What If Vol 2-2
“You love me?”
Daring to believe,
but fully overwhelmed by Susan’s emotional declaration.
“You love me!”
Feeling the thickening in my throat again,
but able, this time,
to hold back tears,
touching my thumb to her cheek,
lifting a running tear,
putting the tear onto my tongue,
“There, Sue, now we’re a part of each other.”
Taking her hand,
holding her palm to mouth
I kissed Susan’s hand,
and kissing it,
smelled the fragrance of Susan’s flesh.
God! Thinking the thought again,
“Susan,” I said, moving her hand from my lips,
turning it upright,
studying her hand as if to confirm that this was truly happening,
that this was truly Susan’s hand,
“This whole thing…”
I said reflectively.
“I’m not a religious guy, Sue,
not at all.
But don’t you see why it happened?”
So long as she had mentioned God and praying,
even though I fully believed it,
“It’s God! God wanted us to meet each other.
Why else would we both be at Walgreens,
at the same time?
And how come,
all of a sudden,
how come I had the nerve to talk to you?
And why would you and me…
you and I…
fall in love with each other the second we saw each other?
“God.” Susan answered.
Walking slowly in the thickening snow,
the feel of Susan’s bare hand brought biblical Samson to mind.
And as Samson knew his hair,
was a gift from God,
I sincerely felt that Susan was my gift from God.
And with her inexplicable,
seemingly completely reciprocal love,
for the first time in my life I felt I could do monumental things
—yes, even pass a college entrance exam.
What If: Vol 2-3
Walking with Susan,
merely walking alongside Susan
conveyed an aura of physical comfort
and spiritual warmth that,
gave me the sensation of walking on air.
Turning off the brightly lit avenue
onto the comparative darkness of a side street,
at a point between the waning light of one streetlight
and the increasing brightness of the next,
as though arriving at a preordained location,
turning to each other,
his arms about her waist,
her arms about his neck,
for a long moment each looked at the shadowed face
of the other through the falling snow and semi-darkness…
Their lips touched…
As soft and pure and chaste as the falling snow that swirled about them.
Each standing within the arms of the other,
the bulk of winter clothing separating their physical bodies,
both sensed the deeply felt mental warmth of loving,
…of being loved.
their first kiss,
sensing their universes’ spin,
nothing other than this purely chaste kiss was needed,
our first kiss,
I had a far off sense
of kissing this kiss before;
as kissing this kiss as in a different life,
of being in this place before,
other than snowflakes, though,
I had the remembrance of fireflies.
This sensation of déjà vu adding to the mysticism of this night,
and of this soul-moving kiss.
within her mind
the simple word
Oh, was thought,
for the first time in the years of her life
—other than the love of her fanily—
Susan Friedman now knew the meaning of love.
What If: Vol 2-4
Six months younger than me,
Susan would be seventeen in February.
“How’s about tomorrow?”
Standing hand in hand on the steps
between the entry and first floor,
“Can I see you tomorrow?”
“I’d love to see you tomorrow,
but don’t want my parents
thinking we’re moving too fast.
“Call me tomorrow at about eleven.
Tell me you’re taking your brothers sledding…
Think they’ll want to go?”
They’ll love it!”
When you call,
tell me you’re going sledding with your brothers
and wondered if my brother and I want to go along…
Think your dad’ll let you take the car again?”
My dad would love getting rid of us on a Sunday!
But what about yours?
Your mom and dad want you and your brother
away on a Sunday?”
My mom and dad love being alone.
I don’t know what they do…”
“Well, maybe I do,
but they love being alone.”
Walking up the three remaining steps,
Susan looked down at him.
The hallway being warm,
her coat was unbuttoned and…
Placing my hands on the curve of her hips,
looking into her face,
“Thank you.” I said.
“For what?” she asked.
“For lots of stuff.
For being you.
For taking a chance on me.
And most of all
—and I still can’t believe it—
for telling me you love me.”
Taking his head between her hands,
Susan kissed his forehead,
in an emotional,
pressed it tight against her chest.
My arms now about her waist,
holding her closely I felt and
could hear the reverberation of Susan’s heart.
I smelled the spicy fragrance of her perfume
and sensed the gentle,
soft swell of Susan’s breasts upon either side of my face…
so unlike him,
the sense of Susan’s breasts against his face
did not cause a penile reaction,
I felt as though I could stand there,
like that for the rest of my life,
but in a few all too short seconds…
“I’d better go in now.”
Kissing me lightly on the mouth,
opening the unlocked door,
backing into the apartment,
“I love you,”
Susan threw me one last kiss.
Returning the kiss,
“I love you.”
