We were in the kitchen the next morning and Papa and I talked about the wire I hung after I got back from the doctor’s office yesterday. I put a length of steel wire I found cater-cornered opposite my tiny shower between two exposed studs. It was easy since there was no drywall there. I hammered the heads to the nails down into the wood to put extra tension on the cable. Papa praised me for my ingenuity and said that he would call on me if he need any help around the house. I told him I really didn’t know squat and he said I had good instincts.
Billy still has not called. He’s giving me plenty of breathing space. I’ve thought a thousand times a day about calling him.
I never went and talked to that Linda Tibbits. That could have been a disaster. Here’s some little seventh grader coming to her and asking her about Billy Carnes, and then she laughs in my face. I was not about to give her a chance to even smirk at me a little bit.
We got ready for school and got out of the house and eventually on the bus. It’s Friday, the second of March, my thirteenth birthday. Bart has his little transistor radio out as we climb on the bus and he’s listening to a song called Let’s Hear It For The Boy by Deniece Williams. I don’t particularly like all this popular music. It’s way too screamy and screechy. To me, music should be calm and soothing like a pool of water. Some of it is okay. Some of the ballads are nice, like Lionel Ritchie. The bus driver gives Bart the stink-eye and he turns his little radio off. Most kids have those portable Walkman’s with those little speakers you can plug in your ears. They cost a lot of money and then you need to buy the cassette tapes. I hear they are coming out with a Walkman that takes those new compact disks. Who can afford all that?
Bart turned around in his seat and started singing Let’s Hear It For The Boy to me, and he would glance down at my crotch while he sang it.
I swung at him with my Civics book, “Turn around, smarty!” I said. He dodged easily, then laughed out loud. He sat back down like he just won some battle. What is it with boys that everything is a battle? I’ve learned one thing. Seventh and eighth grade boys are still children, without exception, even if they have a manly body like Bart’s.
We pulled up to the bus line at the middle school and stopped. I got up and we slowly got off the bus. I stepped down lady-like since I was wearing a skirt and when I looked up, there he was.
“Billy,” I said. He smiled down at me that soft, alluring, gentle way that he has and I melted.
“Happy birthday,” he said. “I came to ask you if I can see you tonight. I have planned something for your birthday. It’s a surprise. I also want to say I’m sorry for hurting you.”
He left it at that. He didn’t beg me to come back to him. He didn’t give me a half-assed apology with “if I hurt you.” He just apologized with heartfelt tones and stopped, leaving it up to me. I didn’t know what to do with it. I had to think a minute so I stood there staring at his gorgeous face. I wanted to throw down my backpack and leap into his arms and give him the hottest open mouth kisses he’s ever had. I nervously took one step toward him. What he did next sent rivers of goose bumps down my whole body.
He gently lay his hand on my face, then said, “I will never love another girl, Ronni.”
I hurriedly wiggled out of my backpack then leaped into his arms, threw my arms around his neck, and showered him with kisses. I stopped kissing him for a moment and looked in his eyes, I said softly, “How about boys?”
He laughed, “Yes, boys too.” he said.
“It’s still war.” I said. “Inside me, it’s still loud like war.”
“That is so good to hear.” He kissed me repeatedly. We kissed playfully and laughed and then the bell rang.
“I’ve got to go. I might not make it to the eighth grade.”