The summer that we were twelve years old, my girlfriend Karen and I spent the whole afternoon at a swimming pool I’d never been to before. We sat in the sun, and talked about boys, and laughed, and swam, and splashed each other, and waited for our favorite songs to get played over and over on the transistor radio we’d brought with us. By the end of that afternoon, I felt a kind of deep peacefulness. Like my insides had uncoiled and lay still in a new way. Karen’s mother had rented a convertible for a special date with Karen’s dad, and she came to pick us up from the pool in that convertible. First time I’d ever been in one. The three of us sat crowded into the front seat together. Karen’s mom had gotten her hair done in a fancy French twist for the date, and she tied a chiffon scarf around it for the ride home. Karen turned on the radio, and her mother cranked it up even louder. My body had that cool feeling that stays deep inside of you when you’ve been in the water all day. But your skin heats up from the warmth of the sun, and you feel the hot and the cool all at once. When we hit the road, the wind tossed Karen’s and my long, soaking wet hair all over the place, occasionally smacking ourselves and one another in the face. All of those feelings together, it was thrilling, like nothing I’d every felt before; but the peacefulness was still there, too. That’s what it was like meeting Eddie. Just exactly like that.
This is one of the latest sections of my novel The Rocky Orchard. Once in a while you have a good writing day, a day where one single paragraph works exactly the way you wanted it to work when the idea appeared in your head. That’s how we keep going.
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