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A Single Touch To My Eternal Pear Tree
As I pranced my way through the front entrance, an immediate whiff of burning grease covered the inner layer of my nostrils, giving me a vital craving for something fried. As my friends stumbled behind me, with amusing comments, and hysterical laughter, they pushed me aside, racing to be the first one to make their orders. The Latino, middle-aged, cashier leaned over the counter. He glanced around the room at the few other customers eating orderly at their preferred tables; then softly asked, in a contemptuous manner, what they’d like to order. My friends glanced at one another, exchanging ironic looks. One stepped forward, looked the cashier straight in the eye with the most solemn expression and spoke “one pickle please”. The single friend stayed stern and poised, fighting the smirk that was building up beneath his lips. The cashier leaned back into one of his employees and repeated the boys order to him. He then asked the worker to hand him a pickle. The employee smiled and happily retrieved the boys order. The cashier than took the pickle that was dripping of pickle juice, and aggressively tossed it into my group of friends. The girls in the group shrieked, while the boys just stepped back and laughed while shoving each other toward the wet pickle, which was lying contently on the ground. The cashier laughed for a brief second along with the rest of his staff; but than quickly, in a firm voice, told my friends to quit messing around, or he’d need to ask them to leave. My friends quickly got themselves together, put their jokes aside, and ordered their dinners without a single mocking tone in their speech. As I sat in the distance I glimpsed around the room to see all of the annoyed expressions, and judgmental stares of the other customers; and for some odd reason, felt a sense of accomplishment. Being young and obnoxious was my friends and my forte. Tasty Dog was often the victim, to our juvenile behavior.
We all ordered our food, and took our trays back to our chosen tables. We split ourselves up between two booths against the far right wall. The booths consisted of two worn red plastic benches on either side of a stained, beige table. Our dinner consisted of little eating, but mostly throwing of French fries, and spitting of spitballs. We found fun in being dumb, and gained attention for being reckless. Our fuel was our relentless ability to have an endless amount of immaturity. We were thirteen and found that everything that we were told was wrong, was right; and that everything that’s suppose to be dangerous, or against the rules, was the most fun. As we finished dinner we left the several dozen fries and spitballs around the table, thinking we were too proud to clean them up. We then all moved from the inside of Tasty Dog to the outside area because they were closing. We then sat on the white picnic tables right outside the main entrance, waiting for our parents to pick us up.
The weather was gloomy and frigid. There was a freezing breeze that felt as if it was piercing my cheeks every time it struck my face. As my friends got picked up, I prayed my parents would be the next ones to drive up the parking lot, so I could escape the paralyzing wind. One by one my friends left, but I was still there. I quickly glanced around Lake Street seeing if any stores, or restaurants were open for me to wait in, but they were all dark. Everything was closed so I had no choice but to keep waiting. A few more minutes passed, and it was nearly eleven so I decided to call my parents; but no one answered. I was trying so hard not to admit to myself that I had to walk home, but I soon came to realize that I had no other choice. I stood up, and started to walk away from the picnic table, when I saw him.
He was Colin C. I met him that year in health class, and we ended up growing very fond of each other very fast. He was dark skinned, with a chiseled face, that was so dimensional that it made it hard for any girl not to fancy him. His eyes were nearly black, and his lips were large, but not at all overwhelming to the rest of his features. Colin was 6’3” and played basketball, and football, so he was perfectly toned. He was a brutally honest guy with all the right intentions. He was fun, driven, but most of all, respectful. He grew up in a large family, in River Forest, where respect was highly enforced. He always treated me as well as a guy our age could; he made me feel comfortable and secure, which no other boy before him had ever done. I liked him, but I’d never been with anyone before who went so out of their way to show me how much they cared for me; nor have I ever been so engaged with someone. I was still an innocent, and was yet to receive any form of affection beyond a hug from a boy, but didn’t see myself any differently from it. I had no urge to kiss anyone, nor no wanting to be kissed. I was yet to have my sensual awakening and cared nothing of it.
