Electric Boy Meets Conductor Girl: A Short Story

[4-minute read]

Some people don’t follow directions very well. He wanted to do it right, he really did, he always wanted to do the right thing but he had gotten a little confused that day.

He’d always thought there was only one place for all that nutty energy, and that was Games With the Boys, so many games, though not that many boys. It was always the same crew, with the odd newbie thrown in who would sometimes come back for more but most often wouldn’t. Not everybody wanted to play that hard or that long, but there you go. One schoolboy morning, he learned a new thing.

He turned his head, more slowly than he would have to find the outfield fence while racing back for a deep flyball, less furiously than when detecting tacklers with a brown ball under his arm. He was in the right-hand row, four desks from the front. She just walked into room 10, eyes down and too many books held against a softening chest. She bustled right by.

Surely he wasn’t too obvious. His hair was a little longer now. He didn’t stand out so much,  Sunday school cuts and careful combing having been refused. The loud girl had stopped spitting his name in scorn. This was pleasant, but he still never talked to any of them. Why bother? Mr. P. always took their side, wasn’t fair, but it didn’t do any good, and that guy had some scary vocabulary and a wooden pointer that he didn’t just point with. Anyway. Game Boy kept his head down, too, until the girl with the long blonde hair was two desks past him.

He stood up, fumbled with his pencil case, found a Col-erase Red that he could have argued was ridiculously dull, like most of the non-recess periods at Riverside were. The sharpener was back there in the corner, and she had just walked past it. He followed her hair across the back of the room, and if he’d been capable of an organized thought, it would have been some admission that maybe there was a reason for females. It was weird. He felt like he was in the on-deck circle. Kenny had just worked the bastard for a walk, and the bases were loaded with two out, down a run, and a base hit would score two and he’d walk off with a championship. But this was just a Tuesday morning in Room 10. Stupid.

So yeah, somebody had turned on the juice, but he didn’t know much about what to do with it, and had no idea what play to call. Months passed. Sometimes she’d talk to him, but a fuse would blow and he’d mutter some curt reply, not even looking at her. From a safe distance, though, he’d take a peek. Yeah. This was a situation. He always knew where everybody was on the ball diamond, or who was covering whom in those ragged touch football games at recess. That was natural. But it burned his brain to admit to himself that he always knew where she was, too, when he should have had his head in the game more.

Tennis. Tennis. He was no good at it anyway, but he played it with Burkey every now and again and could coax the ball over the net most of the time. You could play tennis with a girl. He’d seen it for himself, and now he understood why a guy would want to do that. He could borrow Burkey’s racquet, yeah, that could work.

“Hey, um, wanna play tennis sometime?” It was a blue bolt out of nowhere, but she caught it with ease, and before he could change his mind, he was playing a game he didn’t care about winning. His legs didn’t have much work to do, but he could feel his facial muscles afterward. Perma-smiles. And he didn’t have to do much else. Before he knew how desperately he wanted to hold her hand, she reached out for his. She seemed to know just how to do it, and there they were, walking along the river as if the current running through his limbs was as natural as the murmur of the water.

He could never remember how many hours of gently bopping tennis balls they shared. It probably wasn’t many, because she didn’t hit that many balls, if he was going to do a statistical analysis of it. Walking together was electric, though, so tennis and the dairy bar and walk-by burgers were just a pretext. Talking was easy, most of the time, mostly because she could carry that ball much better than he could. Even when his words seemed to flash and sputter and short-circuit, she’d complete the thought, or lead him along with a question, or just laugh and tighten the connection between their palms.

Tennis. That was all he needed to come up with, since she always seemed to know what to do next. One day, she tugged a little and they turned down a quiet road he hadn’t noticed before. Past a narrow stream was an opening between the trees, and a field that hadn’t been planted in years. The grass was tall. There were little white flowers, he managed to remember later, and of course the sky was blue. Another tug came, downward this time, and they were sitting. She folded her legs with grace, and GameBoy went to ground more awkwardly than if taken down by a trio of tacklers. He didn’t mind.

He got it. They were going to kiss.

She leaned toward him, smiling. He didn’t run. As they were about to meet at the mouth, they were interrupted not by a spark of static electricity, but by a long spear of grass. He grinned a stunned and ecstatic grin. She laughed, and waved the blade to the side. Two pairs of childish lips met and the future spun and glowed. Silence blanketed the meadow.

Comments (3)

  1. Amalia

    Sweet. Thanks for providing my lunchtime break!

  2. Nutty Energy is a very apropos term for that time of life isn’t it 😉
    Loved the story. So cute!

  3. Bee

    Fuck yeah! Got me! More please

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