“Believe me,” Sally went on, “I wouldn’t have gone out with you if I didn’t like you, and I most certainly would not have let you do to me what I let you do if I didn’t! But you’ve got to know, Mitch, that that’s as far as I go—as far as I’ll let you go!”
That’s as far as she’ll let me go. Feeling a pang of disappointment, but then remembering what else she had said: “I like you, I like you a lot!” She likes me and that’s why she let me do what we did, and that’s why we’ll do it some more, and, God, those tits! Those great tits! Okay, so if that’s as far as we go, that’s okay, too. But who knows? Maybe, in a while, she’ll be the one wanting to go further.
As though reading his thoughts, “Mitchie, I promised myself I’d still be a virgin when I get married. So if you want more than tonight from me, tell me now, before we get to like each other too much.”
“Yes, of course I want more than that, Sal. But I like you a real lot, too. You’re just about the most beautiful girl I’ve ever gone out with, and being with you tonight was wonderful.” Staring into the blackness beyond the windshield, reflecting on the multitude of times that he’d enviously watched guys, usually the Letter Men, that had their arms around the most beautiful girls in school, he visualized himself and Sally, and the looks of envy he’d be getting and, “Sal,” he said impetuously, “let’s go steady!”
Feeling her heart lurch, God, she thought, if it were anyone else and I liked him only half as much as I like him… But wisely considering the implications of going steady with this boy. Knowing that going steady always took things one or more steps further than just dating and… Sally knew Mitchell was Jewish and though neither she nor her family harbored prejudices, being Christian she knew that this relationship could not, or would never go as far as marriage, and… Not sure if she’d always have the resolve to always say no to Mitchell, “Mitchie,” she said, “we’ve only been out once. Why don’t we go out a few more times, and then… Well, we can talk about going steady again.”
“Okay, fair enough. How’s about tomorrow?” Never expecting her to say yes. “If you’re not busy, you want to go out tomorrow night?”
She was busy, she did have a date… to go bowling with the girls, but, “Okay, yes. But Mitchell,” she said seriously, “I want you to remember what I told you. And also, that if I ever do go all the way, then I’d be breaking a promise I made to myself, and to Jes…” Knowing he didn’t believe in Jesus—“and to God, and I’d be terribly disappointed in myself, and you, and I don’t think you’d want that to happen. Would you?”
“Of course not!” But, really, Mitchell was not sure that that was altogether true .
“Okay, I believe you. So, what time are you going to pick me up, and where we going?”
Thinking a moment, “Did I tell you my dad’s got a boat?”
“No, you didn’t. Your dad’s got a boat?”
“Well, yeah, a sailboat. It’s only a sixteen-footer, but it is a boat. And I thought, if it’s as nice tomorrow night as it is tonight, maybe we’ll go to, uh, you ever been to Walker’s?”
“The pancake house in Wilmette, on Sheridan?”
“Sure I’ve been there. Hasn’t everybody?”
“Well, I thought, if you want to, we’ll go there for dinner at about, oh, seven. Then we’ll go to the harbor and if it’s warm enough, if you want to, to just, uh, kind’a sit on my dad’s boat.”
“To just kind’a sit, huh? To watch the submarine races no doubt.”
Remembering another girl at another time saying that exact thing, but unable to recall who or when it was, “Well, yeah,” he said, smiling, thinking of what they’ll actually be doing, “but don’t worry because even if we had a bunk this boat’s so small there wouldn’t be any place to put it.”
“I’m not worried.” Now that she’d put the responsibility of the future of wherever their relationship may go onto Mitchell’s shoulders, “I trust you,” she said honestly.
Rather unsure that he’d be able to honor that trust, “So now that that’s settled, you in any big hurry to go in?”
“As a matter of fact, I told my mom I’d be home before twelve.”
Glancing at the clock in the dashboard: 12:07. “Okay, Cinderella.”
Standing at her doorway, feeling the warmth of their departing kiss, she watched for the flash of the car’s dome light as he opened the door, then, waving, called, “Goodnight, Mitchie!”
Looking back, Mitchell saw Sally standing silhouetted against the orange glow of the stained-glass door. Feeling the warmth of their parting kiss, “’Night, Sal!” Waving back, stepping into the car, he started the engine.
September 22, 1951
Except for the cold rain on Wednesday, that week had been an extension of summer. Daytime temperatures had been in the low eighties and the nights in the mid-seventies. Saturday night was positively balmy.
Wearing well-worn Levi’s and a yellow cotton shirt, when Mitchell knocked on the door it took no longer than ten seconds until the door was pulled open.
Wearing light blue pedal pushers and a floral blouse opened two buttons down that showed her tan and, oh, yeah, the rise of her cleavage. Sally’s honey-colored, shoulder-length hair was brushed to the side of her face giving her a Veronica Lake look.
Still in the doorway, “Sal,” Mitchell said, “you look beautiful!”
Taking his hand, “Thanks, Mitchie,” leading him into the house. “I want to you to meet my mom and dad.”
