Indeed, I was in Craig’s blue Ford, driving down Township Road 15 to a place I couldn’t locate now if you forced me. I wasn’t paying attention to the turns or the signs–just watching Craig’s hand shift confidently from one gear to the next. The big tires made for a bouncy, noisy ride, but I didn’t care.
“I didn’t think you were coming,” I yelled above everything.
“I know where you live. Figured I’d just stop by. Had a busy morning,” he smiled.
“Works for me.” I settled back, tried to watch the farmland go by, but caught myself sneaking glances at his hands. I must have been staring adoringly when we bounced off the road and into a field. I put my hand to the ceiling to balance myself, and Craig laughed.
We stepped out, me into a giant pile of mud, and walked through the fence connected to a big red barn. There were brown and white cows everywhere.
Now, I’m kind of afraid of cows. I don’t know why, and I’m not sure why I forgot this when I agreed to shoot photographs of said cows, but it hit me. I was standing back pretty far, snapping pictures while Craig kicked dirt clods, and he looked at me and said, “You can get closer. They won’t hurt you.”
“Only to the baby ones. I’m not going near the big ones.”
“Ok. Let me try to get the little ones to look at you. So Craig jogged over in his Wranglers and yellow sweatshirt, and I knew I had an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I had to do it.
He bent over to turn the tiny cows toward me, so that I might take an adorable picture, and I obliged. But at the last second, I shifted away from the cow’s face to focus on the Wrangler patch on Craig’s back pocket. I snapped picture after picture when he wasn’t looking, and then I shot the cows when he was. I couldn’t stop myself.
When it was over, we got back into the truck, Craig took me home, told me he’d see me Monday in class, and then he disappeared.
That Monday, it just so happened that Craig and I were selected to go into the darkroom together to develop our pictures. We were only preparing the negatives, and I must have used a whole roll. Craig, on the other hand, must not have. He finished developing his and went back to the classroom.
When I finished mine, I was thinking of anything I could say to him so I didn’t feel so giddy about the weekend. When I got back into the classroom, I sat down next to him, threw my sleeve of negatives on the table in front of him, and asked, “Wanna see your cows?”
Craig smiled and nodded. I looked at his stubble as he held the negatives up to the light and scanned through each square. He smirked and handed them back to me and said, “Those are nice. But I couldn’t help but notice something…”
“What?” I asked.
“There’s an awful lot of my ass on there!” he said so loud that our entire class heard.
I’m sure I turned 300 shades of red, but I smiled. “Well, you were, you know, trying to get the little cow to turn around.”
“Uh huh. Right,” he smiled even bigger and shook his head. “Gonna blow one up into an 8 by 10?”
“What would I do with an 8 by 10 of your ass?” I asked.
“I don’t know! You took the pictures.”
But I did make an 8 by 10, and I hung it on my closet door all the way through college, and somewhere in my basement, that photo still exists.
To Alicia, Craig’s lovely wife: I apologize for my silly crush. 🙂 He’s a lucky man to have you!