I still dream about that pogo stick, about her bouncing on it, up and down, my eyes on her breasts as she laughed and bounced, bounced and laughed.
We were at a block party. I was young and naive, and she was neither. She obviously understood the concept of the event while I had missed it completely. The emptying out of houses into the blocked off street I got. The socialization in the street I got. That the houses were left empty and could be returned to with other people, that that was kind of the whole point, hadn't really dawned on me yet.
So as much as I was enjoying watching her bouncing (and now that I think back on it, the phallic imagery of a buxom woman bouncing up and down on a stick was completely lost on me at the time as well. Damn, was I really that young, naive, stupid, clueless, pick an adjective?) purely for the esthetics and my strong attraction to her breasts, as much as I was enjoying the image, the notion of actually going inside with her, seeing her breasts up close and unencumbered, if you could call what she had on encumbering, seeing her naked, kissing her, touching her, touching them, sucking them hard, never actually crossed my mind, and if it did (because I can't claim now to remember in exact detail what was flitting through my head on a darkening summer evening more than twenty years ago as I stood transfixed and witless with my eyes about to pop out of the sockets) I probably would have discounted the idea on the grounds that someone would notice, while in reality, and this is the point I was making before, people were very pointedly not noticing who went where at such events, and if they were noticing it was purely for voyeuristic pleasure and not to be used against anyone in a court of law or public opinion.
Which is not to say, exactly, that everyone present at such events approved. There were spouses and mothers who looked to me unusually tense and alert for such seemingly relaxed gatherings, my own mother among them. So perhaps my original instinct to avoid temptation was correct, and I do remember my mother asking me, again for reasons I could not fathom, every half hour or so, at every block party, if I'd seen my father lately. Usually I could pick him out in the crowd, talking to someone, usually female and attractive, and my mother would nod, thank me, and go back to her conversation.
On that particular evening I think I watched my neighbor on the pogo stick, from less than a foot or two away, watched her breasts, watched her breasts rise and fall beneath a loose, button-down shirt, wondering at the non-popping of the buttons, considering the rhythm of the stick on the ground, watched her hair, watched her hair flying up and down off her shoulders, as she bounced, very conscious of, though as I said, never really considering, the empty house, husband and kids my own age back in California, the empty house behind her, I watched her for ten, fifteen, seemed like forever, stuck in an endless loop minutes.
I think she knew she had me, and yet, sorrowfully, knew she didn't, because she finally stopped bouncing, content with the knowledge that a boy her sons' age found her attractive, but still needing more than that, finally stopped bouncing, smiled at me, put the pogo stick inside while I just stood and stared at the house behind her, at the spot where she had been bouncing, seeing how long I could hold the image of her, finally wandered back to where my parents had been sitting, watched the crowd eat and talk and mingle.
"Where's your father?" my mother asked, and I pointed him out, talking to her, the one with the pogo stick now safely put away. My mother nodded, and returned to her conversation, but I kept watching, remembering imagining, and wanting, as they drifted away, not exactly together, toward the big empty house with the pogo stick, and the bouncing.
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