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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prelude

train
In truth, it was His Golden Labrador that attracted me first, and, technically, it was she who made the first move.        


We had been passing each other on a daily basis, me on my route home, him, out walking with his (it has to be said, rather flea-bitten) unleashed, and exuberant friend, and I would smile at her (not him, the owner, you understand,  girlies my age were far too well dragged up than to ever go about grinning at passing, strange boys in that manner - well, not unless we had the back up of a good mate in tow).


This particular day I must have grinned a bit too wide, or maybe it was just the irresistible aroma of my left-over crusts of lunch (mashed-up boiled egg) which I’d thoughtfully saved, stuffed in my pocket, and forgotten over several days, who can tell?  Either way, something spurred her beyond her usual waggly-tailed trot past me, and she unexpectedly leaped to bounce up, knocking me flat off my feet, sending me flying full-force-sideway’s, to land slap-bang up against the cold, hard cracks of the unforgiving pavement.


Before I could draw air, there she was, slobbering all over me.   


“Down, Sheena, down, get away, ye’ bad dog!”


This was in the day when dogs had proper, un-original, solid dog-like names, such as Rover, Lassie, Fido or Spot, sometimes you might find the odd Meg or Jock, but even then, that was considered to be pushing it a bit.  Even in my dazed state, I found myself asking, "Who calls their dog Sheena?" 


“Here, let me give you a hand up..”


I take his hand, and allow him to clean my gritty wounds with his spit-dampened, snot-encrusted hankie.  Right there and then,  as my eyes met his, and my eight year old heart did a double-backward flip. 


From there on out, he and Sheena met me from the school gates, and together they walked me home.  Sometimes (if Ma was still working her shift over at McBrides) I’d take them in for the odd slice of bread and jam.


I assumed he went to another school, but it turned out he was being home-schooled.  More exotic still, he was adopted! AND his adoptive parents were strict CATHOLIC’S!!  It was all too much, I seriously considered pinching myself.




When the kids in class started taunting, singing chants of, “Now we know your boy-friend!” over and over,  I happily raised my head up high and smiled back at them, retorting, “Aye, and what if you do?” and with nery a blush, either.  They were only jealous.  (Naturally - who wouldn’t be?)


One day, as a token of his love, he brought me a gorgeous, bright green and white, plastic, elasticated bracelet.  Thrilled, I promised him I’d never take it off, other than to sleep with it under my pillow.  Sadly, that proved short-lived, as on the following day his Ma sent him round to fetch it back home again (it belonged to his sister.)


Although I’d never met her, I found I wasn’t too keen on his Ma.


My Ma?  Sure, she thought we made quite the couple, he was always welcome to watch the telly with us on a Sunday afternoon, once he returned back from the church.  I wouldn’t have been adverse to forsaking morning Sunday School, to go join him at his St. Whatever-it-was where he went to, too, but when I offered, he said his Priest didn’t approve of Protestant’s.  This puzzled me some, ‘cos I  had always thought I was Scottish, but being awed by him as I was, I held my tongue.


One afternoon, we pooled our resources and bought a single tub of ice-cream from the passing Mr. Whippy van.  Whilst sitting on the grass, sharing it out one spoon at a time,  Bobby passed over the last of the tub for me to scrape, and turning, casually asked me to marry him.


I nearly swallowed the spoon, in my gallop to say (a studied, nonchalant) "Aye, okay."


Ah, such happy days..


I wasn’t too bothered about a ring (not wanting to land him in any more trouble with that horrible and evil sister of his), but as a symbol of our engagement, I graciously accepted his prize marble, and kept it hidden in the back of a drawer, slipped away beneath my pile of fleecy vests.


A couple of blissful, hand-holding weeks passed, and, just as most young couples do, we planned our future together.  Bobby was going to build us a house.  We saved every old lump of timber, and scrap of discarded wood we could find, storing it safely under a screen of piled brambles, over by the edge of the field that ran between our gardens.


It was during one of these long trawls for any handy building material, that Bobby tentatively raised the subject of us kissing.  He claimed that we should, now that we were all properly engaged, and such.    I wasn’t so sure, something told me you needed to be married first, for all that.  But no, Bobby was quite certain it only took us being engaged, to make it allowed.




Well, of course, I loved him with all my heart, and the last thing I wanted was to let him down. (Oh, how many young girls fall foul of their heart?  It’s that age old “If you loved me..” coercion, isn’t it?  But being far too young and tender, I had no idea of that ploy, certainly not way back then.)    


