Dearie ©Bruce Louis Dodson
It was my junior year at S.I.U. where Linda Meehan was an A+ student, majoring in math and sexy to the bone. She was vivacious with a charming personality and a sense of humor, bobbed black hair and hazel, green-flecked eyes. She’d been Miss February on the campus calendar, posed in a translucent drape.
There had been speculation as to whether she’d worn anything beneath it. There were rumors she might be expelled, but nothing came of them. She dated seniors, football stars . . . big men on-campus. More than one of Linda’s sisters in the Alpha Gamma house was jealous.
My fraternity held pledge-revenge-day once a year, a twenty-four hour role reversal when the uninitiated could get payback for the daily torture and humiliation full-fledged members like myself inflicted on them. I’d been kidnapped one warm summer night, tied up with rope and left on the front porch of Alpha Gam’ Sorority. A pair of giggling girls dragged me inside, teased me a little, then began debating whether they should let me go or not. As they were starting to lose interest, I saw Linda coming down a staircase from the floor above, breasts bouncing happily beneath a snow-white cotton T-shirt. Tight green shorts were like an exclamation mark above her legs. I recognized her from the calendar taped to the wall inside my dormitory room. She knelt beside me, seemingly amused by my appearance in the house.
“Well, since you’re here, I’m going to make you look like you’re an Alpha Gamma girl.” She started putting lipstick to my mouth as I protested, at the same time loving every moment of such close proximity, feeling her body heat, her soft, warm touch. She put some curlers in my hair, then sprayed me with perfume, and did her best to make me beg for a release I did not want. I would have gladly let her do whatever came to her mischievous mind and was beginning to get stiff. I wondered if she noticed. Linda finally untied my bonds and let me go.
“For all you’ve put me through tonight, I think I’m owed at least one date,” I told her. “Do you like to dance?”
“Sometimes,” she said with a coy smile. “I’d have to know you better first.”
“Is there somewhere we could go for conversation? I asked. “Sometime when I am not tied up.”
“I guess that’s possible.” She laughed. “I’m going to the library tomorrow afternoon, around 1:30. We could see each other there and talk, but not for long. I need to do some homework.”
I was there a half hour early and had found a place where I could watch her entrance without being seen. She came in forty minutes later and began to lay her books out on a table. I flipped through some pages of a National Geographic, giving her some time to settle before making my appearance. “Hey.” I slid into a seat across from her.
She looked up from her paperwork, an enigmatic smile. “Hi, David. Did it take you long to find me?”
“Yes. A lifetime.” I said, wondering if she’d spotted me on her way in.
She changed some numbers on a problem she was working on, and then, as if a random thought had just occurred to her, “You never told me what your major is.”
“Fine arts, photography and painting—illustration. I’m an artist,” I said, wondering if it was true.
“I’m going to be a CPA,” she told me. “I’m more interested in numbers than in art.”
“You are a work of art, the number I’ve become most interested in.”
“Oh, really?” Linda arched an eyebrow.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
Chicago worried me. The small town I was from had nothing much to recommend it other than refineries: Shell, and Standard Oil, Sunoco. I was searching for an adjective that might enhance the place. “It’s just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Called, Wood River.”
“Um.” She turned a textbook page and penciled out another problem with no hint of how she took my information.