absorbed in playing and singing when I finally got the guts to walk the
rest of the way to the garage. This time I lingered in the doorway so I
wouldn’t interrupt him, but where he could see me if he looked up. I had no idea
what song he was playing—probably something profound and influential from the
seventies. I loved listening to his soulful baritone voice. I closed my eyes
and got so lost in it that I didn’t realize when he stopped playing.
Jimmy said in a tone that told me he had been trying to get my attention. My
eyes flew open to find him still cradling his guitar and chuckling. Usually,
his lips were set in a stubborn but sort of endearing pout, but now he was
treating me to a rare, full-blown smile. He was wearing jeans and a white
t-shirt. Back then his brown hair was long, down to his shoulders, and fell
into his hazel eyes. I thought he was so cool.
was amazing ,” I exclaimed as though that hadn’t just been the most
awkward moment ever. “What song was that?”
probably thought I was clueless, but he answered me anyway. “‘Comfortably
Numb.’ It’s a Pink Floyd song.”
had no idea who Pink Floyd was, but I didn’t admit that. After another
uncomfortable silence, I said, “I’m just waiting for Anna to get back. We’re
nodded, lifted the guitar strap over his shoulder and set the guitar on its
stand. “Let’s go inside.” He cocked his head in the direction of the house. “I
can get you something to drink.”
have,” Jimmy said, peering into their refrigerator a minute later, “Coke, iced
tea, milk and beer,” he added, turning and winking at me.
gave a short laugh. “An iced tea sounds great.” He handed me a can and got one
for himself, and we headed downstairs to the basement.
can’t remember how it started, but somehow we got a conversation flowing. Soon
we were talking and laughing like we were thirteen again, like nothing had ever
changed. We sunk lower and lower into the orange plush couch while keeping to
our respective sides. During a lull in the conversation, I blurted out, “So, do
you have a girlfriend?”
already figured he didn’t. Our high school was small, and my friends and I
always made it our business to know who was going out. So I wasn’t surprised
when he shook his head no.
about you? Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked me. “I bet you do—it’s one of
those gorillas on the football team.”
threw one of the ugly orange pillows at him, but I was laughing. “No. I’m not
dating any of the ‘gorillas’ on the football team, or anybody else for that
raised his eyebrows. “That’s hard to believe. What about Anna Banana?” he
continued. “Does she have a secret beau I don’t know about? I’ll kick
I repeated, still giggling. “Who says that? Do you belong to some secret yacht
club I don’t know about?” I teased. “And why is it hard to believe I don’t have
a boyfriend—I’m sorry, a beau ?”
laughter subsided at my question, and he regarded me uncertainly. “Seriously?
You’re beautiful, Siobhan,” he said, suddenly serious, “and you’re a really
I mumbled, unable to meet his gaze. “Well, thanks. That’s one of the nicest
things anyone has ever said to me.” Any boy .
you like anyone?” Just as abruptly, he was back to being silly. He rested his
chin on his fist, leaned in closer to me and persisted in a shrill voice, “Come
on, Siobhan. Spill the beans.”
put my face in my hands and groaned. “Oh, my God, this is really what
you think girls act like.” He batted his eyelashes at me in response.
“There is someone I like,” I finally admitted, uncovering my face, “but I know
he doesn’t like me back.”
“ Who ?
How do you know he doesn’t like you back?”
sighed. His kidding around was starting to grind on my nerves. “Because