Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chapter 4 - If You Don’t Move They Can’t See You

My friend George lived with his family in a secluded area just on the other side of the mountain that my house was near. To get to George’s house I had to drive my VW one mile west to the river, then take a right turn, drive up the river for about five minutes, then take another right turn heading more or less back towards where I started from. As the crow flies, our houses were probably only one or two miles apart, but there was a mountain between us.

About two minutes further up the road from George’s house there was a beautiful exclusive country club with an 18 hole golf course and an unbelievable club house. By exclusive, I mean they didn’t allow Jews to be members. Growing up Jewish, I was usually aware of these kinds of places in Harrisburg and I did my best to “get even” with these establishments whenever I had to opportunity.

Every now and then, the private school I attended would have some sort of event, like a dance, a prom or a fund-raiser, and instead of always holding the event at the school, sometimes it was held at this country club. Here we were, all of us privileged high school students, with their dates, all dressed up, going to a party at this country club, driving Cadillacs and Lincolns.

In my senior class, with a total of only 13 students, three of us were Jewish – one other boy and one girl. I guess that’s a higher than average percentage of Jews to non-Jews, but you know the stereotype – Jews educate their children so they can run the world one day.

One evening I find myself at this country club, at a dance event for students of my private school. I can’t remember what the event was for, but I do remember wandering away from the dance, with the other Jewish boy, and we peed all over the couches and chairs in the room where these anti-Semites played cards. We put salt on potted plants wherever we found them. We stuffed whole toilet paper rolls into the toilets, and we loosened all of the salt and pepper shaker tops in one of the restaurants. We were doing our small part to avenge the Jews of Harrisburg.

Occasionally, I would spend the night at George’s house. George had a Volkswagen too, and he was quite mechanically inclined. On a regular basis, he would take the entire motor out of his car and carry it upstairs to his bedroom to play with it. The carpet in his room used to be a pretty green color, but you’d never know it. Now it was black from all of the oil he spilled on that rug. George’s father owned a bank, and they were very classy people. I couldn’t understand why it was alright with his parents that George was allowed to turn his bedroom into a garage, but they did.

George’s next door neighbor, a girl named, Willa, was one of the most beautiful girls in the world. She had blond hair and green eyes, and her father was never home. He was some kind of big-shot engineer, and he designed bridges that were all over the world. Willa’s mother, whom I referred to as “Casper,” was an alcoholic, and crazy. Whenever I would be in Willa’s house, Casper would pretend she was invisible. She actually thought that if she remained quiet, Willa and I wouldn’t notice that she was in the room with us. I think, from a very early age, Willa was brought up to think that her mother was truly invisible, because Willa could do anything and say anything and it got absolutely no reaction from Casper.

One Friday night, I stayed at George’s house and while he was working on his motor, I walked the half-mile or so over to Willa’s house. It was late April, and the weather was wonderful. It was around 10 PM and it was pitch dark outside. I had to walk along a small path that had been created in the forest between George’s house and Willa’s house. I could see the lights from Willa’s house, but the walk was creepy. When I got closer to Willa’s, I could see the light through her upstairs bedroom window, and I threw a small pebble at the glass. She looked outside, and seeing me, she opened her window and said “Come on up!”

I entered Willa’s house by walking through the front door. There sat Casper, drink in hand. I looked over at her as if to acknowledge that she was there, but she simply cringed as if to make herself smaller and more invisible. So pretending I didn’t see her, I went upstairs to see Willa.

I had known Willa for a few years, but we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. Not that I didn’t want to be her boyfriend, but her beauty was so intimidating that I never had the nerve to ask her out on a date. We were very good friends, but that was all. For all I know, she may have wondered why I never tried to kiss her, but I never did. Until this night.

Willa’s upstairs bedroom had a French door leading outside to a balcony about 10 feet deep by 20 feet wide. We could sit out there with the lights off and listen to the owls. It was very romantic. In reality, while listening to the birds, I so much wanted to kiss Willa and tell her how I felt about her, but the only words that were able to come from my mouth were things like, “Boy, it’s really dark” or “I saw your Mom downstairs.”

