Genna painted next to her brother Dakota, all afternoon.  I took pictures, they painted.  At the end of it she had a cool tie dyed paper towel of paint brush smudges and two or three cards–one to me and Rose which she mailed right back to the house, which was cool.  It was warm, summer outside and in, prayer flags fluttering and enticing little squares of paint framing a guileless Mona Lisa smile on my good friend Genna.

Nothing moves faster than a photon, but photography plays the trick of freezing light. Sometimes, like on this summer day, it is worth more than anything in a burning house. Photographs are the visual scents that instantly (at the speed of light) take me back.  Like a scent does.  Like this…

If I were to stroll pass the perfume counter at Rite-Aid and smell White Shoulders I would be back at the dance in the eighth grade at Tom Browne Jr. High slow dancing with Beth Williams, simultaneously dying and being born, a burning star of newly made hormones.  I would be at Padre Staples mall at the kiosk outside of Chess King buying her a Steve Miller Band Book of Dreams replica album cover mirror (!).  The replica album cover art mirror kiosk was next to the spin art kiosk where you could buy a square of cardboard that got attached to a spinning axle and you could take a mustard squeeze bottle of paint and drip paint on to the spinning cardboard and make cool designs.  I am there in the mall, walking carefully past Orange Julius with my drying paint cardboard, past the fun shop with the Farrah Fawcett poster–perfect chicklets smile, one piece bathing suit way better than any bikini and the hair–hanging in the window like a siren driving all teenage boys into the rocks of forgetting their new, first girlfriends, past the JC Penny’s entrance (mall anchor stores were Penny’s and Dillards) and out to the baking hot asphalt, five minutes late for my dad, waiting in the colorless green Ford Custom 500, and home.  Walking to Beth’s house, mirror and now birthday card-made-from-spin-art square, wrapped in the Sunday comics. Beth loving it and me and Steve Miller (we shared Jungle Love and Jet Airliner as favorite songs). Beth, my first girlfriend, my 7th grade love, smiling at me as we shuffle on to the dance floor, draping her arms around my shoulders like a high school cardigan, my hands, powerless vice grips on her hips and us, rocking back and forth while Heatwave crooned ”Always and Forever” over the PA system in the cafeteria, and that scent of White Shoulders weaving itself into the fabric of my memory forever.

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One Response to Genna

  1. Bobbi says:

    Ah for me it’s music! The other day Lennon’s ‘Woman’ surprised me on my French radio station and I too was transported to a high school gym where Seam McCann, now a famous musician, asked me to slow dance and I felt like I was the luckiest girl on the planet. Thanks for the trip down memory lane…


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