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Chuckie Finn

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Lipstick Traces
By Chuckie Finn
Monday, August 16, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A toast to me, a fool of love

You love her
but she loves him
and he loves somebody else
you just can’t win
and so it goes
till the day you die
this thing they call love
It’s gonna make ya cry
~J Geils Band




“Right Foot… Blue,” shouted Brad Hayes reading the results of the plastic arrow pointing on the cardboard color dial. “If you fall, you’re out of the game Sue. And it’s not fair just hanging or leaning on Karen’s back to keep yourself from falling down.”

“I am not touching her, Brad!” Sue laughed struggling to keep her balance on the plastic mat. “Who’s idea was this to play Twister anyway? Look at me! I look like a reject in a box of deformed pretzels! Good thing I wore these slacks. Otherwise, both you geeks would be having a field day peeking.”

“Get the hell off me!I yelled playfully positioning myself to stand upright. “We may all be just good friends here but I can’t support the weight of both of you! I am going to get a hernia if I keep this up too much longer. Spin that damn game dial again Brad! Hurry up before I have a heart attack!”

The three of us who were contestants finally collapsed together onto the mat as a chorus of our laughter enveloped the room. Brad tossed the cardboard dial onto the sofa and placed his hands on his hips. “Looks like we got ourselves a three way tie to end the game. Thank goodness because someone’s got really a pair of stinky socks on!”

“I would have won if she didn’t have her leg over my back,” complained Sue once again. “And those are probably your own feet that smell, Brad!”

“Hey, I got an idea. Anyone want to drive to the A&W Root Beer stand?” I folded the Twister game color mat and placed it back into the box. “I could go for something to eat and drink. For sure, it’s a lot better than just going home to open a book to study.”

“Don’t give me that. A&W my ass. You just want an excuse to check out that hot looking blond car hop again, Pat. Who you trying to kid?” Brad scoffed.

“Oh really? Pat’s got a secret crush on that blond bee hive hair-do roller skater with long legs who delivers greasy burgers to cars?” Karen interrupted with a smirking grin. “It figures. The pretty blond with the short car hop skirt. It figures she’d be the type of girl all you guys fall over to impress and to try to get her phone number. Wet lips and those swiveling hips attract eyes like metal to a magnet.”

“Hey,you gonna ask her to go to the Senior Prom in a few weeks?” Sue asked provoking me with light hearted banter. “Maybe you’ll get a chance to hold her dainty little hand instead of a root beer glass. That is, if you're not too shy to ask and she’ll let you.”

"It will be a first if he does get a date with any girl!" Brad chuckled draping his arm around Sue's shoulders.

“Aw, knock it off you guys. And for your information, sources close to me have already advised me she has a very jealous boyfriend. Besides, she goes to school up somewhere in Taunton. She flirts with everybody that drives in. She knows what to do to get those tips. Flash that smile and call everyone sweetheart. Hell, she doesn’t even know I exist until she sees the size of the tip I leave on the window tray. I was thinking on inviting Debbie Flynn to the Prom. You know, the brunette who sits behind me in American Lit.” I nervously inhaled deeply and licked the corners of my mouth awaiting my friend's reaction.

“Debbie Flynn? I can't stanfd her. That freckled face stuck-up witch? She once gave me an after school detention for going to my locker between classes.” Karen said rolling her eyes. “I can’t stand her. She always acts like she’s a Miss Goody Two Shoes whenever I see her in the ladies room. She's always boasting how she is better than us."

“I heard she was going out with one of the football players last year. She use to go on bragging about him being such a cute guy and all, but that’s all I know about her,” said Sue running the fingers through her mousy brown hair. “Terrence and I already got our tickets to go to the Prom with Karen and Freddy.”

“Looks as though we all got dates to go to the Prom except you Pat. So when you going to ask Debbie to go?” Brad asked walking toward the front door. “Carol and I were going alone so we can leave early. No offense, Pat but I made reservations for just the two of us down in the Rest Area parking lot.”

