Sunday Scribblings: Pilgrimage

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is “Pilgrimage.” A long journey or search of great moral significance. This is what I heard:

Some Call It A Mistake

She dipped the toes of one foot into the lake, sending ripples of gold waves as the sun sank low in the west; she swirled them, seductive, turned to him and with a lock of rusty curls clamped in the side of her lips, caressed a delicate hand across her naked torso.
Right then, he knew he loved her.
He was the kid from the trailer park, south of the tracks where the air was thick with alcoholism, absent single mothers, despair. He wore faded jeans that he drew on with cheap ink pens, rock band T-shirts and scuffed Red Wing work boots. He wore his dark hair a little to long for his teacher’s liking, but he was a good kid they’d remark, gathered as they did in their lounge to distract themselves from all those who didn’t care about learning. Quiet, respectful, they said. He could make something of himself, if given the proper chance.
The daughter of the small town’s bank president, she lived a privileged life in a house on the lake, a monster neo-colonial that looked out of place on the flat prairie. She was the varsity cheerleader, the good girl who got good grades and was dedicated to a host of extra-curricular activities the would look good to college recruiters. Rust-red curls, shoulder length, were set off by her rich, white skin, splattered as it was by freckles, which only enhanced her beauty. Lithe body, statuesque, already a woman at 16.
He’d tried to act cool, slouched in a booth at the diner, when she walked by to go to the restroom. He fumbled the hello, blushing as he did so; she smiled, polite, and blushed herself. On the trip out, she turned back to him, waved.
The text message to his mobile, a prized possession bought and paid for with funds from two part-time jobs, caught him off-guard.
“You have a nice smile.”
Not concerned with how she had gotten his number, he worried about what to send back. In the end, a simple “thanks” seemed in order. Not too hopeful, no touch of awkward neediness. Cool.
The texts increased over the weeks, as did chance encounters set up by the technical blurps of keystrokes at the diner, the library, the mall. Always surrounded in the safety of numbers of their respective cliques.
Summer retuned to their town, and as he worked two jobs to keep himself out of the double-wide, she prepared for college with reading lists, community causes. The texts flowed; she’d finally asked that he meet her at the secluded beach near her house. Only there could they talk openly; he of plans to travel to Europe after graduation, bum around with a backpack and a dog-eared Lonely Planet guidebook, stay at hostels, live. She talked about expectations, dreams. She loved his fearlessness when he talked of Europe; he detected a sadness in her that he feared he could never fill.
That first time, making love in a soft summer breeze on warm sand, was delicate, passionate.
Her nausea began six weeks later, some 15 days when she knew she was “late.”
She broke it to him in a text.
He called, asked her to meet him at their beach.
Where he professed his love, the desire to be with her, no matter what. He’d scrap his plans for Europe, used the money saved to set them up for life after graduation. She cried, hard sobs, since her parents would push for an abortion, send her off to recuperate, tell people her favorite aunt in the city wanted her to get a taste of life she’d enter post-college.
He said he’d talk to them with her.
They stood on polished walnut wood floors and held hands, her parents sat in the middle of a giant couch, white as ice crystals. He explained, with calm wisdom, that he loved her and wanted nothing but the best for her. Her father’s veins pulsed in his neck, red-faced, he swore that he’d ruin the young man’s life, now and forever for soiling his only daughter.
“She’s way to good for the likes of you” was the final barb he thrust at the boy.
Her mother placed a hand on her husband’s knee, put her fingers on his lips and in a quiet coo, signaled for him to be quiet. Their only daughter, she said, was born in much the same way, the mother reminded. And they had turned out better than OK. A blessing was given.
And with it, began their journey together. A life that began with the small life that grew inside her.
And the love they shared, a shield against the stares, hateful comments, snickers of “I told you so.”


Anonymous said...

wow as usual... something for you :

Tumblewords: said...

A special kind of pilgrimage, this one speaks a thousand lives...

missalister said...

This is written like donning a silk blouse and I loved the feel. I did, however, find myself, fingers on the last button, desirous of more conflict!

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Phew! What goes around comes around, I guess.

gel(Emerald Eyes) said...

Your piece held my rapt attention. Believable and well-written.

gautami tripathy said...

Somehow I needed to read this. As a teacher who teaches adolescents, I can just about picture it...

clearly fading