A Lovely State of Somewhere In Between

 

Thirteen was a lovely state of somewhere in between. Lean and brown and nimble, on the edge of something unknown, precariously teetering between my childhood and my womanhood. I had nowhere to feel comfortable. No place seemed to totally claim me, not my past and certainly not my future. That familiar little, knocked kneed girl with the dirty face and tangled hair,too quickly, it seemed, was slipping from me. That summer I had noticed my cutoffs were beginning to hug in a new way. My tan legs showed curious new curves, forgetting the gangliness that ten and twelve had brought. Long dark hair had taken on a thick healthy glow and flowed as soft as silk whenever I tossed my head.

The neighbor boys had begun to snicker and elbow one another, speaking when they thought I couldn’t here. “Ha, you see our little tomboy lately? I think she’s wearing a bra!” They had started to call now in a different way, requesting long walks or slow bike rides on warm spring nights. Gone were evenings of ramping bikes or running races. Each one showed at my door, shyly and awkwardly, at different times to sit on my porch and chat.

Bewildered and incensed, I wanted to shout at them, to grab their necks and shake them awake.  Please, see me! I’m here, still just the girl next door, the same one who grew up beside you, who knows every little annoying thing about you. Don’t try to tease me or grab me or hold my hand. Leave me alone. I don’t want to grow up. But that certain power that turned my face to red also crept within my body, spreading its warmth.

Body emerging with softened angles and mysterious allure, I pedaled my bike on that old paper route and contemplated this certain power I dared not use. Men, grown and with hair all over their bodies were straining necks, whistling out their car windows and honking horns. In my girlishness, my face burned as I pedaled faster. I didn’t know this attention and yet it gave me a secret warm glow.

I broke a window that year, on my birthday. A mixture of feelings, I always seemed to be fighting lately, swirled through my mind and body. I was sad and lonely and I didn’t know why.  I wanted to run and play with my brother and his friends but I wanted too, to be grown up and experience a first real boyfriend. I didn’t want men to look and honk but it did feel nice. I threw that last newspaper a little too hard and slam! It broke the glass on that door. I burst into tears, how could this happen to me on my birthday? Mortified, I rubbed away those tears and stomped up to the door to apologize and offer to pay.

In my dark mood, I jumped from my bike and ran into my house. There in that bright warm kitchen, my favorite meal of spaghetti and chocolate cake and colorful, papered presents awaited. There too, my big sis, Amy and her little babe, Laura, who I often babysat. I opened my presents and found things a thirteen year old would appreciate; perfume, cool colored undies with the days of the week printed on them, a pair of jeans with a sweet design on the pocket. My family had gathered around the table and my sister had come home just for me. My mood shifted. I felt okay again, comfortable again, there with my  family’s love showering around me.

I hung there, in that lovely state of somewhere in between, for at least another year. I learned things, secret things that you just come to know. Things that I now know happen naturally and sweetly. The real power of a woman, the true heart of men, all of those things were far ahead. But that year, that year I got a little glimpse of what was to be. And so it was, as easy as a baby’s sigh, with my family’s love there to steady me, I set aside my little girl ways. I began to move gently and gratefully into my own womanhood.

When I Was 12

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)

Sitting at my laptop on a snowy day off work. Delicious words whirl and twirl through my head but how to put them on paper for you all to enjoy? Jamming to Pandora gets my memories stirring. How creative was Fleetwood Mac and heck, all of the entertainers of the 70’s! Maybe it’s just my age showing, maybe I”m getting old and think that everything from my era is the best. Maybe but maybe it’s just the truth.

Rhiannon by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac now pours from my laptop speakers. On it’s lyrics floats a starry summer night of mine,  sitting around the campfire in our backyard. I had a friend spending the night and we were camping out. The transistor was our companion and the fire was begging for some serious staring and contemplating life.

But alas, where was this so called friend. She informed me that she preferred to be in the house with my big sister, Peggy. All of twelve years old, I was  learning some hard life lessons this night. Some people really didn’t want to spend time with wonderful little old me! They just wanted  to get closer to one of my cool older siblings. Later I would find this especially true in the case of my older brother, Jeff,  but this first time it was my sister, Peg, 4 years my senior, that was the intent of my friend, Jess.

Jess was a couple years older then me, a tall, beautiful blondie with a carefree personality. Flattered by her attention to me I had quickly agreed to have her come for a camp out. I should have seen that coming I reprimanded myself as I turned up the radio and poked at the fire.

The fire sparked as I gave it some good hard jabs and I turned my face upwards towards the sky. The sparks floated up with a fierceness and died out with a small wisp of smoke.

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes through the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?” (Nicks).

Stevi Nicks rang out as the words  filled my mind and I kept my head up, shifting my gaze to the millions of stars twinkling above.

“All your life you’ve never seen a woman
Taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you Heaven?
Will you ever win?”(Nicks).

With the crackling of the fire,  sensual rhythm and mystical words filling my little girl senses, I felt something begin to stir inside me.

“She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless.”(Nicks).

I felt my sadness seeping out and something new began to dawn within me…a feeling I didn’t recognize. There was a mixture of wonderment, hope,  freedom. These words were speaking right to me. Some kind of a promise for my future was in her words, as if someone somewhere was calling to me and telling me good things were to come. Someone, someday would be mine and stay with me and be my forever.

While my sister, Peg and her boyfriend had clandestine meetings at Lake Siemer, I spent that summer laying in his car playing his 8 track player.  Fleetwood Mac, Blue Oyster Cult, Rod Stewart and whatever 8 track was available to me, I lay there with my eyes closed and drank them in. I believed them. I held on to the hope of them. I learned the lessons they taught.

Well, people, girlfriends, men, coworkers have come and gone and sometimes its my fault and some times not. Sometimes it’s mutual. But thirty some years later, I realize I’m still learning life’s hard lessons. Still, whenever I hear this song, I am slammed right back to that long ago summer night and the smell of fire and the huge huge sky full of millions of sparkling things that was my future.

When I was twelve, the word’s of the 70’s became my life.

 

 

 

Nicks,Stevie.  “Rhiannon” Music by Fleetwood Mac. (Rhiannon). Reprise. 1975.

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