After a few minutes, Willa suggested we go for a bicycle ride. I reminded her that it was late at night and pitch dark. She responded with, “that’s what makes it fun!”

Willa’s driveway was about a mile long, downhill all the way to the main road, which is no main road at all. It’s the same little country road that leads to George’s house, and that road didn’t have more than 10 cars a day on it. It’s the ONLY road, and on days in the winter when there was a heavy snowfall, George would not be able to make it to school.

Willa and I walked downstairs, pretended we didn’t see Casper, and went into the five-car garage. There were several bikes there, and we each hopped on one and began the ride down the hilly driveway in the dark. There was just enough starlight reflecting off the driveway that we could see the pavement and not ride off into a tree.

We got down to the road in no time, and Willa said she didn’t feel like riding back up the hill yet. “Let’s ride over to the country club,” she said as she began to pedal down the road past George’s driveway and beyond to the country club. I would do just about anything to spend time alone with Willa, so I followed after her like a puppy dog.

We arrived at the entrance to the country club within a few minutes. All of the lights were off except for a few that dimly lit up the empty parking lot. Willa didn’t stop at the front gate, but rode right through it and went past the clubhouse toward the golf course. She said she liked to ride around the golf course in the dark, and took off on her bike, riding on the golf cart path. She said we needed to keep as quiet as possible, and I took off right behind her.

It was exhilarating! I was cruising a bicycle, in the pitch dark, on the golf cart path at the most exclusive country club around with the world’s most beautiful girl. All you could hear were crickets, owls, frogs and the occasional “fwap fwap fwap fwap” of a sprinkler system watering some part of the golf course.

By now our eyes were adjusted to the low light level, and even though the concrete golf cart path was unlit, it was reflecting starlight like the yellow brick road for us.

After we had been riding for a few minutes, we stopped and walked our bikes over to one of the tees, a part of the golf course where people set up their ball to begin playing that hole. Here on the tee, our vision was not like what is was on the cart path, and we could barely see each other. We lay on the ground, looking up at the stars, and we could see gazillions of them. The night was the blackest I’d ever seen, and the stars were twinkling like Christmas tree lights. It was so romantic, and I began to reach over to Willa to hold her and tell her how I secretly felt about her.

But before I could say anything, Willa stood up and whispered, “if you want to talk, you have to whisper.” I asked her why and she told me that she rides her bike here all the time late at night and that there were two men who worked on the sprinkler system at night. They ride around on a golf cart, making sure the system worked correctly. “They have never seen me, but I‘ve them many times.”

I lost my opportunity to hold her, but as she pedaled away down the cart path in the dark, I figured I’d have another opportunity soon.
I caught up with her and we began riding side by side. We came upon a pond that was barely visible in the dark. I think we were at the sixth tee. When driving your ball off the tee, one had to get the ball to soar over this hazard or risk losing your ball in the water. Willa stopped her bike on the pavement, then began pushing her bike across the grass the toward the pond that was about 150 yards away.

When we got to the edge of the pond it was very hard to see anything. There was no cart path to reflect the starlight. But the pond reflected the stars, and we sat by that pond, whispering and enjoying each other’s company. Before I could muster up the courage to profess my love to Willa, she kissed me right on the lips and stuck her tongue into my mouth! I kissed her back, and I immediately felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders.

She was the first one to speak, asking me why I had never kissed her before. I told her that I’ve wanted to kiss her a thousand times, but that I was afraid she would spurn me or laugh at me. With that, she kissed me again, then said, “Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes when I ride my bike here in the dark, I take off all my clothes and ride naked!” And with that, she began to pull her sweater over her head.

I just froze there, thinking, “Is she going to take all of her clothes off now?!?” I thought I was going to die with excitement. In my mind I’m thinking that Willa, who just French kissed me, who is probably now my girlfriend, is now going to take off all of her clothes!

Within seconds, the girl that I’ve had a crush on for years, a girl that I’ve always thought was the most beautiful girl in the world, was completely naked except for her tennis shoes and she was standing five feet away from me.

Too bad I couldn’t see her! I could make out her profile if she stood between me and the pond, but if the pond weren’t there, I wouldn’t even know that Willa was, either.

