The creek water was milky after a full mornings rain. The song birds singing their tunes in the rising humidity of the afternoon sun.
Shelly yawns and stretches her arms up high and looks at me. I can feel her.
I’d kiss her again, but I’m afraid. How long before she gets bored and moves on, I wonder? Plenty of boys in the school yard wishing they were me right now. They’d gladly hand over their own Mommas to take my place and be all too giddy to lean across and kiss her, and wouldn’t think twice about it, Hell or high water, rain or shine. Hell, I want to too, I done it before, but I’m still afraid. (I already said that once) and it’s still true and she’s still looking at me and I still ain’t doing a damned thing about it.
With her arms up over her head, she pulls at the back of her shirt. My heart skips a beat.
“What are you doing?” I say.
“It’s hot.” She says. “I’m going for a swim.”
She pulls her shirt over her head and tosses it in the dry sunbaked grass. Her taunt young tummy shines in the sun like a sheet of copper. The crevasses of her hips are sharp and run down under her shorts. Her ribs brush lightly against her skin and a white cotton bra covers her peaches in full harvest. And I can’t help, but stare with my mouth hung open like a dopey dog, waiting for something to eat. Awkward and unseemly. She laughs and I laugh too.
“Well, well, Jerry Lee…you act like you ain’t ever seen a girl in her cottons before.”
She bends down and wiggles out of her shorts and to my astonishment, she ain’t wearing a damned thing under them shorts she’s tossing on my shoulder, so teasingly.
“Hold these for me would ya, Jerry Lee?” she winks.
My body tingles. I take a few steps back like a church boy offered a drink for the first time. Face redder than a rose petal, taking it all in. My modesty getting the best of me. She looks at me with a sly smile like a snake offering up an apple and just knowing I’m bound to bite. Shelly unhooks herself from her cotton bra and without a word leaps into the creek, deep from the mornings rain.
And it’s like she snatches the wind right out of the trees and takes it down with her. The whole world stops and sits in waiting.
She bobs back up, hair washed back. The rustle of the world comes rushing with her.
“Ain’t you coming in?” she says.
And I’m torn. Between the quiet, godly boy my momma raised me to be and the naïve, but curious man I am becoming. Here I stand, proudly promoted by my kin to one day be a glorified preacher, a servant of the Lord, debating on whether or not to go swimming with God’s only living Eve, naked as a jay bird in the warm creek behind my granny’s house. The poor woman. If she come out to see us now she’d die of a heart attack.
I twist the buttons of my shirt out of their holes. She smiles her devious smile, falling back into the water sweeping her arms out and letting the water carry her away like an angel freefalling carelessly down from the kingdom of heaven, spurred for sinning too freely and enjoying every moment of it.