Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lime Green Sneakers

On May 24th, I posted the first of two short prose pieces I wrote at a New York Writers Coalition workshop. I promised that the second piece would go up on the blog at some point, so here it is. Again, it's nothing polished, but for a piece written in 15 minutes, I'm satisfied.

The second prompt was to take something we heard while we were all sharing our first pieces and to use that, somehow, in our second piece. I chose the image of lime green shoes. Here is what I wrote:

His sneakers were the giveaway, how I knew he was cool. Lime green. With yellow laces.

Otherwise, he looked perfectly normal: stonewashed jeans, plaid shirt, silver watch (although he wore it with the face turned inside, so it rested against the inside of his wrist . . . but I didn't notice that until later).

I had never dated a non-Jewish guy. A "goy" as my sister would say. For a while I just figured non-Jewish guys weren't into me; after all, it takes a pretty mature guy to date a girl who won't wear short sleeves or pants. And let's face it: how many mature sixteen year old non-Jewish guys are there?

With Kevin, though, I couldn't pretend he wasn't into me. He put notes in my locker and told all my friends. He sent me flowers, and left me chocolates on Valentine's Day. It was kind of intimidating. But like I said, he wasn't Jewish. Which is why I turned him down. The first time.

The second time, I think I was just intimidated. Intimidated by those shoes, intimidated by the three friends standing behind him and the two standing behind me. I guess I just wimped out, because at that point, I really did want to try it, try dating this non-Jewish boy. Kevin.

And then, finally, we were on a date. By accident. Sort of.

His friends went to Applebee's the same night as my friends went to Applebees, and we all ended up at back-to-back booths. And then the boys started coming over, and stealing nachos, and licking the salt off of their fingers, and drinking right out of our straws. Mara and Caitlyn chased them back to their booth, but of course they had to linger, and steal a chicken wing just to "get back at them," and dip it in ranch dressing, once, twice, bitten part and all. Tammy and I were left alone at our table, crunching ice from our empty Cokes and wiping up chip fragments with the pads of our fingers. Then Tammy went to the bathroom, and the next thing I knew, Kevin was there, sliding into the booth next to me. He stopped about a foot away, and then inched closer and closer until his thigh almost touched mine.

"Why won't you go out with me?" his voice vibrated against my ear. I stared at my lap and saw a flash of lime green beneath the table.

"Just once," I told him. "We can go out one time. And you have to meet my mother first."

That's how it began, this affair with a non-Jewish boy. Kevin.

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