Monday, September 17, 2007

Three Hits

I rang the bell, the door opened, and the sun was right behind it.

I was fifteen then, and my older brother had asked me to bring a package to his friend's place. So I came, rang the bell, and was struck speechless. There she was, all smiling and radiant while I stood utterly dazzled. I mumbled some words and she took the package from my hand, her smile warm and earnest. But I was too young and too timid, so I just kept the wonder to myself and let it gradually slide into memories.

The second hit came while I was riding a bicycle under the fierce sun of a sweltering day. A motorbike zoomed past, and she was sitting at the back. I barely caught a glimpse of her profile, but my heart rate raced up a notch or two while she was vanishing from my sight and reach, like a shooting star that passed so quickly I didn't even have the time to make my wish.

Years later I was in Southwestern Virginia at mid-fall, that delightful time when entire mountains were covered in golden resplendency. I had just finished lunch at a Cracker Barrel and got into my car to head back to the highway. Another car was slowly pulling into the parking lot, and for a split second my eyes met those of the other driver. It was quite a jolt, my spine was tingling, my heart was beating funny.

My mind was a jumble of conflicting thoughts. I was wondering how anyone could look that good while telling myself it was wrong to feel that way when someone else was waiting at the far end of my trip. With a trembling hand I pulled the visor of my baseball cap lower on my face and drove away.

In the song The Three Bells Jimmy Brown got three bells in his entire life - one at birth, another at marriage, and the third one at his death. Sometimes in my loneliest moments I idly wonder if I would ever get a fourth hit.

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