Wednesday, February 27, 2008

capturing the flag

I was raised in a small mountain town, you know the kind. Mail was delivered to the post office and we all had a box. The tiny town had one market and all the cashiers knew your name but still called you honey and baby and doll. We had a town drunk and everyone knew him and yet drunk he stayed. We'd get snowed in for days on end and sleep huddled in front of the fire. All the men drove trucks and people watched out for each others kids and there was nothing much to do.

Growing up there meant I spent a lot of time outside. Climbing trees, building forts, creating imaginary situations out of rocks and dirt. There were many of us in the neighborhood, kids from a variety of rough homes and broken families who all gathered in the trees and played endless games of capture the flag to avoid going home.

One of those boys was named Rex. He had a lot of freckles, Rex. He's was the kind of kid who got in a lot of fights, who had a mom but not a dad, who ran wild and free and late into the night. One such night Rex kissed me, the first kiss of my life. It was uneventful really, two ten year olds prodding each other in the face and then running in different directions thinking we were grown. Rex went home and his house caught fire that night, the story on the mountain was he set it himself. His mom took him away after that and none of us ever saw him again.

37 comments:

liv said...

ooof. babe. i have no words. just sadness over a disappearing boy.

meno said...

I do know that town. Wonder what Rex is doing now.

Joker The Lurcher said...

an amazing post. its a wonder you kissed anyone again...

when i still lived in the flat with my mum there was a boy next door who had loads of freckles who was a fire-setter. something about freckles?

thailandchani said...

I guess we never know. When I was a kid, there was a teenaged boy who lived in the neighborhood. Nearby. I heard later that he ended up in prison for a rather horrible crime.

Family Adventure said...

I, too, wonder what became of Rex.

Heidi

Omaha Mama said...

My hometown sounds like that, only prairie, no mountains. Mostly good memories, with a few Rex stories thrown in the mix. Stinks that there was no second kiss.

cce said...

That kiss of yours really must have turned him inside out. So much for incinerating moments. Sorry, couldn't resist. But truly, I'm sad for the little girl you and the little boy Rex, I'm sad for that abrupt parting.

We had a town drunk too. Couldn't resist throwing him into my novel. It's universal small town stuff - the resident lush.

kristen said...

what a story and what impact that night must have had on you. of course i wonder what became of rex...

wheelsonthebus said...

That's quite a story. And you are quite a storyteller.

alejna said...

I'm so intrigued by this little glimpses you give into your childhood. What a great short story it makes, too.

I know the sort of town you describe. My grandmother lived in one of those, and my sister and I spent many summers and one school year there. But we were always the outsiders.

Deezee said...

whoa...

Christine said...

there's a big story there. what a haunting image you've painted.

crazymumma said...

the first kiss with the wild boy with freckles.

those are cinamatic images.

Janet said...

First kisses are supposed to ignite something entirely different. How sad that Rex didn't get that.

Kyla said...

Your words always pack a punch, you know. You've got a gift.

And I love these little gems of your life you pull out and show us.

furiousBall said...

Rex went on to build websites to make friends. His name of course is Tom from MySpace.

Kelley said...

Oh, wow. That was beautiful!

Amy Y said...

Holy shit, Mama.
That came outta nowhere! (I was expecting more details from the last post) ;)
You never forget that first kiss, do you?

Magpie said...

Huh. What happened when you kissed the next boy?

painted maypole said...

dude. that kiss might have been uneventful for you, but it apparently lit a fire in him.

oh, that was a bad joke. sorry.

Julie Pippert said...

Wow, what a tale.

And wow about whatever is on the horizon for you. (And I TOTALLY did not think PG. I thought "moving to Argentina" but I had no gravid thoughts at all. Honest.)

hele said...

Love you sister, wish I had more time to share all the awesome stuff I am learning at University with you.

Sigh, the beer is getting stale....

mamatulip said...

Wow, Jen.

slackermommy said...

Wow, how did that effect you?

Jennifer said...

Oh, goodness. Right into the heart.

I've missed your writing, these days I've been away.

Redneck Mommy said...

I'll kiss you.

I've got freckles.

I promise not to set my house on fire.

I wonder what happened to your Rex. I hope he is well.

Lawyer Mama said...

Wow.

My first kiss just turned out to be gay.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm wowed, too--what a kiss! What a story...poor Rex.

Angela said...

So bittersweet. I hope Rex is all right, he is lucky to have you remember him.

Beck said...

Poor Rex.
I think that's the same town I live in... except with no mountains.

ewe are here said...

My first kiss was so uneventful that I don't really remember it!

Orangeblossoms said...

First kiss stories are always so interesting. I was in Arsenic and Old Lace playing Abbey Brewster (an elderly lady) with my hair painted all silver and aging lines drawn on my face in eyebrow pencil for my first kiss. Turns out we were both gay!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

But what do you think? Did he do it?

Wayfarer Scientista said...

I too grew up in a similar town...

Ron Davison said...

Now that was a boy inspired - your first kiss turned a boy into a pyromaniac. Well, that is epic.

katydidnot said...

what of rex? yours are good words.

Mommahbear. said...

Your Lips of fire, eh? Poor unprepared soul.. kid had no idea. ;)

I do feel for him and those like him, though. ..wonder what happened to him. Checked Facebook? ;)