He wanted my lips, I compromised and offered my cheek. He snuggled up and placed a peck there, and no more was said.  However, oddly enough, for some reason that’s about around the time when things started to go just a wee bit downhill between us.  Our innocence had been muddied by curious concerns way beyond our understanding.


A few days passed before he asked for my lips again, and that’s when we had our first row.


Proper broken hearted I was.  Oh sure, we made it up again, but things were never quite the same after that.  He was a pretty persistent laddie for nine years of age (I wonder now, if maybe he wasn’t actually housed in a reform home?  Or maybe I'm being unkind).


It came about as an almost welcome relief then, when Ma surprised me a few weeks later, with the news we were off to visit with her sister (and my six cousins), in England, for a bit.  Up 'till this point, the farthest I’d ever been away from Aberdeen was only on a day trip out to Inverness – talk about big news.  Two whole weeks of carefree  fun, oh, wasn't I the lucky one?   


Bobby promised he’d wait for me, and said he would miss me sorely with each and every passing day.  I didn't doubt it.  Ah, such the romantic, he was!


And so, with a happy heart, and clutching my engagement marble deep in my (still boiled-egg stained) pocket, I waved my Da, brother and sister a fond farewell off at the station, and climbed aboard the steam train set to speed me away on this, a new, bright and exciting adventure.


As it turned out, it proved to be a very different, and much longer adventure, than to the one of which I’d originally expected.  And, unlikely as it is, should  Bobby really have held true to his promise, then I guess by now I must owe him one very long and well overdue, sincere apology.


I  was to never set foot in Aberdeen again.       


(To be continued..)


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42 comments:

Paul C said...

This is shaping up to be a riveting story. Great start.

Fletch said...

Get on with it ..... !!

chewy said...

Ahhhh... (joy) the authoress has returned! You whisk me away to bonnie Scotland, wrap me delightfully up in your tale and leave me leaning into my computer screen begging for more.

Do you still have the engagement marble? (raised brows)

Mushy said...

Ah, you evoked memories of my own first encounters. First encounters are the best and seem to last the longest. Ah yes, but none like the sweet taste of watermelon lip gloss!

secret agent woman said...

Wait, how old are you in this story?

billy pilgrim said...

anyone with a golden lab is ok with me.

Bossy Betty said...

More, please!!!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I already love this very much

Nancy said...

Hanging on every word...

Ms. Anthropy said...

I love it! Can't wait for more.

Leslie: said...

Oh my gosh, is this a true tale? It brought back memories of my first boyfriend when we were about the same age. He used to ride his bike over to my house and we'd go walking in the fields across the way. Everyone teased me that we'd kissed, but we hadn't (& I didn't let on). But then he moved away to another part of the town and went to a different school and I never saw him again. His name was Jimmy. Ah, such sweet memories. Can hardly wait for part 2.

The Blue Zoo said...

aaahhh! You cant just do that!! LOL Well, at least hurry up and get to part 2! I am dying to know why you never went back!!

Shrinky said...

Hi Paul, thanks for that, I'm enjoying writing it.

Fletch, you are all heart..!

Aw, shucks Chewy, you sure know how to make my day (blush). Cheers hon, it's been a long, dry spell for me as of late, I'm hoping to get my creative juices flowing again, but it's only baby steps right now (hugs).

Haha, oh Mushy, yes, I remember that watermelon lip-gloss tale! 'Tis true, those innocent days grow sweeter with every passing year, don't they?

Secret Agent, it was 42yrs ago, and I was 8 (sigh).

Yeah Billy, I agree!

Hi Betty, thanks for stopping by! I'll see what I can do (wink).

AW Jackie, thanks for the kind words, it means a lot to me (smile).

Hello Nancy, glad you enjoyed it, it was fun to write.

Hey Ms. Anthropy, glad you popped by, welcome aboard!

Oh Leslie, I loved this recollection, Jimmy sounds a sweetie (grin). Yes, this is a true story, and my first love was also torn asunder by a relocation, too - the pains of young love, eh?

Ha! Blue Zoo, I'm working on it, but don't hold your breath!

Rock Chef said...

This is wonderful - love the way you write. You should write a book!

Elly Lou said...

I love the subtle age surprise. Excellent set up. You're adorable, as per usual.

Shrinky said...

Oh Rock Chef, pul-eeze, don't even go there..! I have a third of a book (still what I pathetically call in progress) that has been rotting in my files since forever. I was fine up until I found an agent, that just killed it stone dead in it's tracks for me, far too much pressure (sob)..

