By Joe Giambrone
She strolled along from boardwalk stand to stand, investigating. I saw her, of course, three stands down, long before she noticed me. She wore a white sun hat, wide brimmed, and a flowing skirt, the only girl I’d seen dressed like that. Her manner, taking her sweet time, asking lots of questions, inspecting the goods, I sensed something was special about her. She wanted the full experience.
In the summer of 1985, my job was printing kitschy t-shirts and calendars with people’s photos on them: lovers, brats, fogies. I watched for beautiful girls, but they weren’t interested in the guy in the silly stand. My hair was pretty long then, and I lived across the bay, alone at my parents’ summer house.
My stand was in Seaside Park, built of wood and open to the ocean air on three sides, the beach behind it way down below. Waves rolled in, and the tourists sauntered by.
I photographed two kids together, with the video camera. The dot matrix printer kicked out the image, and I cooked the printout onto a t-shirt for the grandmother. Meanwhile, the girl in the summer dress approached, and she inspected the samples hanging around the stand.
Two beauties in bikinis strutted by with a jock, never looking over. I made my best effort to avoid looking at them and stay open to any sort of attention from the girl in the white hat and big round sunglasses. It seemed like she wouldn’t speak to me. Why would she? Why would such a person want any of that boardwalk kitsch? It had to be just a curiosity to her.
Presented with the perfect opportunity to speak to her, I wasn’t at all interested in selling her anything. She meandered around the three sides looking at less popular items like banners, buttons and sweatshirts. I watched her silently, back at the workstation. But eventually I couldn’t take it any longer.
I couldn’t tell how old she was, certainly young, but not too young. “Are you down for the week?”
“Yeah. With my parents and my brother.”
“Ah. How’s it going so far?”
“You don’t really want your picture on something?”
“Oh. My gramms loves this kind of stuff. Me and Justin. We’ll probably come back later with everybody.”
“My little brother.”
That same night she appeared with her crew. Her parents watched the live monitor feed at the counter. Her father wore a thick mustache, stocky build. She and her brother seemed like happy people, young, healthy, nice.
“That’s good, right there. Turn a little bit toward each other. Lean in closer.” I took my time for the best possible picture. Memory only held one image, and you lost it if you tried for another.
“Relax. Just a little smile.” I needed them both perfect simultaneously. “Got it.” I took fast shots continually trying for the perfect moment, which I thought I accomplished.
As I heat-pressed the calendar for her grandmother, I peeked back over my shoulder. April chatted with her parents. My window of opportunity was closing fast.
Her mother wanted more. “Another calendar for us, we think.”
“This one?” I showed her the ’86 calendar with the blue theme, which was my favorite.
When her parents walked away with the plastic bag full of memories, April hung back. I waved.
“Hey? April right?”
“Are you doing anything later tonight?”
“No. Just walking around. The usual.”
“I get out of here at ten. Do you want to hang out?”
I couldn’t believe my luck. I’m sure her eyes sparkled when she said it. This hadn’t happened before. She smiled demurely as she strolled off to catch up with her family.
I stood alone in the quiet stand, now in another world.
Of the two rooftop mini-golf courses, this was the bigger one. April’s golf ball jumped the track and sailed across the course to a fence. She laughed. “No!”
“I’ll get it. I’ll get it.” We played 18 holes, and then paused at the railing to look out over the beach and dark ocean, little frothy white peaks on the waves.
She wore jeans and a denim jacket.
We kept talking. She also wore a Pink Floyd shirt, and I had quite a few of their discs. I noticed her pants. “You have a bandana as a belt.”
“Yeah, that’s how I know my stomach’s okay, so I don’t put on any weight.”
“Ohh. Wow, I didn’t know it would fit.” I was feeling awkward and unsure what to say next. She didn’t have much time left, but she stretched it out. Her little mannerisms, her desires long forgotten, but they burrowed subconsciously to rewire my brain.