She giggled, “let’s ride naked!” and hopped on her bike, waiting for me to join her. I took off all of my clothes, too, except my sneakers and socks, and got on my bike. Leaving our clothes by the side of that pond, we pedaled back toward the cart path. I had done a lot of fun and crazy things so far in my 17-year-long existence on planet Earth, but this night had to take the cake.

We rode around that golf course for a couple of hours, acting like a naked couple in love, when all of a sudden we spotted the two men in their golf cart. They were no less than 100 feet away from us, and one of them had a flashlight.

One of the men shouted to the other, “hey Clyde, did you hear that??” and shined the light toward our direction. Willa whispered, “don’t move a muscle and they won’t be able to see you.” I was freaking out. I could see my name in tomorrow’s local newspaper: son of prominent area business man arrested for indecent exposure! But I did what Willa suggested – I froze.

Clyde shined his flashlight in our direction for a moment but his light never landed directly on either of us, and the men never saw us. We stood there, frozen, for about three of the longest minutes of my life. Then the men finished their work at this spot, got into their golf cart and began to drive off. As they drove away, I began to laugh so hard that Willa put her hand over my mouth to muffle my laughter. I kissed her hand, and then her lips, and she said, “come on, follow me!”

We could see the men on their golf cart when they were moving. When the cart stopped we couldn’t see it any longer, but once it started moving again, we were able to make it out in the dark. Willa wanted to follow the men from a safe distance and began to pedal her bike down the cart path.

By now, I had come up with a much better idea than shadowing Clyde and his fellow irrigation worker. I wanted to make out with Willa and rub my naked body all over hers. So we returned to an isolated spot we had cycled past several times earlier, got off our bikes and laid down on the soft grass. We were kissing and petting and loving each other, when all of a sudden the sprinklers in that area came on, going fwap fwap fwap and we got drenched within seconds. We jumped up to run, and as soon as we stood up, Clyde hit us from about 100 feet away with his flashlight!

“Hey you two!!” he yelled.

I hollered to Willa, “follow me!” and hopped onto my bike. Willa stayed right with me, and we rode as fast as possible on the cart path back into the bowels of that golf course. We could ride much faster on the cart path than Clyde’s electric golf cart could go, and we were soon out of reach of their flashlight. They were not far behind us, but all we had to do was quickly get off the cart path and stand behind one of the many trees that dotted the golf course. We both stood completely still, naked, and watched them drive past where we were frozen like a statue, trying to catch us. We played cat and mouse with them for a half hour while trying to make it back to the pond where we could put our clothes back on. We were both giddy from laughing so hard and from the endorphins that must have been released during the many chase episodes.

When we finally arrived back at the pond our clothes were gone. We both knew we were in the right place and at the right pond, but our clothes were nowhere to be found. I said “Clyde must have them!” and, at the exact same time, we both said, “it’s a trap!” And it was.

Two flashlights hit us, and we were busted! All I could do was stare at Willa’s beautiful naked body, but she had no plan of sticking around. She took off on her bicycle and rode like Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, her naked back getting smaller and smaller as she disappeared into the darkness. I shouted, “see ya, boys!” and took off after her. Clyde and company were not far behind us, but we had outrun them before and we knew we could do it again.

We flew down that cart path toward the country club’s dimly lit parking lot. When we hit the parking lot, we pedaled as fast as we could for the exit. When we were about 300 yards up the main country road, we saw that the men were no longer following us. They stayed by the entrance to the parking lot. And that was a very good thing, because it was uphill all the way to the beginning of Willa’s driveway, then an even steeper uphill trek to her house.
Naked, we pushed our bikes up her driveway in the pitch dark until we came to the little dirt pathway that led back to George’s house. Willa turned to me, said she had a wonderful time and that we should do this again. Then she kissed me with that incredible French kiss of hers, said “good night, Tommy” and wandered away in the dark toward her house.

When I got near George’s house I could see his light was on upstairs. He was still fiddling around with his Volkswagen’s motor. I threw a small pebble that hit his window and asked him to throw me down some clothes.


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