ONE FRIEND, TWO LOVES AND A GUY BEARING FLOWERS (Part 3)
By Aurelia Blue May 10, 2011
Aurelia sat on the sands of yet another post card perfect Key West beach, the letter, that was not from Boden, fluttering in her hand. The scenery around her was breathtaking, yet she barely noticed. Her skin was deeply bronzed from a month of paradisiacal sun worship. She'd learned to surf. She’d had unscripted swims with a pod of young dolphins nearly every day. And had Unskinny Bopped in more clubs than she could count. Her companion Sabrina, the daughter of affluent friends of the family, lay beside her snoring, clearly embracing the blessings of party life.
After weeks of Aurelia's constant moping beside the telephone that never rang, her parents had encouraged her to take a sabbatical from all the summer classes, work on the farm and her job at a local restaurant, to join Sabrina and her family on their yearly pilgrimage to the keys. She'd picked up the receiver one more time before she'd left, her packed suitcase waiting by the front door, and dialed his number. A young man's voice came on the line, filling her with momentary hope, which faded as she recognized the voice of Boden's younger brother, Jud.
"Oh hey, Aurelia, no, I don't know where he is. Sorry, honey. I will leave him a note though. I can't expect he'd want to miss a call from his number one girlie. Hey, doesn't Axl Blue live out there in the cornfields by you? If you see him, would you say the Judster's been looking for him at the tracks? Avilla is going off this summer. You like fast cars, honey? Avilla is the place to be!"
"I'll do that..." Aurelia had said hanging up. Judster.
Aurelia sighed now as she returned to the letter. It was from her friend Dominic.
'Sup, girl? I've missed our breakfasts at the diner! Best five bucks I ever spent on biscuits and gravy. You work cheap girl! You should raise your rates. I got a B- for my final Gov&Econ grade! Couldn't have done it without you, Shug. I owe you, big time. Don't know what I can do for you though, since you clearly don't need me to write your current events reports, Miss Got 102%, The Highest Grade In The Class! Damn girl, why'd you even take summer school, it's not like you need to! Well I hear there are even more reports if you take it regular senior year. So maybe you, like me, just wanted to get it outa the way, so's you can party hardy senior year. SENIOR YEAR! Yeah! We're gonna fight for our right to partay! Am I right or am I right? Yeah, I'm right!
Ok. Ok. I gotta go. I have sixty acres to irrigate if I'm gonna get my ass up to Tipdango's tonight for line dancing. If you were here, girl, I'd take you wit' me, as long as you didn't get in my action, ha ha. But that's ok. 'Cuz we’re friends, right?
Sending you big hugs and kisses for wherever you want to put them. Love ya, Doom-inic the Seniorator, baby!
Aurelia couldn't help a small smile. Dominic was just that kind of guy. But if only, she lapsed back into the unhappy thoughts again, if only this letter could have been from Boden. She'd written him one a week before she'd left for Florida.
At first they were just newsy missives about summer school and how much she missed him. That she was sorry to hear band camp had been scheduled at the new middle school campus, so their paths wouldn't be crossing. Later, as the weeks wore one, she wrote pleading letters, begging him to call. Imploring him as to why he was so obviously ignoring her. Finally, in her anguish, she'd sent one final letter from Florida, taking the silver filigree friendship ring her grandparents had given her for her sixteenth birthday, off the fourth finger of her left hand. Tying a green piece of embroidery thread around it, she slid it in the envelope with her final words.
Would that I could, I would tear out my own still beating heart and place it in your cold selfish hand. Since I cannot, I am sending you my last token of fidelity. I give you this ring in the spirit of love and friendship in which is was given to me and with this emerald token, I pledge my lifelong love. Will you not do the same for me?
She'd crept out of bed and slid it in the mailbox outside the condo door in the middle of the night, afraid she'd lose her nerve and resolve by morning's light. Sabrina was waiting for her in the big bed they shared when she returned.
She smiled. Beautiful with her long blonde hair glimmering in the moonlight, she welcomed Aurelia into her embrace.
"Oh just fuck him, Raley. He doesn't deserve you," Sabrina said giving Aurelia a giant smooch on the lips.
Aurelia closed her eyes and let the sensations of being loved and held seep through her. How welcome it was to feel them again!
Sabrina had proved to be a wonderful diversion over the past few weeks. She was lively and outgoing, making friends everywhere they went, scoring them invitations to parties all over the keys. She was athletic as well, making her an ideal swimming and surfing partner. And she was outstandingly liberal with her affections with both men and women alike. Something the desperately lonely Aurelia did not underrate.
"Letter not from him, then?" Sabrina was awake now on the beach rolling over and pushing up on her elbows.
"No. From Dominic. The guy I wrote all the papers for," Aurelia said lying back on the sand.
"Oh," Sabrina said as she rubbed lotion on Aurelia's bare tummy. "Well did he pass?"
"Yep. With a B minus," Aurelia sighed.
" Not your best papers then," giggled Sabrina.
"No. My best is gone with my muse I'm afraid."
"Oh, Raley. You've got to change that."
"What the hell do you mean you have mono, Dmitri? I thought that went out with the plague," Aurelia cried into the phone.
"Apparently not, dear Deborah," Dmitri croaked into her ear. "It seems the kissing disease is still alive and well, and within me," he gave a short giggle, "I wish I'd gotten it from kissing some handsome sailor who was within me."
"Oh God, yuck, Dmitri."
"I know, sorry, my Latin love, I'm just so jealous of your month in the land of endless oceans. I can't believe you didn't have even one torrid night with a hot sailor."
"Dude! I'm taken. I can't be banging sailors, really," Aurelia sighed.
"Taken shmaken. He's gone, Deborah. We don't know why but he is. So move on."
"How? How do I do that?" Aurelia broke down in sobs. "You wont even be there with me the first day."
"Yes," Dmitri sighed. "But you can't let that stop you, beautiful Deborah. You will simply have to gloss your little tanned ass up in some Who Gives a Damn! high heels paired with a nice white dress and just strut right in there! Don't even look at him. Walk right by. Don't even let on that you know he doesn't know what the hell just hit him."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that!"
The first day of Senior year. Zero hour.
Aurelia pulled up to the school in her '73 Jeep Wagoneer and parked in the Senior lot.
"Nice car, Raley!" Dominic's voice boomed out from four spaces away. "Nice tan too, baby!"
Aurelia smiled broadly and waved as she stepped out of the car in her six inch heeled woven sandals and body hugging, white eyelet sun dress. As she passed by Dominic she couldn't help but stare at the gorgeous olive green '63 Mercury Monterey he was leaning against. It was stunning in the sparkling sunlight.
"Like what you see?" Axl Blue spoke softly as he leaned out the driver's side window.
For a moment he stared at Aurelia's long tanned legs with nearly the same intensity with which she had regarded the car. Then with just a hint of a wink, he turned back to Jud Bowdean who was in the passenger seat. Jud stared open mouthed after Aurelia as she quickly walked away.
Her heart was beating so fast she almost couldn't breathe. Was it the sight of Jud that had thrown her? Yes. Probably. That made sense, she thought.