Jack Henry

The Second Time I Saw It 

By the time I walked across the fresh cut, dewy grass of my high school campus I had lost every pretense of graduating with a grade average higher than a D. In truth I revelled in that reality, much to my parent’s dismay and my younger sister’s utter jubilation. Academia, in 1981, meant very little to me. 

Over the preceding summer i shaved my head, grew a beard, abandoned any sense of fashion or style, embraced punk rock, thickened enough to not be gangly, and developed an impervious attitude of indifference. 

From that first step on campus I had recreated myself so completely few people recognized me, not that I had been memorable in prior years, but my conversion had been complete. 

Mr. Yim, Vice Principal and guardian of all punishment, someone I knew well, did not recognize me. 

“Sir, do you have a reason to be on campus?” He asked as I brushed by him. 

“Yeah. Class.” 

“Excuse me?” Mr. Yim spun around, spoke to my back. “Jack?” 

“You got it,” I shouted without turning back. “I will stop in after school.” I added before he could say anything. 

Cindy Oh-Sure walked around a corner accompanied by a gaggle of friends, clucking away madly about being back and oh my god and can’t wait, best year ever. 

“Hey,” she said. 

“Hey, Cindy.” 

“Do I know you?” Cindy entered the year as head cheerleader, Varsity Volleyball and Softball, and academic decathlete. “Are you new?” 

“Yes, Cindy.” I stopped, looked her in the eye, no more than a foot away. “I am new. Brand new.” 

Cindy and I spent three years at the same junior high school and now entered a third year together and Canyon High School. Other than a memorable encounter in 9th grade we barely spoke and, actually, never had a real reason to interact. 

Later in the day I walked into 4th period English I ended up sitting next to Cindy Oh-Sure. 

“Hi.” 

“Hey, Cindy.” 

“I know who you are.” 

“Really? That’s exciting.” 

“Jack? Right?” Cindy beamed inexplicably, as if she won a prize for best pig at the state fair. “I remembered.” 

“Genius at work,” I muttered. 

“What’s that?” 

“You are correct, Cindy. I am Jack.” 

“You look so different.” 

“Do I?” 

Cindy and her gaggle had never been friendly to kids they presumed to be less than equal to their own self appreciation. And my pals and I returned the favor. 

Over the next several weeks Cindy Oh-Sure and I chatted before and after 4th period English. My disdain for her decreased significantly and her intrigue in me increased. Not quite proportional, but enough for her to ask me to the school’s Sadie Hawkins Dance, a beleaguered traditional, at the time, where a young lady would ask a young man to a dance. 

I said no, initially, but acquiesced when she returned with the gaggle in tow, as if reinforcements might be needed to force an affirmative response. 

As we had never been on a date up to that moment in time, I suggested we go out to gauge compatibility. 

“What do you mean?” Cindy Oh-Sure asked. 

“You know to see if we get along, outside of school.” 

“Oh.” She thought it over, her mind peppered with a variety of scenarios and possibilities, all seemingly new and complicated. “I guess,” she finally offered. 

After a Friday night football game, a punishing loss to arch rival Villa Park, I took Cindy Oh-Sure for pizza at Mario’s near the Orange Mall. An hour later I dropped her at her front door promptly at 10, just as I promised her father. 

“So, did I pass?” She asked as she sat timidly in the front seat of my 1964 Chevy Pick-up Truck. “Are we compatible?” 

“I think so, don’t you?” 

“Oh, sure.” 

I walked around and opened the door. We had a furtive first kiss, knowing the prying eyes of her parents, or little sister, would be upon us. 

The night of the dance I picked Cindy up early and endured the pictures with the parents, pictures with the gaggle, pictures of us with the professional photog. As the dance was casual, I wore tore jeans, black biker boots, and a black Ramone’s tee-shirt; Cindy wore a short light blue dress and matching heels. The gaggle wore similar dresses, and their dates wore jeans, dress shirts, and lettermen’s jackets. To a one. 

The dance itself did not provide any lasting memories, until the very end when Cindy whispered in my ear that her parents, and little sister, had actually gone out of town within minutes of the cascade of photographs and well-wishes. 

“Really?” I tried to remain cool and collected, but my brain began to scramble. In the weeks leading up to the dance I had made the appropriate purchases, as preparation. With the beard I didn’t look my age and buying booze had never been a problem, but nerves caused me some anxious moments acquired prophylactics. 

“Yes,” she said as she kissed my cheek. “We can leave whenever you want.” 

Fifteen minutes later we’re pulling into her driveway. 

The moment we walked through her front door I feel further from my element. Being in the lower class of the high school hierarchy combined with shyness, sloth and acne, I never really spent any time with a girl, but I didn’t let on. As with most of my male counterparts my lie was dead on and smooth. But girls always knew the truth. 

Always. 

As we sat on her couch, I opened the Maddog 2020 and poured it into a couple of crystal glasses Cindy retrieved from her father’s liquor cabinet. After drinking and sitting quietly she leaned in and kissed me. Deep and hard. I responded in kind and before another second passed hands were moving quick, clothes were dropped fast, and she was leading me up the stairs in bra and panties and me in boxers and one sock. 

At the foot of the bed she stopped me, reached behind her back, and unsnapped her bra. For a moment I marveled at her dexterity, and then marveled at her breasts. She quickly pulled down her panties and that was when I saw it for the second time. 

“Kiss me,” she whispered, holding her arms out in an exaggerated way. As we embraced, she started to pull my boxers off, and I finished the task. The sock stayed on. 

“Should I get a condom? They’re in my pants downstairs.” 

“No, I’m on the pill.” 

We collapsed onto the bed, kissing and groping. My level of fear and anxiety growing as quickly as my erection. 

As I kissed my way down her stomach, not really knowing what I was doing, I paused suddenly, and began to speak. With each word that came out of my mouth, in real time and as I spoke, I knew I should just stop talking. 

“We meet again,” I muttered, as she pulled her legs back, spreading them enough to guide me in the right direction. 

“What was that?” Her hands were combing through my hair. She didn’t know any more than I did. 

“Nothing really.” I paused, looked up at her. Her eyes twinkled in the dim light of a street lamp outside her window. “I was just remembering 9th grade.” 

“Ninth grade?” 

“Yeah, Mr. Bowen’s history class.” 

Cindy Oh-Sure froze, legs slammed shut. 

“Oh my fucking god. I totally forgot about that.” 

“What?” 

“You were peeping at me.” 

“Peeping?” 

“Yeah, you were a little pervert!” 

“You weren’t wearing panties. I thought it was intentional.” 

That’s when I should have stopped talking, completely. 

“Intentional?” 

“Yeah, I thought you were flashing me because you wanted…” 

“Wanted what, hmm? Jack? What exactly did I want?” 

“Ah…” 

Cindy quickly dressed in sweats and a tee-shirt, leaving me naked except for one sock. 

“You need to go.” 

“Go?” 

“Yeah, go. As in, get the fuck out.” 

Without another word I raced downstairs, dressed and left. From the curb I heard the front door lock and the lights in her bedroom go out. 

A week later, after a multitude of apologies, a degree of pleading, some sobbing on my part, and outright begging, Cindy and I wound up in my bedroom, my parents, and little sister, out of town for the weekend. 

After a proper introduction the third meeting proved to be mutually positive, as did the fourth, fifth, and sixth.

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