From there, things kinda get predictable, although not necessarily conventional. Thing is, what confounds me more is not that my thoughts and feelings went there, but, that I never took that step. She was freakin' wide open, far as I could tell. No competition. Sure, probably hung out with guys in the neighborhood, but, socially, looked like clear air space. Kinda like when I was in 7th grade and spent a whole semester chatting up little blue-eyed Beth in science class and then not calling her at all that summer between watching old sitcom reruns and fixing up my bike. Priorities…
So, I never made the move. Not sure it was out of complacency, fear of the unknown, or respect for her as a person…I'd like to claim the third one but let's not be hasty. Seems there were a lot of other little questions out on the horizon of my conscience back then; ones that only maturity could articulate and to which nothing save a caring nature would attempt to seek answers…do you know your father? Who do you really need in your life? Are you frightened, threatened…are you lonely…incomplete? God, have mercy.
About a year after high school, another gal I knew was going for a certificate at the local voc school and ended up in the same class as Nellie. She said your name sounds familiar…oh, remember Billy Suchandsuch, used to hang around with Kenny? They're together now…yah, and she's…pregnant. Hmmm. Sounds like someone finally pitched a stake in that fallow ground.
Last time I saw Nellie was about that time, and under rather strange circumstances. My family was having a garage sale. One of many cars pulled into the driveway, parked, and out she came. I think I said hi to her. Then Billy gets out of the car to come up. Wassup, we exchange. Seems he hovers around her for a couple minutes, and they murmur amongst themselves until he alone goes back to the car. Dad and I were in the garage for those awkward moments as she stood over my nephew's table of baseball cards…and seemed to start crying.At some point, she finally walked toward the car and they drove off. It appeared to us as though some of the cards may be missing, as though, perhaps, she were waiting for us to look away so she could obey her man and get it over with. But, neither my dad nor I are ones to get upset about these kinds of things, so we brushed it off and, well, we never spoke of it again.