As Colin approached me, my heart sank deeper into my chest. He looked at me with a smile, stretched from ear-to-ear, and handed me a coat he had draped over his arm. I smiled nervously, and accepted the coat while he teased me with his eyes. As I put on the coat I asked how he knew I was here, he answered saying he lived across the street, and was entering his apartment complex when saw me outside Tasty Dog alone. He thought I was “under dressed”, so he went upstairs to his apartment to get me a jacket before he came over to see me. I immediately turned bright red and tried to hide my embarrassment. He saw my discomfort and moved closer to me to rap his arms around me as he asked me if he could walk me home. I pulled my head back from his chest, and nodded in a relieved manner. He then moved his hands from my waist, to my shoulders, to which he rubbed gently in a warming behavior; as I giggled softly to myself. He then stepped back from me, and let me lead the way to my house.
As we walked toward my house we talked about our day. I felt lame telling him about my night consisting of pickles and spitballs, but I felt inclined to tell him anyways. He seemed to find it humorous, which helped ease the embarrassment. We soon grew bored of talking about our days, so Colin began to talk about us. I don’t normally enjoy talking to guys I like about my feelings toward them, but with Colin it was easy. He looked at me with his dark eyes, and told me how much I meant to him. It was the first time I ever saw him nervous. He stared at me, desperately wanting a response. I softly smiled, and told him I liked him as well. His eyes began to sparkle as I looked into them, and his skin started to glow. He then reached over to my arm and gently slid his figure tips down my forearm to my hand where he extended his fingers and intertwined my fingers between his. A shock of happiness rushed through my hand, extending to every nook-and-cranny of my body. As if my blood supply was replaced with helium that was trying desperately to lift my body from the ground, but was anchored by gravity. I felt something more than a touch at that moment, I felt something significantly greater. I was over whelmed with curiosity, and drowned with desires. The hairs on my neck spiked up in astonishment, as my heart grew weak of satisfaction. I was suddenly introduced to a whole new side of myself that I had never experienced before. I found excitement in affection, and I was suddenly intrigued by the feelings that lead to pleasure. My sensual development had been triggered within me; all because of a single touch.
That night, Colin held my hand all the way to my doorstep. I desperately wanted to kiss him that night, but the concept and desire of it all was still new to me. I thanked him for walking me home, gave him a hug, then pulled away from him prepared to turn around and go inside to bed; but he instead leaned in closer to me, placed his forehead against mine, and kissed me. It was soft, short, and sweet, and I wouldn’t have asked for anything more. A simple peck was all I needed to truly ensure that I was ready to embrace this next step of my life. I knew this didn’t make me a woman, but it made me a small step closer to becoming one. As he pulled away, he said goodnight, and released me from his tender arms. I then turned around went inside and realized I was still smiling when I was walking up to my room. That was definitely one of my top-five-nights ever, because I got my first kiss, but mostly, because I was introduced to this completely new concept of desire.
My first experience of feeling the urges and curiosity, of sensuality, very much reminded me of Janie’s sensual awakening, in the book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. All though our awakenings are both very different, the emotions behind them, and the unexpected aspects of both, are very similar. Janie’s sensuality was triggered by imaginative observations, of a blossoming, pear tree; while mine was triggered by a simple affectionate gesture, as effortless as a touch from one person to another. Janie’s first occurrence of sensual urges was very emotional and complex, as well as memorable and exciting. Her awakening was unique and unexpected, and left her curious, but not necessarily ready.
The novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, by Nora Zeil Hurston, is a story built around the experiences of a woman’s enduring journey to find love, embrace love, as well as, overcome love. The story is framed by a conversation Janie, an attractive middle-aged black woman, is having with her good friend Pheoby, after abruptly coming back to town. The conversation consists of her doings while she was away. We learn much about Janie through her story: her struggle to find happiness, and independence with men, as well as security, and admiration. Janie’s first two marriages were highly influenced by her grandmother, who believed wealth, power, and ambition were the right husband material for Janie. Both marriages failed. Janie soon meets Tea Cake, a much younger man, who treats her the way she’s always wanted a man to treat her. Tea Cake and Janie fall very much in love and get married. Their marriage is passionate and pure, but beyond everything else, loyal. Their love comes to an unexpected end when Tea Cake is bit by a rabid dog during a hurricane, and Janie is forced to kill the love of her life to save her own. The book is captivating, and truly embraces life for what it is.
