On Leaving America – Part 13

Packing – Part B
Digging up Bones

Papers and journals, notebooks, documents . . . certificates
And note books
I do not keep notes
Except when I traveling
India, Brazil, Berlin – wherever
This black notebook in my hand is dated 1974
Where was I then?
In India . . . this book
Some random thoughts
Not particularly brilliant.
* * *
Sorting though journals
Ideas for stories . . . fiction
Non fiction
“’The Truth about Sri Lanka’”
Been revised that at least 5 times
It’s still not right
And nobody cares.
I’ve saved newspaper clippings, magazine articles, photos and notes
Fills up a carton realms of paper shipped in
All of that hard copy . . . printouts – variations & critiques
Of 50, 000 words
Taking up space with information I could probably find on Google
But Google is not like looking at a yellowed newspaper clipping from 1985
I should throw the box away
Forget about it
It might be a mental cleansing
Clear the mess of thought. Subtract one subject
I’ve been putting papers in this file since 1984
I should get rid of it . . . or not.
* * *
Photos fall from another folder
Some old girl friends
Black and whites from college days

“The Spanish Armada”

She was from Quito, Ecuador and very upper class
Probably had 2 or 3 servants in Ecuador.
Father was professor at my university.
I was a sophomore living with a roommate, Phil
Who was a nice guy
A great pal – good roommate
Both are hard to come by.
He comes back one day and says he’s met a girl
Who was good looking and wanted to lose her virginity
She had asked him to do that for her.
My God. What luck!
I should mentioned I was in a constant state of heat in those days
Just turned 20
Thought about sex 50% of my conscious time . . . at least.
“You lucky dog!” I told him.
“I’m not going to do it,” he said.
“I’m not going to take a girls virginity,” he told me.
Like I said, Phil was a nice guy
This was 1950’s chivalry
Nice guys did not take a girl’s virginity
Girls were expected to be virgins when they married
I think some of them were
But I digress.
Phil took me to meet Eleanora at a restaurant
She was hot
Maybe five foot six inches tall
She wore high heels and was very well proportioned . . . nice!
And she liked me
Was right out front about it
We discussed the matter as if it were science project
Which maybe it was in a way
I had a 1953 straight-eight Pontiac Chieftain that would do 100 miles per hour easily
And often did
It had big bench seats
There are a lot of densely wooded areas in Southern Illinois
And farm country dirt roads, passable if not raining.
So . . . We got it on a few nights later
I was careful. Use a condom—always
Kept a bandoleer of them inside the glove compartment.
It wasn’t very painful to her.
She seem interested by the event
Almost as an observer
“Now you are a woman,” I said her as I lit her cigarette.
Thinking these words would mark deflowering an important moment
A life changing event
I’m not sure it was
Seems more like a milestone – a rite of passage.
We had a wonderful time in the week that followed
Learning the art of sex
I was almost naive as she
We were creative experimenters.
She let me shave her pussy
It was like a D.H. Lawrence thing
She took me home
To meet her mother . . . an elegant blond haired woman
And the father . . . the professor
Slept in their garage
At wife’s insistence I supposed.
He was never around
A younger brother, Armando, was there sometimes.
They had a dog that never failed to hump my leg when came in
Elena and her mom thought this amusing
It embarrassed me
I thought it mythological
Symbolic . . . dog knew what was going on
Bet mom did too, now that I think about it.
I took Elena to meet my parents after a month or so
A two hour drive
She was to stay the weekend with us
On our way I felt uneasy . . apprehensive
Not so sure how things would go
My folks were very working class
My dad a welder who came home from work dirty
Her father a university professor.
Things were going more or less okay until we had dinner
Elena seemed relaxed and intellectually chatty
Expressing her thoughts about art
I could feel my parents drawing back
And then she said it:
She was talking about her brother, Armando.
“He looks like a Greek god,” she said.
That did it.
We slept in separate rooms, of course.
Next morning I got up and she was gone.
My parents took her to the railroad station
Bought her ticket
Put her on a train
Not bothering to wake me up
The must have really planned it out
I can’t remember how I felt
Surely some anger and most certainly embarrassment
What would I say when I saw her again?
But it went okay.
I remember discussing what happened with Elena and her mother
They thought my parents quaint
Vaguely amusing, and intellectually ignorant
Noblesse Oblige
The insult was forgiven.
* * *
After a while Elena got to be too much of a good thing
I felt smothered by her
And fell out of love, or lust, or whatever it was.
I might have been feeling what my parents felt
An upper-class superiority – a creature from another world
I stopped caring
She did not
I think she took it more as an insult than heartbreak
Her man had walked out on her.
She became what would call today, a stalker
She stopped by
She called
Talked to my friends
Phil named her “’The Spanish Armada’”
A considerable force . . . determined
She waited for me outside classrooms
She was driving me nuts
She gave Phil a note to pass on to me
Said she was pregnant
Scared hell out of me at first
Then I was sure she was faking it.
I used to blow up my condoms after taking dates home
Like balloons . . . to see if there were leaks
There never were
But the note was enough to make me meet her for another talk
She admitted she was not pregnant
It was a ploy
I started seeing her again, just once in a while
And more to keep her away than to be with her
Paying tribute
I don’t think we were having sex by this time
One night I was sick, the flu or a bad cold or something
Hadn’t mentioned it to her
Not all that bad
But still I threw up in her driveway one night when I took her home
“So going with me makes me sick,” she said.
I didn’t answer, which of course meant yes.
Seemed like it might be worth a shot
It worked!
She left me alone after that
I think, to her, it seemed a proper ending
A sort of Harlequin Romance thing.
* * *
I kept the “’I am pregnant note.’” A souvenir
My mother found it one day
She was always snooping and freaked out
“Don’t marry her. Whatever you do! We’ll take care of it!”
“We’ll get the best lawyers.”
Took here almost year to be convinced that the note was a fake.
I wonder where she is now
After 60 years
And wish her happiness.

About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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4 Responses to On Leaving America – Part 13

  1. I found this very real and truthful. Strange how those qualities make for rivetting reading, thank you Bruce

  2. This reminds me of the time I found my diary that I kept when I was 13 years old. The boys that I thought were so cute turned into men that I am glad I did not end up with them. I probably would have been a different person. That’s no good because I like the way I turned out. I would have been sad with a longing within me and probably little understanding how to make myself whole.
    It makes me laugh that those things that seemed so very important at the time, were really trivial in the grand scheme of life.

  3. catnipoflife says:

    Ah-h-h! The stories, the memories, how sweet and treasured they are! I am with Valerie, riveting reading!

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