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In the Tree
In the tree…that’s where I hid every Friday night. I always told my mom I was going to Benjy’s house and he did the same. But really I was going to my secret hideout in Mary Louise Chester’s front yard. That willow tree was the perfect hiding place for us. We lived in the same neighborhood but she had no idea that I even existed. My name is Quincy but everybody called me Tripp. This is because my full name is Quincy Jones Clever the third. Hence the “Tripp” like triple. I was in the 6th grade at Rooselvelt Middle School in Montgomery Alabama. Mary Louise Chester was in 11th grade and went to Lincoln High School. Ah, she was just so angelic. Her perfectly tanned skin, her tiny stomach, waist and hips. And oh those cheekbones, oh lord. Her hair looked like a mermaid’s, and her bright green eyes made her almost irresistible. And (I think) besides our age, (and height, (I was only 5’0 and she was 5’8)) was the only thing holding us back from our love. Oh, and she was dating the quarterback, making me look like a small bug, Anyway, I hid there every night that summer with Benjy and just sat and stared at her (through her CLOSED window and curtain) at her beautiful silhouette. She was so perfect. I was gonna marry her, I promise.
“Hey, why don’t you just go up to her door, ring the bell. Run back and she if she comes to the door!” I can remember Benjy saying one night.
“NOOO way man! That’s like social suicide, besides, I’m not big or fast enough to do any of that!” I replied.
“Well you’re always talkin’ about how you’ll marry her and all that junk.” Snapped Benjy.
“Dude, that’s never gonna happen.” I said with a sigh.
So we went back to watching as we sat in the tree. Her senior year went by, she won homecoming queen, and forgot all about Montgomery. I did too, until I moved to New York City, and was getting in a cab one day. As I stepped in wearing my best Armani suit, talking to some idiot in Hong Kong about a finance company, I said,
“To Central Park, please.” And looked up. Staring right at me, was Mary Lou Chester. A little chubbier than I remembered, but looking pretty good for 35. Her hair was still bleach blonde, and her cheekbones were just as defined.
“M-Ma-Mary Lou?” I said, shocked.
“QUINCY??” she remarked.
“I haven’t seen… or talked… or even thought about you in years! How are you? I see we’ve both moved to the Big City!” I practically spit.
“Ya, after high school, I uh…skipped out on college…and my parents shipped me here thinking I was going to Julliard.” she replied.
“Wow…well it’s great seeing you. Will you please take me to Central Park?”
“I’d be glad to.”
So we rode to Central Park, talking about how different our lives were. Turns out, she was just a stripper now, trying to get some extra dough by driving the taxi.
When I got to Central Park, I paid her thanked her for her service, and just like that, Mary Louise Chester was off. And for the first time in my life, I thought that I could get someone like Mary Lou. She wasn’t the princess I’d been imagining for years. And to think, all this started in that tree. Just me Benjy and the tree.