I grabbed the dog and walked down to the corner market deli. The shagginess and unruly nature of my dog remind me of my youth. No one would want him or me then. The morning air freshened as I sat in front of the market with coffee and paper.

A small article on the entertainment page caught my eye, “Jack Ely Dies.” The article went on, “Ely a member of Kingman, famous for singing Louie Louie…” Our old high school song, I thought. It was sung at every football game and dance. The memory threw me back to the late sixties and my high school years. Awkward and an outcast, they were long years for me. 

I thought of Anne Farmer. Her beauty gave her a pass to the in-crowd. Dating upper class-men who had fast cars and faster ways, the girls in that group had nothing to do with outcasts like me. Anne was different. She had a type of beauty that earthiness cast and a warm smile. She always took time to say hello to me. I knew not why, but it helped me find my way through those times.

Shortly after graduation, things all changed. I stupidly had gotten married. Anne got pregnant and had a child by one of the wild ones. A single mother, her parents scraped together enough money to rent a simple home, with a picket fence, in the center of town. I had driven by one day and saw her on the porch. I stopped to talk, maybe needing the warmth of her smile and way again.  The house stood out in town like a place to display a girl gone wrong. I felt sorry for her. We were headed in opposite directions, it seemed. Me to college and a good life. Anne risking being forever caught in time and that town. I found myself stopping by once in a while to see she had everything, groceries and all. Then we lost touch for a time. Years went by and I had found success, but not in my first marriage. It ended badly.

I looked up and stopped reminiscing, folding up the paper. I did not want to think of those days anymore. I started walking, but paused, my mind again drifting back to the little home where Anne lived and the small scrubby town we grew up in. My shaggy mutt pulled at the leash anxious to move on. 

I started walking and turned the corner toward home where Anne would be waiting for me.

David Young