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A Midsummer’s Wet Dream

A MIDSUMMER’S WET DREAM
By Don Kenton Henry

Herman Raucher said, “In everyone’s life there is a summer of ’42”. Mine came twenty-seven years later in 1969.

 
I cannot say without a doubt she was the most beautiful girl in the world. There may have been somewhere a girl with form as shapely; with hair spun more blinding gold than the noon day sun–green eyes to make emeralds pale and lips more full and pink-wet like petals of the lotus flower dripping morning dew. No, I cannot say there lives, or ever has, one, in all more beckoning to my wanton youthful lust than she with her winsome, come hither looks. But if there was … I was not aware . . . and did not care to be.
Yes, Clara was one for whom the gods did align themselves, then stumble o’er the other, but for a second glance at the earthly beauty they somehow let escape their grasp.
I first lay eyes–I knew not then to be starved for the first worthy sight of their young lives–on her at the concession stand behind the diamond at a Babe Ruth baseball game. It was a hot July night in Maconaquah Park, Finn’s Landing, Indiana. But starved they were for they took her in like barren soil drinks in a summer downpour. Her image soaked in and stirred the seeds within me fifteen years dormant. There she stood in a Purdue University T shirt, tight not from intention but from an unspoken compact with nature’s irresistible convention. The lower portion of this was cut away as were her faded and frayed blue jeans which started a good inch below her navel and ended just barely beyond cheeks as firm, ripe and round as two peaches from McClure’s-Tate Orchard on US 31. Her skin was tan and her feet were bare and–if you can imagine it all–you know why I stared. Her eyes locked on mine and to her mouth she raised an orange push-up. She held it there with one hand and as she slowly gave a push to that stick with the thumb and fore-finger of her other. I melted like the sherbet her moist tongue slid from between the lotus petals to caress.
Now to be honest–and if I mean but one thing here today my friends, it is to be honest–for. I ask, what point is there in making a confession if not to be honest? If Clara had but one flaw . . . it was her nose. My god, that girl had an eagle’s beak of a nose! Not only was it a proboscis as long as the peninsula of Florida but it hooked like that of a Great Bald Eagle! But–I swear–on my mother’s bible–King James Version!–this was her only flaw and one which I was more than happy to overlook in light of her other angelic and abundant attributes. In fact, truth be known, so smitten was I at that moment, I would have gladly spent the rest of my life with her nose alone. To channel The Great Bard of all –
“See, how she leans her nose upon her hand!
O, that I were a Kleenex in that hand,
That I might touch that nose!”
Yes–you may remember me. I am–“The Sheik”. As I told you before, I was given that title by a wise and elderly neighbor who whiled away the years of my coming, and his going, watching me play from the white porch swing of his boarding house across the street from mine. He said it was not only because of my high cheekbones and dark exotic features but the wistful way the young damsels vied for my attention. I was oblivious to this at the age of seven, when he told me, and apparently oblivious still. For–when I finally broke myself from her gaze–I turned to see if, instead of me, she were focused on some “Beau” Geste behind me. But there was no one behind me.
Suffice it to say, Clara saw something in me I certainly did not see in myself and that night would be the first of several we would take our ice cream or hot dog and go to the grassy knoll above the ball park and spend the evening hours simply getting to know each other. I wooed her by quoting Shakespeare of which I had memorized copious lines to recite in the school plays in which I starred. She was quite intelligent and loved the arts herself and those gorgeous green eyes of hers would glaze over and, like me, she melted like a Creamsicle when I said things like, “So are you to my thoughts as food to life, or as sweet seasoned showers are to the ground.”
Clara was only fifteen also yet she was as precocious as she was pretty. She was the youngest of three daughters of the partner to the lawyer who represented my mother in my parent’s divorce. Apparently her two older sisters (who were also not the type to want for attention) had shared enough to give her a curiosity which belied her years. So when one evening, in the bottom of the ninth, when I looked in her eyes and said, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” – without a moment’s hesitation, she came back with –
“And summer’s lease hath all too short a date!”
And so it came to pass that we conspired our youth not be wasted like unpicked fruit on a tree whose limbs hung heavy laden with summer’s ripe bounty. She knew I spent each night that summer in an eight by twelve Sears and Roebuck canvas tent in my side yard. I had furnished it with a yellow bean bag chair and a scotch guard floral print fold out sofa that had been replaced by a newer one in our family living room. A three foot poster of Jim Morrison was pinned to the rear wall and an orange extension cord ran from my little brother’s living room into the tent. The cord provided power to a 50 watt light bulb which hung from the center ceiling and a fold down blue and white JC Penny record player.