“Hey, no problemo. I understand. You don’t want us anyone watching you making out while we are in the backseat arguing who the better musical group is the Stones or the Beatles. I’ll catch up to Debbie later this week and ask if she wants to go. I have been still saving my money to pay for the tickets and renting the tux, and of course, the corsage. Heck, you know how many truck loads of refrigerators and gas ovens I gotta unload to pay for this date? It’s gonna take at least a full weeks earnings for me to take her.” I roughly pulled the driver’s side door open of the family car. “Making $1.25 cents an hour at a discount department store isn’t exactly my life long ambition, but it’s all I could get for now. I just hope it’s enough to make a good impression on Debbie.”

“Well Good Luck Pat. We can all sit at the same table anyway once we get inside the place. It’ll be a blast and I can’t wait!” Sue added. “Now who is paying for the root beer?”


**********


I waited until most of my classmates trailing voices had extinguished before I stood to exit the classroom. My heart fluttered as I watched my dream girl gathering her notebook papers. She was oblivious as to my presence. As I watched her, she was as lovely as a morning sunrise. I could only hope once I mustered the courage to ask her for a date, there would be a hidden chemistry awaiting to erupt between us. The Senior Prom could be just the catalyst our relationship needed to draw us closer together. There was something about Debbie’s charms that consumed me passionately and her delightful voice was magical to my senses. She was my little piece of heaven that I kept secretly hidden inside of me. My mouth suddenly seemed to become arid and filled with sand as she glided past me. She knitted her eyebrows together in a puzzling expression as she stared at me standing by the doorway. My eyes wandered everywhere as I fumbled with the words and asked if she had a date for the Prom just as she brushed past by me. I watched the sweeping red second hand of the Benrus wall clock and pressed my lips together.

Debbie stopped abruptly and turned. “Excuse me? Did you say something?”

I nodded weakly but I was still unable to look directly into her eyes. I shuffled my feet and I thought I could feel a sheen of perspiration bead on my forehead. I could barely whisper the words once again of inviting her to be my date for the Senior Prom. The waiting for her reply was a haunting agony. I was hypnotized by her bewitching smile and destined to be her knight in shining armor if she would only grant my one wish. I crossed my fingers behind my back hoping she would smile and enthusiastically say yes to be mine for the biggest evening of the school year.

She curiously giggled at first and glanced in both directions down the corridor to see if anyone was witnessing our conversation. “Are you serious?" she asked wrinkling her forehead. "Well, I don’t have a date to go as of yet. But let me think about it a while and I’ll let you know sometime tomorrow.” She hurriedly turned away from me and shifted her books to her other arm. My eyes followed her as she walked quickly away. She stepped between a row of lockers out of my sight but her burst of uncontrollable laughter echoed throughout the empty corridor.

At least she didn’t refuse I encouraged myself. I replayed the conversation repeatedly in my head. I tried desperately to find something she did to convince myself she was attracted to me. There was that glimmer of hope, that true love would become a reality….. if only my heart could speak the words I wanted to say to her! That night as I laid prone beneath the covers of my bed, I stared at the swirled white ceiling of my room. My mind wandered and I pictured myself holding Debbie Flynn close to me dancing to a love song by the Righteous Brothers. Her arms embracing me, so perfectly fitted as if they were specifically made for me. Cupid would insure they would be placed snugly and securely around my neck. Her soft cheek would become riveted against mine where I could inhale all the magnificence of her body. No one else in the world would exist for it would be our dance that the artist would sing just for the two of us. Holding her delightful charms and eternally promising and pledging to love her until time stood still, we drifted in our dream together to our utopia.

It was three days later when Debbie Flynn lightly kissed my cheek in the partially filled school cafeteria. In the snickering and giggling presence of three of her close friends, she accepted my invitation. My face flushed crimson red but my heart soared at the surprising sign of her affectionate behavior. Suddenly the enduring and electrifying power of love was the best thing in the entire universe. I was completely captivated by her. The comfort of her hurried romantic embrace and the sweet softness of her lips pressed against my cheek resulted in a rhapsody of dazzling sensations that tingled throughout my network of nerves. I was exuberantly alive at that moment and I repeatedly thanked God for sending Debbie into my life. I would never wash the wonderful enchanting traces of her rose petal pink gloss lipstick from my cheek. I ambitiously proclaimed it my goal that we would become inseparable from that moment on. I could never find or cherish another woman who could make my heart so filled with a newly found heightened happiness I had never felt before. I couldn’t wait to tell the entire world that I was so madly in love with Debbie Flynn and she was going to be my date for the Senior Prom!