What If: Vol 2-5
“Hey, Mom, Dad,”
I called from the front door,
And received the reaction I’d expected.
In the den,
“Straw’s cheaper than “hey!” his mother said.
And, “Glad you’re home,”
his father said.
“Weather reports say the streets are getting bad out there.”
“Nah,” I said,
the streets ain’t all that bad!”
And again got the reaction I’d expected.
“Ain’t ain’t in the dictionary.” His mother said.
“Dad,” in the den,
sitting on the edge of the desk,
“That offer you made to send me to R.I.T.,”
I asked, “it’s still open, isn’t it?”
Glancing at his wife,
looking at his son, “Why?”
“I’ve changed my mind,
Dad, I do want to go!”
“When I suggested R.I.T.,
it was because I thought it would be an
investment in your future
and our business.
But when’s the last time you set foot in the studio?
Also,” his father said,
“when I made the offer you still had two years
left in high school,
if you worked your tuchas off,
maybe you’d have made it.
But now, with… what?
Less than six months before graduation
you suddenly want to go to college!
You’ll never make it!”
“Dad,” I asked,
“are you telling me if I pass the entrance exam
and if R.I.T. does accept me,
you won’t keep your bargain?”
“Bargain?” his father stated angrily,
Two years ago I told you if you work your ass off
and got accepted to R.I.T. I’d pay.
You’ve worked your ass off?”
He questioned sarcastically,
“ ‘Since when’?”
“What’s this all about?”
his mother asked.
“This has something to do with the girl you met today?”
Appealing to his mother because,
so he thought,
she, rather than his father,
would better understand.
“I know this’ll sound strange,
but I love her.”
Not getting quite the reaction he’d expected.
She said mockingly,
“You just met her!”
She said emphatically,
You just want to get laid.”
Wincing at her words,
That’s why I know I love her,”
Said just as emphatically,
“I do not want to get laid!
What If: Vol 2-6
“I know you’ve always been after me to work harder,”
“and I know I’ve always been a screw-up,
but that’s all changed now.
I’ve got to go to R.I.T.!
I don’t care what it takes
or how hard I’ve got to work to do it.”
“You’ve had girlfriends before,”
his mother said.
“Remember how you raved about Sally?
And that lasted…
About two weeks.”
“What makes you think you and this girl,”
his father said,
“will even be together that long?”
You don’t know a thing about her,”
his mother said.
“You’ve only been with her tonight.
What makes you even think you love her?”
Because of the way we met.
You won’t believe this,
but I knew I loved her from the second I saw her.
And believe it or not,
she told me she felt the same way then, too.
And I know,”
I said emphatically,
looking at my mother,
“that Susan will be my wife!
That Susan will be the mother of your grandchildren…
If I get into R.I.T.!”
Silent a few seconds,
looking from her son to her husband,
“It’s so important, R.I.T.?”
His mother asked:
“Why not Wright?”
“You don’t understand.
Wright’s a junior college.
it’s not that
all of a sudden I want to go to college,
to any college.
It’s that Susan’s a real good student!
It’s that Susan’s parents believe in a real good education
and when I got there tonight
I got grilled like you wouldn’t believe.”
“You meet a girl you say you love,”
his father said,
“and suddenly college
—and not just any college,
but the Rochester Institute of Technology—
becomes the most important thing in your life!
And I’m to pay for it?”
“I told you,
everything’s changed now.
I want to go to R.I.T.!
I want to work with you!
I want to be part of the studio!”
His father looked at his mother,
who, shrugging her shoulders.
“you think he’ll pass the entrance exam?”
“Not in a million years!
I’d make book on it.”
“So if he’ll never get in,”
His mother said,
“we can afford to be generous.”
jabbing his finger in his son’s direction,
“if you work your ass off,”
“if you pass the entrance exam,”
“your mother and I will pay for college.”
Taking a deep breath,
coming off the edge of the desk,
kneeling in front of the sofa,
“You won’t be sorry.”
I hugged my father,
then my mother.
his father said,
“don’t thank us so fast;
you’ve got to get accepted first.”
“Don’t worry, Dad, I will!”
Beginning to leave the room,
I turned back,
“when you meet Susan,
don’t mention how I’ve been in school so far
because she thinks I’m a B-plus student.”
“That’s no way to start out with a girl
you say you love and are going to marry;
“I know, Mom,
I hated doing it,
but you had to be there to understand…
Oh, by the way,
if I can use the car,
I’ll take kids sledding tomorrow.”
his father said,
“you’re volunteering to take your brothers someplace?”
“I’ll be damned!”
His mother said,
“When did you say you’re getting married?”
To be continued
©February 1, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman