Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Aqua Mustang 94 – BRONZE GIRL
And I was thinking maybe I was being a little ridiculous. I had heard that almost all young people who did well in debating had this thought that one day they would be President. Actually I had dismissed what I had heard as having nothing to do with me, just something for silly people, many of whom were social outcasts, as I had so recently been myself. And so I when I was15 I did dare to think that this would lead to the Presidency one day, and I was also sure that I was the only one who had thought this realistically. And something was out of control, for I was surely the only one who felt a surge of sexual longing when he thought of how well he was doing at winning arguments.
Ken Kaplan and I won the new England championship in the annual high school debating tournament at Boston University – my first bit victory and I was two years younger than Ken and my opponents. We came back in a school van late at night with a trophy so big it would tower over the pitiful second and third place minor sports trophies that were all my former tormenters at the little boarding school could get. And then I had this surge of sexual feeling while thinking at night about this big trophy, and not just because it was topped with an abstracted but also very clear young bronze woman with no clothes on who was holding a bronze laurel wreath high above her lovely head?
Well I couldn’t tell anyone, but I probably was going to be President. I would even go to law school so that I could go into politics prepared. Strangely the law school part set well with the family. They did not know the rest. I would be a lawyer and I would go to the top. No matter that the poems of Wordsworth moved me more than any good arguments.
It was in the summer after the first big win that I met Kitty at a swimming place beside a Waspily rustic golf course in the mountains. That summer was the time our summer gang was coming together. We had a sort of clubhouse, for we refurbished the old Poole Playhouse – which in what our elders described as better times had been a place for a amateur theatricals and quite formal dances with orchestras. A place covered with brown wooden shingles that had no lower class slickness to it. It was falling apart now, though the dances were so recent I could remember seeing the preparations for one when I was six and too young to stay up for it. Right here in the present there were still anachronistic (a recently learned word) round cardboard containers of cornmeal which could be spread on the smooth floor to make it even smoother for the dancers.
We replaced panes of glass on the French doors that circled the Playhouse on three sides. Nana hired a carpenter to replace some rotting boards on the circular terrace those doors opened out on. And soon we were in the world of the moment, not the world of our forbears that the older people who were forever talking about how things in the past were so much better than anything would ever be again. We did not have fancy dances with orchestras in this new version of the Playhouse. What we had was a portable phonograph playing slow songs to which you could dance in a way no one ever had before us, it seemed. Dance with the girl pressed against you, feel her, kiss her, be kissed back, move you hands way down on her backside, hardly moving your feet, pulling her up to you in the dark, and she reaching up, one hand on my shoulder, the other touching the back of my neck, which I felt in my groin, pulling herself up. I loved her like a lover in fiction, and also I wanted my life to be as opened ended as the lives of my family members were closed. And anyway, who could be trusted? Our feet hardly moved, so we had no need for the cornmeal from a fabled time that was not our time.
And it seemed to me there was a clear link between my winning in debating and the fact that now girls seemed to like me. A link not between my success at secondary school debating and my chance for being President, but rather a link between my having the better arguments on the debate circuit and now, just afterwards, me, so recently a near complete outcast in school and family, me now necking with the most appealing girl I had ever seen.