Saturday, May 1, 2010


He drove a blue Bonneville convertible, quite a hot car for a 17-year-old boy to be driving. There was kidney in his trunk. There’s an explanation for the kidney. His father was a surgeon and for some unexplained reason in the trunk of the car they kept a discarded kidney, floating in a vessel filled with preservative. I have no idea whose kidney it was. Kidney or no kidney, he scared me to death, speeding through the hairpin curves of Georgetown Pike, heading for Great Falls National Park. Maybe I liked him because he scared me. I’d rather believe I liked him because he was smart and funny, but it has been so long that I don’t really remember what the attraction was.

I hadn’t really been on a date with him—I just knew him from a group of boys from the local all-boys Catholic high school. I went to the local all-girls Catholic high school and the only boys we knew were our friends’ brothers, friends of our friends’ brothers, and boys we occasionally met at school “tea” dances. I wanted to go to my junior prom so I gathered my nerve and asked the Bonneville boy if he would go with me. It’s likely that I vomited from anxiety just having to call him on the telephone.

Probably as a gesture of reciprocity, he invited me to a dance at his school—not a prom, but a lesser, more casual dance. I wore my new coat, a grey tweed Chesterfield coat with a black velvet collar. I loved that coat. When we got to the dance, we piled all the coats in a room adjacent to the gym. And when we left, he went to retrieve my coat and couldn’t find it. I went into the room with him and watched as one person after another came, found their coats, and left. We were alone in the room—the Bonneville boy, me, and one coat. It wasn’t my coat—it was a ratty brown coat with a shawl collar and big buttons and it smelled like some other girl who tried to cover the aroma of greasy french fries with cheap cologne. My coat had disappeared and it was the last time I went out with Bonneville boy. I sure liked that coat and it sure was long gone.

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