Pat Boone Fan Club

Pat Boone Fan Club by Sue William Silverman Read Free Book Online

Book: Pat Boone Fan Club by Sue William Silverman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sue William Silverman
Tags: Biography & Autobiography
rarely speak—though I think about her constantly. My father’s car stops beside the curb just behind her father’s. AsLynn opens the door, the dome light shadows rather than brightens her father’s features. His sharp “get in” sounds like pebbles pitched against glass. Lynn and I close our doors. My father says I should have called earlier for him to bring me home. I lower the window of his black Fleetwood Cadillac, smoky from cigarettes. I feel his gaze on me in the rearview mirror. Headlights from a car behind us glint on his glasses. We slowly follow Lynn’s car along the driveway and onto Harristown Road, as if we’re in a procession.
    Suburban Glen Rock as Refuge from the Shtetl
    The Christian street I live on, Lowell Road, is elliptical, a perfect oval. Evenings, after dinner, I ride my bicycle around and around, glimpsing inside houses, all the parted curtains. Each picture window frames a still-life living room, a painting of modern Danish furniture adorning a background of wall-to-wall Euclidean carpet. Lamplight etches damp weedless lawns, reflecting exact rhombuses. Moths beat wire-mesh screens, this golden perfection irresistible. Pedaling past neighbors’ houses, my heart quickens, too.
    Later, inside, I stand by my bedroom window, a finger denting parallel slats in the venetian blinds, intersecting sight. If only I could conjure Christopher in his father’s red Rambler, tires swishing to a stop in front of my house. But the only sound is the scuff of my grandmother’s dirty terrycloth slippers, so frayed I imagine her wearing them in the shtetl, on the boat as she sails toward Ellis Island, all along the Lower East Side, tramping across the George Washington Bridge and into my teenage life.
    As Technicolor Heartthrobs Take Suburbia by Storm
    Christopher and I watch teenage movies such as A Summer Place . At the second-run, drive-in theater, as Molly (Sandra Dee) and Johnny (Troy Donahue) fall in love, I snuggle beside Christopher in my floral dress, our clothes damp against the seat of his father’s Rambler.
    The camera pans in for a close-up of Johnny and Molly alone in a lighthouse.
    Molly: “We’ve got to be good, Johnny.”
    Johnny: “Good. Is it that easy to be good?”
    Molly: “Have you been bad, Johnny? Have you been bad with other girls?”
    She whispers the word “bad” with longing that swells from the base of her throat.
    If “bad” is “good,” is “good” “bad”? How to prove the theorem? How to decipher who Christopher wants me to be? Christopher, would you be bad with me, kiss me—do more with me—if I didn’t look Jewish, if I resembled Lynn or Sandra Dee?
    When I audition for my high school play, everyone thinks I’m perfect for the role and laughs at the right lines. Well, everyone thinks I’m perfect but the drama coach, Miss M. I don’t get the part. Miss M., also my Spanish teacher, worships General Francisco Franco, who supported the Fascists during World War II. She brings photos of him to class. I squint, not wanting to see, willing the images to burn to vapor on a white-hot Iberian breeze. My mother says I didn’t get the part because I’m Jewish.
    Now, disembodied voices crackle from the speaker box hooked on the car window. When I lean my head against Christopher’s shoulder, the movie sounds garbled, as if they’re speaking a foreign language.
    Big-Time Wrestling as Metaphor for the Vicissitudes of Love
    I sit in the bleachers, hands folded, watching Christopher wrestle. He’s captain of the team, and I long to wear his letter sweater. Sweat drips from Christopher onto the square red mat, a white circle in the center. His skin glistens. I don’t want him to getpinned. Halfway through, when I think he might lose, my shoulders feel narrow, drawn. I focus on my kneecaps, pale between kneesocks and a plaid kilt.
    Earlier, while dressing, I was sure he’d love my pearly nail polish and pink-bubblegum lipstick. With religious fervor, I shined the

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