It was a light blue Ford truck, and it was in my drive way. Its pipes–glass busted out–rang loud and shook the air. It was his truck. I kept thinking to myself, “He’s really here. I can’t believe he’s really here.” I grabbed my camera and my jacket, slipped on my boots, and pushed the screen door open. It screeched and slammed closed just in time for me to get to the truck, to put my fingers on the cold silver handle of the door, and fling open the passenger side before I climbed it.
My senior year of high school, I had photography first thing in the morning. I loved the darkroom, and I loved the picture taking process, and I loved the fact that I sat next to Craig–a down-to-earth farm boy who wore Wranglers to school every day (God bless him) and who was voted most attractive in the Senior Best competition.
This was back during the time that I was still bashful, when boys made me nervous, and I could hardly sit still in my seat when Craig walked in every morning. The white t-shirt crumpled up around his arms, the dirt that was woven into his skin, the blonde hairs cascading over those white t-shirted tanned arms. The blue eyes, the short hair, and the Wranglers. Oh, the Wranglers.
When our photography teacher, Mrs. Williams, assigned us to shoot photos of animals the day before, my head dropped. I’d never had a pet, aside from my dead goldfish Suzy, and I certainly didn’t have any animals to take pictures of. I was already trying to figure out if ants and worms would be a good enough photography project. “What if we don’t have animals?” I asked.
“Find some,” Mrs. Williams said, never lifting her head from the photos on her desk.
“I got cows,” Craig smiled.
“I have cows that I take care of. You can take pictures of those. Here, give me your phone number, and I’ll call you tomorrow and we’ll go take pictures of cows,” Craig said. He slid me a piece of paper ripped from his notebook and continued rubber cementing pictures to cardboard.
“Really?” I asked. I scribbled the number down, thought about how the next day was Saturday. How I was going to spend an afternoon with Craig. How he didn’t have to waste his weekend on me.
“Sure. I’ll call ya tomorrow,” he said, his fingers touching mine as I handed him the paper–the paper that went directly into the pocket of his Wranglers.
The rest of the day, I was stoned on farmer. I don’t remember anything except wanting to get home.
Saturday came. THE Saturday. I woke up early, curled my hair, then messed it up again, because I didn’t want it to seem like I was trying too hard. I wore the jeans that made my butt look good, the make-up that made my eyes look bigger. I tried on every shirt I owned. And then I stared at the phone–the phone that never rang. Lunch time left me without an appetite, and I stared some more at the phone-the phone that never rang. My mom looked at me and told me he probably forgot.
I told myself it was okay. I prepared the plan to sneak up on birds for my animal photography assignment. Which of my friends had dogs? Did my brother count as an animal?
And then I heard the glass pipes ringing, heard the tires on gravel in my driveway, heard the truck turn off before it was in park.
I stood in the hallway bracing myself on either side. But he hadn’t called…
“He’s here,” Mom said, her worn hands pushing the curtain aside. “He’s here.”