Toughen up, but keep hold of tenderness…

Written by

Wreckless Eric – (I’d Go The) Whole Wide World

We had defeated the Japanese and he kissed me. I didn’t know him, this boy or man, but I was walking against a stream of people and he caught me and then he kissed me.

In my uniform of pure white.

His lips were thin and what little of them I could feel was broke; prickly leafs of skin itching the fall underneath my bottom lip, the thicker of the two. And he was cigarette air, I swear, something I didn’t much appreciate as I despised men who smoked, much like I despised the Japanese – although I had never met a Japanese man and maybe they didn’t smoke – but I must be kind, it was fresh smoke and certainly not of the stale variety. Fresh smoke I could embrace. Fresh smoke reminded me of my very own father and the stands we would sit on for home run filled baseball games. Men and me and air of new smoke and one of few times my own father would smile. Other girls would gather at the bottom of the stand and play with the dolls that our mothers had packed along with the sandwiches that were never eaten, but I sat and watched him smile. I saw Joe DiMaggio during the time of his hitting streak. Later it proved that he liked blonds, which didn’t much bother me as I never fully liked the look of that boy anyway.

When he ended, relieving his clasp on my stomach, he stood me upright and left, turned back once a few yards of distance had birthed between us and smiled for a moment, somewhat flickering, overbite and all, put his hand to his mouth and turned away again. I suppose I should have been upset that he kissed me, upset that he took me in the way he did. I wasn’t his and he most certainly was not mine, but he fought for me, didn’t he? “Thank you, darlin’,” he had whispered. What’s a kiss when he fought for me? What was his name? He did smile. He did fight.

[Rest in peace, Edith Shain, who may be one half of such an iconic image, but shines the brightest. And the sound? Buy the Greatest Stiffs and take it all in.]

One Response to “Toughen up, but keep hold of tenderness…”

  1. Zehan says:

    The way you weren’t upset that he embraced you in that manner engenders warmth within me. His gratitude pleases me.

    I can’t help but smile a gentle smile.

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