A sweet spring morning, the start of the majorette marching season. (though I didn’t know this yet) I was mooching around, going nowhere, wandering. Wandering streets looking for life, meaning to my Saturday. I’d gotten bored with sleep and sharing a tent with Doug who was only three quarters thru’ his usual twelve hour sleep.
Sun filtered thru’ high cloud, today was to be a scorcher. Today was carnival day. I was at that age where carnivals were boring yet could still stir my blood in some way yet to be fathomed by time. I kept wandering: hungry as always, hungry for every-thing and anything that might take my mind off my constant companion food hun-ger need. Food entered my life, from friends, family, the scared shoplift, forage from trees but never left any lasting impression. Hunger stalked my dreams, prowled my days, turned me into a scavenger for experiences. All life served only to aid my es-cape from hungers claws.
My drift had taken me down to the park. The park was a cold greener place with a river, it’s banks steep and slimy had provided many a trap on other days. The park enclosed solitude, if we as kids invaded with laughter and games its statues would scold us from their lofty perches in coldened metal. Soon we would be looking over our shoulders, suspecting ambush by older kids or some irate adult with a stick. We would run from these ambushes even though they never came, feeling the fear was enough.
The park was busy, tents and stalls suggested yet to be offered delights littered its green pathways. Even in these numbers of people I could still feel eyes peering at me, waiting for my errant ways to manifest.
And then I saw them.
Girls in short skirts and tight tops.
Girls with breasts.
Girls with shiny red knickers…
Girls, Giggling at my goggling and ogling of them.
I stood my ground continued to gaze in wonder and adoration as they twisted, twirled silvered sticks, turned in unison on some beat I knew I would never ever be able to hear.
They ended their practice routine and some mother hen, older wiser and aware of boys like me, clucked them into line and marched them way. I stayed. Drunk in in-ner reverie of skirts, knickers, padded breasts and legs that went on in my younglust mind forever.
My thoughts were interrupted: ” Like what you saw?” she stood in front of me, sun behind her not yet high but lancing over shoulders and into her hair. My blush gave me away. She smiled and told me of who she was, her home some forty miles away, of schools and parents who could never understand. She bought me a Coke (I was always broke) and we walked thru’ the park. At some point my hand found hers, she was warm, firm yet soft and smelled faintly of a soap that I would never smell again.
We stopped on a bench, her hand tightly squeezing mine as she spoke of a father who hurt her but would want cuddles and loving that she didn’t feel able to give. A mother who must know of her daddy’s late night calls but clung onto deafness ra-ther than hear the cries she called out. Her story touched me only slightly, this was common fare to my ears. Many nights in tents, bus shelters or days lodged in trees, anywhere away from the prying eyes and ears of adults and these stories would tumble out. Some would be half formed as if disbelief were a given, some full of de-tail that shocked yet lent an urgency to ask for more. Some like this touched in their simplicity, she too wanted to love him, only not in the way demanded.
The sun was rising higher, noises of starting performances were made, she rose to go. ” Meet me later, after the carnival, there in that red striped tent” She pointed and was gone.
I watched the carnival, aching to catch a glimpse in order to stop this being a dream. She came by twisting, turning, pirouetting, throwing and catching, yet smiling still straight to me. this was something that yet I was still to learn the name off. Crushes had happened before, I’d held hands, professed love tho’ had felt only friendship. Yet here I had met a newbest friend, a something more that others had talked of, was this what the music spoke of?
I can’t tell you of what else was there in that parade for I was gone, gone to stand in the park staring at a red striped tent.
The girls eventually came back, I lurked a little longer by a tree until the mother hen went on her way. She saw me, pulled me in and we began to kiss. This I’d practised but the practice was no match for the real thing: her lips were hot, she was breath-ing deep from the parade, a slightly salt taste came from her tongue as she held me. her breasts pushed into my as she squeezed me further. Her hands locked into mine then found my shoulders, my back, my head, her breath became shorter, there became some urgency that I couldn’t articulate or worse still do something about. She stopped, looked at me and asked if I wanted to touch her. We kissed again, but now my fingers became the focus. I could feel her heat and wet through those red shiny knickers, could feel her breasts hard and firm pushing into my hands, could understand her wanting to give, feel her knowing of companionship and more in this place and time, her eyes and mine were locked, staring into the abyss that an-other can hold when anything can and maybe about to happen.
Then the voice, mother hen come to take her away.
Still staring into me she asked me to promise to come to next weeks carnival at Lymm, I promised and she was gone, whisked away.
That week I searched for a map, indirectly begged for directions from suspicious adults and came up wanting…
The next Saturday came. And went. I didn’t know how to find Lymm or her. That spring became a summer, then autumn and finally winter. The next spring I guess she was too old, though I stopped and waited while the red striped tent filled and emptied of young girls, she wasn’t there. I didn’t stop to see the carnival though now I know there must have been clowns, fancy dress and fun for all.