Before she headed back to her hotel, she said, “So like do you want to go swimming in the ocean tomorrow? That’s what we’re doing.”
“Yeah. Everyone? Sure.”
Out in the warm surf, April and I bobbed and waited for waves. We ended up close to one another.
“Hey?” she said.
She wrapped her arms around me, face to face, and she kissed me. Sea salty kisses in the surf. Her legs eventually found their way around me as we rocked in the rolling waves.
I had no idea where her parents were. “Can they see us here?”
April shook her head. She seemed pretty self-sure, and not worried about a thing. She was so beautiful and carefree, like a muse.
“So, your dad’s a cop?”
She kissed me again, and I was blown away by April. We were right at the edge of the erotic. Her legs around mine, she rendered me powerless but to continue kissing her. My hands massaged her back as we floated around in the ocean together.
When we strolled past her parents back on the beach, she calmly said, “Hey we’re gonna get some lunch.”
“Okay. We’ll be here.” Her father seemed to take no interest at all.
Together we marched across the hot sand and up to the rough boardwalk planks. I was characteristically paranoid, having seen enough teen sex comedies in my day to know better.
She reassured me. “Oh yeah, he’s totally cool.”
“I just don’t want to do anything to—”
“Don’t worry about it.”
As we emerged on the boards, April’s fingers met mine and we walked hand in hand like a cliché. It was so special having found a partner.
Two nights later April drove to my house. We tore into each other like feral rabbits. Flopping down onto my bed, we undressed in a hail of sloppy kisses. She was perfection, everything I had ever wanted, and so alive.
It was Friday, her last night of vacation. She would be leaving the next morning to return to her small city in central Pennsylvania, hundreds of miles away.
I didn’t even have a condom, always playing things moment to moment. Without foreplay, we went right to it. She was already wet. I had always wondered why girls let boys do such things to them, but she was unstoppable and I was in paradise.
Her legs wrapped and squeezed me into her. It all flew in a daze, and I soon realized I wouldn’t be able to resist much longer. In no time it would be over. Her most perfect vagina was the stuff of dreams, and the pressure skyrocketed inside of me. I decided at the last moment to hide it and try not to reveal myself.
I knew that I could sometimes come and remain hard afterward, and this needed to be one of those times, for her benefit. My face buried into her neck, I let loose.
When I regained my state of mind, still thrusting into her, and she at me, I realized that she hadn’t caught on. She just kept thrusting.
We flipped over. She rode on top, and structurally it held. I was numb for the longest time and in a state previously unexplored, thinking too much, but I remained in the game. I watched her in the dim shadows, closer than any movie, so intimate it haunts me still.
She ground me into the mattress for a spell, and we tumbled about for another half an hour. Sweating hard. Feeling returned eventually, but I couldn’t come twice. Exhausted and covered in sweat, April finally slowed to a stop.
I can remember her saying, “Well, we tried.” She may have felt awkward, which is the last thing I wanted.
I gazed into her face and she smiled. She climbed off of me, and returned to normalcy. I didn’t want any deceptiveness, as I was completely in love with her.
“Uhm,” I told her, “I came already, a while ago, but I didn’t want to disappoint you.”
She huffed out amused for just a second.
Dressing calmly with confidence, she had a shiny black leather jacket, which she slipped back on. Already she was due back at her parents’ hotel.
Out on my front porch, she turned back to me. Misty eyed, she opened her arms and embraced me for the longest interlude, swaying back and forth. I did not want to let her go. We shared that final kiss.
She walked back to her family car and started the engine.
I never saw April again, but I could never forget our week together, when it seemed like there was magic in the world. My perfect match, I sometimes wish things had turned out differently.
Joe Giambrone is the author of sci-fi thriller, TRANSFIXION, as well as HELL OF A DEAL: A SUPERNATURAL SATIRE, and WRECKING BALLS, a story of stand-up comedians gone to war with each other. To see more from Joe, visit his website, http://www.joegiambrone.us/, or follow him on Twitter: @joegiambrone.