Thursday, July 16, 2015
Hallway Monitor ((A High School Escapade) (1965))
The girl, Gayle Johnson, was one of a freshman cheerleaders at Washington High School. A nice girl, always dressed for that times; she was a year younger than I, I was seventeen or eighteen at the time, a senior, and a hallway monitor during the lunch periods. It was the summer of ’65. She was lean, but shapely, and feminine; smart looking; not real tall, shorter than she was taller, with big eyes, and wavy soft blond hair; an eye catcher. Every day of school, five days a week she’d come walking down that hallway with two or so of her girlfriends. It took all of a few minutes. She never said more than hello, along with giving me a big smile. She appeared to be popular with everybody in school. I’d actually wait in anticipation for her to come along, and if she didn’t: darn if I didn’t miss seeing her.
She looked like a soft rabbit, and those big eyes Betty Davis’ eyes, a little beauty, without a name. I hadn’t thought positive about any girl in particular at Washington High, except I could have thought positive about her, and I was dating a girl from Johnson High School on the East Side of town, an Italian, nice looking gal.
It looked to me, the day that girl started school, and passed by my post, turning right to enter the lunchroom, we connected eye to eye, once and forevermore, never to forget—; at least halfway down the hallway this eye contact started if not sooner, as if we were white on rice.
She appeared to be shy, but was she, perhaps I was? She was never by herself. Her head was always clumped with other heads. Not looking towards the lunchroom door at all, but at me, as if I was a window, and she was looking out of it, as I was looking in. It was as if I would kind of drift, towards her, never moving from the chair.
I never talked much back then, and didn’t realize she knew more about me than I knew about her.
I gave someone my yearbook that year to pass it around, because I knew in advance I’d be absent, and Gayle wrote in it “I Love you” but who was Gayle? I asked myself, and a few other kids, it was for the most part, someone who had no face for me, or recognition. And had I known it was Gayle with the Betty Davis’ eyes, well, I would have said, she wasn’t shy anymore, rather to the contrary. But guys are shyer than women, and when a woman wants you, they go after you, and if a hundred men are standing by willing to give life and limb, they’ll pass them up, take my word for it, time has proven that fact time and again.
Anyhow, I think I read “I love you,” too fast, not knowing the name, and she signed it properly, actually she signed it as if she was on her way to being, Miss America, or Miss Wall Street! But it wasn’t that; I just didn’t know who was who together, had I, well I think life for me would have been a little different.
As I inferred, boys are different than girls, they know what they want, and a few friends said: she’s a sophomore, no she’s a freshman, yet I couldn’t put two and two together, nor could they, we could have made a good hoot together—if I was a seer looking back, and who knows what from there; I would have taken my pushchair in that hallway and there might have been a romance in the makings—who’s to say; but I didn’t bat an eye. It’s not that she wasn’t worth the time to investigate further, the thing is I didn’t take it serious, and to be frank I didn’t think she paid any real attention to me, and I was bad news for a good girl, and I knew it.
So we had our hallway romance.
But in 1994, evidently she reached the point where the boldness came to a head even stronger, and she called me up at work, and mind you that’s 29-years later. And I still couldn’t put two and two together. When she called me, I was not a married at the time, and she wanted to meet, and I had a few bad experiences in meeting with old female friends, so I declined. Hence, she said, “When you see me, you’ll know who I am!”
Had she said, “I’m the gal with the Betty Davis’ eyes,” the decline would have been a different story, I would have met her in a flash.
If she ever reads this, and I doubt she will, but if… she had no equal in Washington High, not in my eyes; God bless her soul.
Short Story No: 1000 (January 4, 5, 6, and 2014) / First Short Story for 2014 / For: Gayle Johnson
By Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c. © 2014 “The Hallway Monitor” Shortened, revised, September, 15, 2014