Its silvery tail dipping into the calm water of Lake Michigan, the bright moon seemed to follow the Buick as Mitchell drove north along the winding stretch of Sheridan Road.
“Hey,” glancing over his shoulder, “now I know why you’re the way you are.”
“Yeah, how’s that?”
“Nice. Your mom’n’dad, they’re real nice people.”
“You sound surprised.”
“Well, they’re kind of different than the way I thought they’d be.”
“How? How’d you think they’d be?”
“I never met farmers before, and I kind’a thought your paw’d be smoking a corn cob pipe and your maw’d be chawin’ on a plug’a tobbacy.”
“Mitchell, you’re terrible!” Moving closer, putting her arm around his neck, she kissed him on the cheek.
“If’in I be’s so terrible, how’s come y’all be a kissin’ me?”
Kissing him again, “Guess, I’m just plumb loco.”
Kissing her on the lips, he quickly brought his attention back to his driving.
Mitchell had never felt prouder. Standing in line waiting to be seated, he knew they were the best-looking couple in this popular, crowded restaurant and felt that all eyes were upon them.
Sharing one of Walker’s huge apple soufflés, Sally had a side order of bacon, Mitchell, pork sausage, and each washed it down with cold milk.
“I thought Jewish people weren’t supposed to eat pork.”
“Yeah, that’s true , and this is a double whammy ’cause we’re not supposed to drink milk with meat, either.”
Taking another drink of milk, “Oh, well, when that bolt of lightning gets you, remind me not to stand too close.” When she put the glass down she had a milk mustache.
“You know,” wiping her mouth with his napkin, “you’re not only beautiful, you’re cute, too.”
“Here it is.” Pulling a dinghy containing a set of oars out of a rack on the rear deck of the Columbia Yacht Club, Sally held the stern and he the bow, while between them they carried it to the side of the closest finger pier and dropped it into the water. Stepping in first, sitting mid-ship, holding onto the dock, Mitchell held the dinghy steady as Sally stepped in.
“All set?” Pushing off, fitting the oars into the oarlocks, “Anchors away!” He rowed from the slip, into the channel, and around the stern of the long-retired, converted automotive ferryboat that became the Columbia Yacht Club.
“A yacht club and a boat! If I’d have thought you were this rich, Mitch…” She chuckled, “Rich, Mitch. I’m a poet and didn’t know it… I’d’a gone all the way and make you marry me.”
“Don’t know about getting married, Sal, but, sorry to say, going all the way still sounds pretty good to me. And sorry to tell you, but we sure ain’t rich and my dad’s boat isn’t exactly what you’d call a yacht.” Glancing over his shoulder, back-oaring with the port oar, compensating for too much port drift, “There she is.”
Straining forward, looking over his shoulder, “Where?”
“Look over my starboard shoulder.”
“Sure, Mitchie. Your what?”
“Sorry, my right shoulder. When you’re on a sea-going vessel such as this you gotta speak nautical-like. Facing forward, right’s starboard and left’s port. Got it? See it?”
“Got it? Where?”
“There!” He stopped rowing and, turning around, pointed. “That’s it. That huge monster there.”
“That’s your father’s boat?” She laughed. “It’s cute.”
“Oh, yeah! My dad would have a fit if he heard you call his boat cute.”
Although always asked, Mitchell would often find an excuse to avoid going sailing with his father and Lawrence because once on the boat Walter became, in Mitchell’s opinion, “Captain Bligh,” and he could never do anything fast enough or well enough.
Bumping lightly, they pulled alongside. Holding the gunwale, Mitchell steadied the dinghy while Sally climbed onto the larger boat. Following, he tied the dinghy onto the stern cleat.
Sixteen feet long from stem to stern, the boat was five feet across at its widest point. A one-foot wide, canvas-on-wood deck ran along either side of the cockpit to become solid decking forward of the mast. Needing someplace to lay, taking the three long floation cushions from inside the open cockpit, Mitchell laid them on the solid decking forward the mast….
Having removed his shirt, lying face to face, kissing, as they kissed her fingers twined the hair of his chest. Touching a nipple, feeling him shudder, Sally continued to make light circles around one, then the other.
One arm beneath her head, the other laid over her waist, rubbing lightly, squeezing lightly, holding, Oh, God, one of Sally’s well-defined buttocks, the extremely pleasant sensation of her finger circling his now-hardened nipple causing him to shudder again, “How’d you like it if I did that to you?”
“Emmm,” moving her mouth to his ear, “don’t threaten me.” Her tongue flicking his ear, “Why don’t you try it and find out.”
Feeling the warmth of her sultry voice, shuddering again from the sensuousness of her tongue on his ear, “Funny you should say that, ’cause that’s kind’a what I had in mind.”
Sitting up, unbuttoning her blouse, “Wait, baby, no sense getting all wrinkled.” taking it off, she laid it over the boom. Anxious to have Mitchell see her bare, her excitement heightening, sensing the hardening of her nipples, drawing it out just a bit, reaching behind her back, unhooking the brassiere, removing it, she laid it over her blouse.