One dozen long stem yellow roses were neatly boxed and addressed to Debbie Flynn. They were to be a personal message from my heart to present them to her when she greeted me at the door. A thousand intriguing thoughts rummaged through my mind as I drove the forty miles to greet my Venus. I pictured her precious image as sinfully seductive and elegantly dressed in a spectacular satin evening gown awaiting patiently for me, her hero, to sweep her off her feet. I checked and re-checked the tickets in the inside breast pocket of my rented tuxedo. I adjusted her orchid corsage on the bench seat of the 1962 Mercury Comet a hundred times and checked the rear view mirror to glance at her roses. I had followed her directions and pulled the family car in front of her house exactly on time at 7:05 PM. After checking my hair once again and removing the last stick of Juicy Fruit gum, I exited the vehicle and walked the brick walkway to the front door. Adjusting the roses and corsage into one arm, I trembled a bit and rang the door bell. I rocked on my heels and waited for the door to open. I licked my dry lips and listened for the sound of footsteps. I rang the bell again, holding it a bit longer. I coughed slightly before I walked to the rear of the house and rang the back door bell. The house was in darkness and it appeared no one was home. I swallowed hard and sighed. I shifted the roses to my other arm and gripped the corsage a bit tighter. I returned to the car and waited to see if anyone would come home.

I tried once again at 7:45 to see if anyone would answer the door at the Flynn residence. My chest heaved when I placed the two Prom tickets under the pink ribbon of her corsage. I rested it along with the decorative box of roses on an angle against the front door as evidence I was there for our date.

I felt my eyes begin to fill with tears as I stared at the empty passenger seat. I accepted the fact that Debbie Flynn wasn’t home, but convinced myself an emergency must have arisen. The thought never entered my mind she would stand me up. I wasn’t aware her street was a dead end and had to turn around to exit her street. As I neared her house once again, I saw the smiling face of Tim Mathewson, football hero, and a buoyant Debbie Flynn standing together embraced while having pictures taken on the front lawn. There was little doubt they were both prepared to go to the Prom together. Armed with the tickets I had purchased and wearing the special orchid corsage I had picked out especially for her, they planned to dance the night away together in each other’s arms.

My throat tightened while my eyes brimmed urgently with salty tears, which threatened to crest at any moment. I watched them sweetly and romantically embrace in roguish laughter. Both were unaware of my presence watching them as I stopped my vehicle next to the opposite curb. Their affectionate teasing and her obedient prolonged kisses only fueled the blatant mockery of my foolishness and the humiliation of believing in this thing they called love. I didn’t bother to tap my horn or wave goodbye as I drove by Debbie’s house to drive the forty miles back home. I felt like a failure with the word sucker scribbled in eyebrow pencil across my forehead. I resolved myself to the fact that love is for the strikingly tall handsome man who is brilliant and intellectually gifted and talented. Every sad song ever written because of this feeling of emotion was intended for me! I recall crying myself to sleep after lying to my parents as to why I was home so early on Prom night. I was the laughing stock of the senior class for weeks after that. I vowed never to fall in love again. Girls like Debbie Flynn now became vile, vicious, cruel and cold who took pleasure in betrayal and deceit. Love to them was nothing more than a meaningless word.

It wasn’t until years later that Debbie Flynn and I crossed paths once again quite by chance at a formal dinner. After a brief conversation, I smiled at her and wished her all the best dealing with her divorce due to her unfaithful husband. An antiseptic guilt shrouded her face as she handed me an intimate note listing her phone number. She invited for me call to her anytime. I chuckled to myself and crumbled the paper and left it on the bar. This time maybe it would be her time to cry.


















 


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