Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On The Nature Of Love-For Kat Richards (and her unnamed Bicycle Boy), Adamsville High School Class of 1964

Peter Paul Markin comment:

For those astute enough to recognize a fundamental flaw in the dedication I will attend to your hurts in a moment. For those who are not insanely raider red-bled or who don’t recognize the “flaw” in the dedication you can pass this introductory comment by and go straight to the “moral” of this little sketch. As for those who do faintly recognize something wrong in the heavens an explanation, an unnecessary explanation as far as I am concerned, is in order.

Yes, one thousand times yes, I am dedicating this piece to a member of the class of 1964 from our hated cross-town rivals, the blue and white of Adamsville High. I can feel free to do so in the knowledge that our beloved raider-bled red and black trounced her fellow classmates in that glorious senior year Thanksgiving football game in 1963. So for just this minute, or as long as it takes to tell the story, all that business about “never the twain shall meet” and “don’t cross the line” (that Boyles Avenue dividing line that separated North Adamsville from the blue and white heathens of Adamsville) is off. I have called a truce, an armed truce considering the adversary’s usual unscrupulous ways, for this one. I think the story that this “innocent” woman who fell afoul of that alluded to line by, as far as I know, no evil design on her part is worth that consideration. Okay.
I want to speak of love. No, not the coquettish, coy, cream puff, arch, Shakespearean wordplay, rhymed couplet, sonnet love (or whoever really wrote those things, I suspect Kit Marlowe, but we will leave that little academic pursuit for another time). Mere pretty words. Soft ashes to the bitter tongue and blown to some ocean wind with no more substance than the air that carries those cobbled sugars.

Neither shall I speak of rarified, sense and sensibility-driven, ethereal Robert Browning bon mots to one Ms. (formerly Miss) Elizabeth Barrett. Mere Victorian claptrap. High- tide suppression of the finer instincts beneath many bustles and bows. And worthy of that same ashen, sooted air send-off. Nor will I utter one word of the mock-heroic, blood-drenched deeds done in the name of love, the love of the face that launched a thousand ships, Helen of Troy. Or Rowena, Rebecca, Rosamon, hell, even Betty and their sighing faint airs and perfumed handkerchiefs pinned death-prone to lanced braveheart chests.
Humankind has had more than its fair share of such epic, red earth-bleeding battles, although not always done to satisfy lust for a woman.

And you should blush, you really should, if you expect me to hype roses sent, valentine reds or off-occasion whites, candies (are you kidding me that went out with garter belts and spats and with the life and death struggle slim down diets, get real) ordered, and fine dinners, (with wines and candle lights even) purchased as tokens of love.

Today I wish to speak of love. Simple, coming-of-age-love, plebeian love, but love that will now transcend all the noisy clamor of the above quizzed sentiments. Hear me out, it will not take long. Actually, the details are minimal. Adamsville South Elementary School down in the Adamsville projects classmate, Kat Richards, related a story to me about the old days, our 1950s old days, when coming-of-age love was handled more discreetly, with more naiveté and with a bit more pathos than today.

In those old days Kat had a boyfriend, unnamed, maybe unnamable, but unnamed to me for her own reasons, honorable I hope but her own reasons. Let’s call him Bicycle Boy because a bicycle figures into the story. This lad lived in Centerville a couple of towns over from Adamsville going toward Mechanicsville out on Route 3. Fair enough. Somehow, and the details really don’t matter, there was a conflict, a mother conflict I presume or older sister, who knows, and it was necessary for the pair to meet clandestinely.

And here is where the thing turns epic. In order to see his beloved he biked from Centerville to Mechanicsville, no mean task given the hills and miles that separated the two towns. Not just any part of Mechanicville though but the part directly across from the Adamsville projects by the Squaw River Bridge. And from there he swam, swam through the tide shifts and eddies, swam through the freighter-brought fetid, oil-slicked waves, swam as if his very life depended on it, to meet his love on scrappy, shell-strewn beach on the other side. More importantly, after their rendezvous he had to swim back across that same treacherous channel.

Know this. When someone speaks pretty sonnet love words dismiss him or her out of hand. When someone speaks of heavenly love cast a jaded eye his or her way. When someone offers to die, and gladly, for battle love laugh in his or her face. And if someone tries to piece you off with some tasty tidbits or fragrant smells start walking the other way. For now, and for all cyberspace eternity, you have heard the siren song of real love.

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