear shaped back lower area. It was even more so than Jill’s he thought, more pleasing to look at.

She had whitish creamy soft looking skin that seemed to melt his eyes, not one square inch too tan, thought Tommy–‘but how can one tan in Minnesota anyhow,’ he murmured to himself. Her skin looked fresh, and almost rosy with good-blood circulation.

“Hello,” said Tommy as he knocked on the slightly opened door. Tasma not knowing how much of her he saw, but knowing he saw nonetheless, something of her nude body, returning a bashful look–stood stern-naked with a blouse in her hand, one leg crossing the other, her stomach firm, and muscle tone in her upper legs showing; slowly she turned as if nothing had happened, and as she turned, “Oh,” she said half-astound, she started to put her cloths on now; her back to him, as he witnessed the arch of her back, her spinal cord, and all that a woman has to offer. It was but a moment and the show was over, her pants needed to be sipped up only, and so she did it quickly; she then quickly tucked in her blouse and for some reason became un-bashful (she was surprised she was not as untactful as she might had been, felt, or thought had it happened back home at her house in Minnesota, in front of him, odd as it seemed to her, it was a moment of being in control, and yet out of control, all the woman in her whispered it was ok).

As she turned around fully dressed now to meet him by the door, her body quivered a little; she wanted to ask what he was doing there, but said not a word (it was a little late for that, and had she yelled at him, Jill would have taken it as a threat, one way or another), and so she simply asked: “Is Jill ready,” not knowing what ‘ready,’ really meant, I mean, they had no destination to get ready for. She almost felt she had to protect him from Jill’s finding out he stood there, what a peculiar feelings he reflected to her. As she looked for a response, Tommy seemed to release his sucked in air, as if he couldn’t have moved even if she screamed at him to have moved.

“Tommy,” said Tasma, a little louder, “should we go see what Jill is up to?”

“Yes, yes, sure, I was just a little in awe, let’s go check her out.” He couldn’t look Tasma in the eyes for that moment. What was she up to he asked himself in the corners of his secret-mind, as they walked to Jill’s bedroom, he didn’t really know, he liked Jill, they were talking about marriage–had brought it up when things went well, and tucked it away when they were not; what was he doing; just a moment ago, he asked himself, ‘…just a quick moment one falls into, no big thing,’ he told himself. So he told himself, several times as they walked to Jill’s bedroom.

Tommy followed Tasma down the stairs as Jill was standing by the TV looking out, staring out the window. He could picture her naked with her high breasts, narrow hips and string-straight shoulders. She was more masculine than feminine he told himself, not like Tasma, or perhaps he was trying to convenience himself of something. The truth of the matter was, even though Jill was thin in many places, she was flabby, not toned in all the needed to be places, especially her behind; and her eyes dropped a little with her face, which was pale (from all the drinking I would expect, losing its elasticity). It was a disappointment to Tasma to see her once lovely olive colored skin, a natural coloring that she once admired about Jill, being shriveled to paleness; an asset from her father’s side.

In a way it seemed Tommy was embarrassed for Jill (especially now that Tasma was around), she had had many a boyfriend, not much taking care of herself in-between them, and was peevish somewhat–about life, yet likeable, but always discontent, or seemingly so with him, and them.

In contrast, Jill felt, he [he being: Tommy] was always too laid back for her; she joked about that, and he’d remark she was too wild for him. Possibly, opposite attracts: an old saying they’d both quote to each other, assuring their relationship was OK with the other. And they both gave each other more than enough space, possibly too much; and conceivably it was for convenience. And today Tommy was surprised he was stifled over Tasma, and Tasma seemed to notice this, and was womanly proud, but felt the spectacle of what had taken place, it should not have happened, and she’d not allow it to happen again she assured herself, and should, she’d have to go the length it took to assure he’d not trespass, whatever that might require. But it seemed at this point, it was an accidental intrusion at best.

–It seemed Tommy worked late hours at the inn, and Jill worked just before him, and when she needed to go elsewhere, he’d look the other way, that is, not blocking her from going, if she was going with some of the guys barhopping with a mixed group, that also was fine. He never asked questions. And now Johnny’s name had come up. He never heard it before. Not really. She had mentioned she had dated someone from Minnesota when she was a kid, but that was as far as it went. Funny he thought: how can that trigger such jittery emotions when she goes out with groups–barhopping and so forth, and he does not get jealous, and here, he is jealous over someone she dated five years ago for a short period of time, one summer to be exact.

“Do you mind,”‘ asked Jill, “to make some coffee?”

“Oh no–of course not,” said Tasma.

“Good then, I’ll make the eggs and bacon, and Tommy–he can make the toast and sit at the table and be served like a king.”

Her mother had gone out earlier to McDonalds to have a quick breakfast with her father; they didn’t seem to be patient nowadays.

“What’s that,” asked Jill. Tasma was holding a letter in her hand.

“Just a letter I’m sending it to Johnny Lemons, telling him about my adventure, and that you did remember him in a conversation after all these years.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” Jill said with a stare of blankness.

“Yes,” said Tommy a little hurt at her smile as she pulled out of her blankness; Jill noticing this, she gave Tommy a beam from her eyes-that was attached to a smile, and it seemed to iron out all the hurt Jill’s stare provoked.

“Tasma’s not afraid to get wet Tommy,” Tommy smiled, as Jill made this little remark.

“Yes, I saw that.”

“Dad and mom must be at the bar by now–they like playing cards on the weekends; sometimes Cribbage, sometimes Hearts, and Poker, and you know, just cards in general. I like darts; how about you Tasma?” She asked as she put the strips of bacon down into the old cast iron frying pan, as the fire had already heated up the bottom of the pan when the bacon hit the pan it sizzled like the zzzzzz’s in lightening-sounds. It smelled frisky-fine, thought Tasma, like a fresh drifting smell from the train station–the one she had stopped at on her way to Seattle.

Tasma had found the coffee pot and had filled it up with water, at present, she is putting in the coffee grounds, looking over her arms and over to the stove some four feet from her, “No, I’m aw’fly afraid I’m not any good at any of those things,” she uttered.

“Stick to that,” said Tommy; it was similar to a blurb out of nowhere, he even looked like he surprised himself. Jill didn’t turn round to see Tommy sitting at the rounded Formica-top kitchen table, playing some kind of finger game, or catch. But it did cross her mind to say to Tommy: ‘It’s good enough entertainment for you.’

Said Jill in a more realistic voice: “There really isn’t much around here to do, I mean the bar, our neighbors, like Wes and his family who lives on the south side of this house, and Janet with her four kids who live on the north side; I know there is a church down the block, it’s a Christian one, not sure what denomination. We are both gone pretty much, Tommy and I. Tommy works at the bar at night, and is finishing up an Independent Study course he does at the library for the University, and that is his final paper for his degree, or whatever. He will need a practicum, and that will keep him busy thereafter, or sometime in the future. And I work at the bar, mostly in the afternoons, most every day of the week. Tommy will be a Therapist, or Psychologist, something bordering on that. I like being a waitress; maybe I can get you a job there, I mean, if you’d like me to [?]”

–At that final word, Tommy stood up and excused himself, saying he had to go to the library to study, working on his papers.

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write by Leighton