First, Janie experienced her sensual awakening very early on in the book. As I said before, Janie’s first occurrence with sensuality was emotional and complex. At the time Janie was stretched out beneath a pear tree, watching the buds blossom. “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a blossom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight” (11) in this quote you can really get a good taste of Janie’s thoughts, and you can tell that she is being very observant and detailed. Her thoughts are orderly, and specific, which shows how complex her process of thinking and appreciating is. Everything that she is seeing, between the bees and the flowers, or sister-calyxes, is emotionally affecting her because she is seeing it in a more intimate perspective. She believes that she is seeing something magical, happening right before her eyes, and its giving her a sense of longing; for example when Janie “felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid” (11) after she saw the bee pollinate the flower. In the text you get this feeling that what she is seeing is also what she is feeling, as well as wanting. When Colin held my hand, my head was overflowing with complex thoughts and feelings, and it did make it hard for me to contemplate all of them.
Second, Janie’s first sexual urges were memorable and exciting, because it’s this completely new way at looking at your self, and others. When the change suddenly happens it can be odd and strange, but in Janie’s case, I’d say she was rather excited about it. “Looking, waiting, breathing short with impatience. Waiting for the world to be made” (11), this quote is showing how exhilarated she was after looking at, and embracing, the pear tree. She was so ecstatic about this new curiosity, of love and sexuality, that she couldn’t even wait to experience it, or see it, again. She almost saw sensuality as the key to life, and that with it, life would move on and become even more beautiful, which made her eager. Moments that are so crucial in a woman’s life, like this one, are ones that are hard to forget. Through out the rest of the book, where Janie matures and grows older, she still relates back to the pear tree several times.
Third, Janie was not expecting to suddenly have these sexual urges; they were completely unexpected, and I don’t think she ever thought that looking at a pear tree bloom would make her more infatuated with love, and the perks that go along with it. In the book it says Janie “spent most of the day under the blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree” (10). Janie had no intentions of gaining any sense of desire under that tree. She spent so much time under it because she wanted to get time away from her chores. In almost all of woman’s awakenings, including my own and Janie’s, I do feel that they are all different, and tend to be very unexpected. I think they occur when you experience a certain level of affection, or if you witness a certain level of affection, at a certain age in your life.
Last, although your sensual awakening leaves you curious, it doesn’t leave you ready to necessarily be in love and have sex. Your first occurrence of sensuality is mostly just you being aware of sex and love and just being curious about it. It begins your development down that road, but the road is very long and far. The sense of readiness to have sex is based off of your experience, and your awareness, of your own sensuality and how comfortable you are with it. Although Janie immediately kissed Johnny Taylor after she was done admiring the pear tree, she did it solely off of curiosity and excitement. She later goes on to tell her grandmother, who saw her kissing Johnny, that “Ah ain’t no real ‘oman yet.” (12), which tells us that Janie knows she has plenty more to experience, and plenty of time to experience it. Although, her grandmother sees it other wise, and immediately marries her off. I do feel that Janie’s intentions were innocent and not at all meant to be perceived as radical; which I could also easily say for myself.
In conclusion, I can relate much to Janie and her experience with her sensual awakening, and I’m sure other woman can as well. The urges of sexuality are a daily notion for both men and women, but the first time a woman feels such a desire, is very special to her. It is something new, and delicate; that leaves you very surprised, but aware. Although, Janie’s and my sensual awakening was purely curiosity; it left us excited, and reborn, with a new outlook on life, and what it has to offer. Janie’s and my sensual awakening’s were simply, a single touch, to our eternal pear trees.