The hour for our pre-appointed rendezvous was late the next evening. Clara would stay the night at her grandmother, Mrs. Nole, in the Nole Mansion just a block from my humble home with white aluminum siding. Around eleven p.m., after she was certain her grandmother would be sleeping, I was to appear below Sara’s second story bedroom window at the back of the house. A pebble of two thrown against it would be her signal to sneak out and join me.
That next evening, from the bushes below, I tossed one pebble, then two more with no response. Finally, the window, which was really two horizontal windows, opened from the middle and I heard Clara’s voice call, “Kenton? . . ? Kenton . . ? Wherefore art thou?” (She was playing this to the hilt.)
Just to mix things up a bit–I responded, “It is my soul that calls upon my name; How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night, Like soft music to attending ears.”
“I’ll be right down!” she answered.
I went around to meet her at the front door. Out of the total darkness of the mansion, she slipped into the light of a full moon. Her hair was radiant in its glow. She wore the same Purdue T shirt and cut-offs she was in the night I met her. Her smile was as big as the moon and her breasts the same as if– like the tides–magnified by its gravitational pull. But what really caught my eye was what she held in her hand. It was a bottle of Old Fitzgerald whiskey 100 Proof!
“Oh my, what are we going to do with this?” I asked.
“We’re going to drink it, silly!” she laughed. We headed to the tent then over to Sutton’s Standard gas station to the soda machine for a couple of cokes to mix in Dixie cups with the whiskey. This became necessary as we quickly learned we had not yet acquired a taste for straight Kentucky bourbon. Back at the tent, Clara mixed our drinks while I went in came back with some Totoni’s frozen pizza my brothers and sister had heated in the oven and were about to eat. “There’s another one in the freezer!” I said as I ran out with it.
Now friends, I had never kissed a girl before and I am certain it would have taken me days in that situation minus the Old Fitzgerald. As it was, it took about one Dixie cup. Clara admitted she had already had two while I went for the pizza. Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf started playing on the turn table and, after lifting the arm of the turn table so it would play over and over, she started spinning with her arms extended like a helicopter. “Whoooeeee! Come with me . . . on a magic carpet ride!” she sang while dancing like she were at Woodstock, a little gig which would take place just one month later. Three Dixie cups of my own later, and who knows how many for Clara, I fell backward onto the floral print of the fold out sofa with her on top of me. I could tell by her gyrations she was quite fond of me and her style was a little like that of a thoroughbred trying to break out of the starting gate at the Derby where our whiskey came from. But it twas I the mount and she the jockey.
“Are you certain you want to do this, Clara?” I questioned.
“To flaming youth let virtue be as wax, And melt in her own fire: Proclaim no shame!”, she said, quoting Hamlet as she pulled that T shirt over her head then reached for the saddle horn!
The next thing I remembered, I heard, ” Clara! Clara! Get up and put your shirt on. It was Clara’s father, Mr. Cumberton, standing in the door way of the tent. She needed some assistance in doing so and when I intervened to help a shove from the Counselor put me on my butt on the sofa. It was a good thing it was scotch guarded because the remnants of last night’s partially digested Totino’s pizza were splattered everywhere.
Thankfully, Sara’s cut-offs were still on, as were mine, though her bra was hanging off the back of the sofa.
“You may see me in court over this young man,” Mr. Cumberton said as he carried her out the tent door to his car.
When Clara’s grandmother awakened to find her bed empty, Clara’s cousin, Frannie, was called and tipped off the family as to where they might find her. Not long after this, Clara was shipped off to an all girls’ boarding school in The Hamptons. I obtained the address and wrote and sent her poetry but the letters were always returned unopened, marked “Return to Sender”. Like the Capulets, her family had intervened to leave us star-crossed lovers.
Of things left unconsummated that July night so long ago, surely no one can say it better than Shakespeare himself who waxed,
“They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten and discharging less than the tenth part of one.” – Troilus and Cressida. Act III, Scene II, lines 81-4.
It seems Clara never lost her fondness for riding and, I heard from Frannie, she took up Dressage, eventually becoming so skilled she was going to try out for a place on the Olympic Equestrian Team in 1972.
“No surprise to me,” I told Frannie. I later learned she married a doctor and together they have a thoroughbred horse farm in the Catskills. “Tally ho! Old Girl!” I say.

One comment on “A Midsummer’s Wet Dream

  1. Not a redhead, but still green eyes. 😉

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