Deacon had been next door and had seen the whole thing. He rushed over and helped me off the ground. At first he looked terrified, his face all bunched up with worry until he saw that I was fine. Nothing hurt, really, except my pride. Just a little road rash. I was a tough kid and had experienced far worse falls. When he saw that I was okay, his face broke out into the most electrifying smile I’d ever seen. “You scared the hell out of me,” he’d said.
All I could do was stare at that magnificent white smile. My other crush was a distant memory. Deacon had consumed my thoughts thereafter.
Every day I would sit in my yard and watch him. Mostly from my tree house because I liked the bird’s eye view. He had an amazing body and was always out in the yard working without a shirt on or washing his car. He had an old muscle car back then and was in love with it. He would wash and wax it several times a week.
I found all the different places in my house to watch him from. In the summer, when it was either too boring or too hot to be outside, I would sit in my house with the windows open, waiting to hear the creak of hinges whenever his screen door would open. I would then find any excuse to go outside. I even volunteered to weed my mom’s garden despite all the earthworms crawling around because it was right next to the shrubs where he parked his car.
I would wear the skimpiest shorts I could find and a low cut top even though I didn’t have any boobs to speak of at the time. While I was watering the garden, I made sure to get my shirt wet so my bra would show through.
I was just a kid so Deacon never noticed me despite my desperate attempts. To try and get his attention, I even went as far as going trick-or-treating at his house dressed as a sexy nurse hoping he would finally notice me. I was all knobby knees and straight lines. My makeup was on dark and thick. I thought I was so mature, but thinking back, I probably looked like the Bride of Chucky.
While at the door of Sam’s house, him standing in the doorway with his bowl of candy, some jerk kid came up beside me and pointed out that nurses wore scrubs and my costume was all wrong. Deacon had laughed without looking at me and dropped a Snickers bar in my jack-o-lantern bucket. That was five years ago and I still have the wrapper from that candy bar. I’d kept it as a souvenir. It’s kind of pathetic when I think about it.
Soon after that he met someone. I don’t remember her name but I’ll never forget how jealous I was when I first saw her. It was on a weekend. I’d passed up an invitation from my friends to go see a movie so that I could wait up to see Deacon. He was out late, which wasn’t normal for him. It was almost one in the morning when his car finally pulled into the driveway. He opened the passenger side door and my stomach clenched, and I felt sick. The woman who got out was gorgeous and curvy. Two things I definitely was not back then. They went inside his house and I cried myself to sleep that night.
It wasn’t long after that that they wed and moved away. The rest is history.
I feel the sting of that night like it’s yesterday, all those old emotions rushing back to me. I watch as he takes his child out of the car seat. I want to say hello, but he probably doesn’t remember me. It would just make things awkward and I would have to explain who I was when the look of confusion crossed his face. I’ve changed quite a bit since the last time we crossed paths. I’m a few inches taller. I’ve grown out my blond hair, which once was a bob. Now it reaches to the middle of my back. The glasses I once wore have been exchanged for contact lenses. My hips and breasts have filled out, my A cups are now Cs. Gone is the flat chest I once loathed.
I was worried there for a while. Afraid my body would never develop. Luckily, when I turned seventeen, it was like someone dunked me in Miracle Grow. Now, at eighteen, I finally look like the woman I’ve always wanted to be. The kind of woman that makes men stop in their tracks just to watch me walk by.
Maybe Deacon will notice me now.
I quickly put that thought out of my mind. He’s a married man, a father, and I’m not a home wrecker.
With a sigh, I watch him and his child disappear into his brother’s house.
“You can look now,” I tell Clara.
All excited, she turns to find an empty yard next door with no Deacon and no baby.
“You’re such a jerk,” she says.
I smile and take the paper inside for my mom.
I drop the wet newspaper down on the kitchen table where my mom is having her morning coffee. She’s been making breakfast, and the room smells of cinnamon.
“Sorry. I tried to save it before it got soaked,” I say.
She frowns and picks it up with two fingers. Gray droplets fall from the paper and pool on her placemat.