Hey Elly Lou, stop sweeling my head, here (hugs)!! For the record, you're not so bad yourself, either.

Akelamalu said...

Ah a childhood sweetheart! Poor Bobby must be devastated that you never went back. :(

Hilary said...

Oh what an intriguing prelude. Looking forward to more. And speaking of intrigue, that's one fantastic photo!

RA said...

More! Hurry! :)

otin said...

This sounds like it is going to be sad. :(

TechnoBabe said...

You got me, I am now hooked, I have to hear the rest of the tale. You are doing a great job writing these stories.

Joanna Jenkins said...

An engagement marble... and, and, and....

More please. I love your storytelling.

Cheers,
jj

Shrinky said...

Akelamalu, my sister wrote me three weeks later to say he'd been seen out walking Sheena with Skinny Sandra, from up the lane. I didn't believe her, of course.

Hi Hilary, I love that photo, too. Sadly, I have no idea who took it, it's part of a collection of photo's my father-in-law owned.

Hi RA, how lovely to see you in here (smile)!

Otin, like most true tales, it is funny in parts, and sad in others - just as it is in life!

Thank you TechnoBabe, I do enjoy some of these walks down memory lane, this one brought back a few smiles!

Skunkfeathers said...

It had to have a Part II; see, you still had his marble (or his evil sister's, and she hadn't kenned to it yet...)

Shrinky said...

How very observant of you, Skunk (grin)!

Sabi Sunshine said...

amazing post enjoyed it can't wait to read more...

Fen said...

wow, i thought boys had germs at that age, no way would've I let one near me! Do you know where this person is now?

~Babs said...

I sometimes think back to my first 'love',,,,,( I actually can remember that far back, yes) and I always wonder if he also thinks about me.
It's a great writing,,and I had to smile when you mentioned he was Catholic. Isn't it interesting that at that age and in those times that it could seem so mysterious?
Looking forward to the next installment, Shrink!

Shrinky said...

Hi there Sabi! Ooh, my laptop is on the blink, I started writing the sequal, and then the darn thing went down before I had the chance to save it (sigh). Now I have to start all over again!!

No Fen, I have no idea at all, but I am guessing he is probably at least five times divorced, and with a scutch of kids tucked away, somewhere (grin)..

Yeah Babs, where I was born, dirt poor as we were, we still were all pretty much carbon copies of each other - no ethnic mix, all belonging to the same (loose) religion, and never dreaming there were cultures or economic groups anywhere near outside of what we knew. Our parents were the same, as were theirs. I had a whole world of education lying ahead of me..!

Middle Child said...

Young love...how beautiful - wonder where he is now...he would remember you know...my husband remembered his 5 year old girl called Becky - wanted to call our youngest rebecca - No way she is Alison Rebecca - i did compromise.

Michelle H. said...

Aaiiieee! Where's the rest of it? Don't leave me hanging!

Pat Tillett said...

Okay, I'm already hooked! Great bit of writing and a great story!

Anna said...

Shrinky wow what a story, I am assuming there will be more. So is the marble still around, lol. Anna :)

Eternally Distracted said...

Argh this story is fab. It totally took me back to me school days - although I think a gave my lips *blushing*, looking forward to the next instalment :)

deb said...

oh, love love this.
fabulous writing and I'm intrigued and looking forward to more....

Shrinky said...

Middle Child, as coincidence would have it, my eldest daughter is called Rebecca (Beccy)! Um, I don't blame you on the comprimise though, some things you just have to put your foot down on - teehee!

Hi Pat, thanks my friend, I value your support!

Sadly not, Anna, it kind of got lost along the years..

Eternally, you shameless hussy, you (laughing)!!

Ooh thank you Deb, you've made my toes curl (blush).

Joanna Jenkins said...

PS congrats on your POTW mention over at Hilary's! I loved this one too.
jj

Pauline said...

A born story teller if I ever read one! Can't wait to find out what happened...

Shrinky said...

Really JJ? Ooh, thanks for the thumbs up, I must trot over to have a peek!

How lovely of you to stop by, Pauline, welcome aboard (anyone with kind words such as yours, is always a pleasure to have round)!

Parabolic Muse said...

What a nice start!

She couldn't be Scottish AND Protestant, could she?!

Pat Tillett said...

Giving up his prize marble was quite a statement... I'm reading these in order and am off for #2!
Young love, nothing like it...

bill lisleman said...

so glad you put the link to beginning on you post. Great story but it sure would be interesting to hear his side of it.