When Love Shaped Us PDF
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Cover Art by Bev Haynes
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I tried to ignore it, but love started to envelop me in the fall of 1943 while I walked to school with my cousin Cari. On that same walk, we got a glimpse of a more dangerous time than we then knew.
“But you’ve gone out with Irene before,” Caroline asserted.
“A church group trip to a college day event is not a date,” I countered.
“Chaz, you spent the whole day together and were holding hands on the bus on the way home…”
“Cari, is that such a big deal? I’ve known Irene almost as long as I’ve known you,” I protested.
“But the point is, Cous, that college day was two weeks ago, and there’s nothing more from you!”
“Nothing more…” I blurted, stopping dead on the sidewalk, my school books feeling like lead. “I know I tell you everything, but…”
“Think for a minute, you lunkhead! You were fun that day. You were a great friend to her. You were sweet. Don’t you know what that means?”
“Come on. We’ll be late for school.” And I tried to walk on, but…
“She likes you, and I understand that because I’m family. Why not accept her invitation?”
“I like her too. You know that. But a dance, Cari?”
“Sure, a dance.”
“I can’t imagine a more uncomfortable situation.”
“Half the evening you’ll just be watching Irene’s folk dance group perform.”
“But, Cari, after that, I have to dance.”
“I can get you ready for that,” Caroline said cheerily.
“Can’t I just ask her to the movies?”
“Do that too.”
Somehow I kept walking. Why couldn’t Cari let us walk to school mindlessly, as usual? It was a Monday, after all. Irene was special, but I was more embarrassed about how the friendship was developing. Why did she ask me out? If anyone more than Cari knew, I’d never hear the end of it. “Cari, if I asked her out to the movies, would Irene say yes?”
“Of course she would.”
“Even if I didn’t commit to the dance?”
“The dance isn’t until October.”
“Well, the movies it is, then.”
“You’ll ask her out, Chaz?”
Just like that, the walk to school got peaceful. Caroline could be that way in our closer-than-sibling friendship. She got what she wanted, and then shut up. I started to calm down but also noticed a new feeling of identity as Cari paired me more formally with Irene. I wondered how I could feel closer to Irene when I hadn’t even asked her to the movies. Why did Cari confirming the date idea as a good one make me feel closer to Irene? Life had too many mysteries.
We were almost to school and reached the most fun part of the trip. We walked past the air strip.