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The reflective sheen of his sunglasses was scratched off, it spider webbed starting from the center. He had scrounged them from the garbage can close to his house. Through the broken lenses he watched the group of girls walk past him, chattering about their plans for tonight. Friday night. And he was dateless.
He sighed, and pushed off the brick wall he was leaning against. In the ‘junior’ parking lot of Willow Falls High school sat a beat up old pick-up truck, the windshield was cracked and the front bumper was duct taped on, but it was his. Underneath all the scratches and dents the car was a fiery red, but that hardly bought him any street cred with the seniors. The guys had their sleek black sports cars, and the chicks had their dainty white convertibles. Man, he wished he could afford one of those. That would be the day…
The passerby pulled him out of his trance. Passing right in front of him was the gorgeous Violet MacFee. Her shoulder length jet black bob swayed with her movement, her beat up converse high tops slapping the pavement. She walked along with her friends, talking about boys. So, he started following her, always staying three or four steps behind. Close enough to eavesdrop, but not suspiciously close.
The boy heard Violet sigh and say, “I don’t have any plans tonight. None of the guys seem to be open.” Her friends start chattering about what guys they were going with tonight.
And so the boy tried to gather every ounce of confidence to ask her out. He didn’t have a leather jacket or rap sheet, like most of the guys Violet usually dated. He didn’t have a motorcycle, just a ’92 pick up. But he must be better than all those guys. He’d seen the bruises she tried to cover up with a poor makeup job. He’d seen how she would cower when ever Bruce Whenskoski, star quarterback on the football team, was near. He had heard the rumors. They had just broken up.
How could Violet MacFee, the most magnificent girl in school, be treated like that? She deserved better. And he was going to give it to her. “Violet!” He called to the wind. “Violet!”
And by some miracle, she turned around. “Yes?” She was walking towards him. “What is it?”
“Would you go out with me?” He asked, slowly. Sure, he had asked out girls before, but none as marvelous as Violet.
She pondered for a while, and finally said, “I guess, if you can pick me up at six.”
“I can do that,” He told her. Of course he could do that. He had his own car, didn’t he?
Her front porch was immaculate. The floorboards were painted a pure white, red flowers were planted in the porch flower-boxes. Violet sat on the porch swing- painted red to match the flowers. She was wearing a frilly pink shirt and a tight skirt. He looked down at his flannel shirt and stained jeans. “I think you’re a bit overdressed,” He suggested, gently. He joins her on the swing, but she slides over a couple of inches. “Hey,” he asks, trying to be consoling, “Go change into something more comfortable.”
“Where are we going?” she asks, cautiously.
“You’ll find out,” He tells her, smiling to ease her nerves
She came back a couple minutes wearing her Powder Puff t-shirt and a pair of jeans. They got in his truck and drove; they drove to the local park. He parked in the parking lot, in a spot where the trees wouldn’t block his view. As she watched, he spread a couple of blankets and pillows in the bed of his truck. They lied on the blankets and watched the sun set and watched the stars come out.
They started to talk, about meaningless things. After they found the big dipper and little dipper and other constellations, it was time for dinner. He has packed a magnificent dinner; sandwiches, lemonade, fried chicken. The works.
But as Violet reached over for another bottle of lemonade, the boy could see that an ugly bruise stretched across her side and over her stomach. Even in the dark light he could see that it was a bad one.
“What’s that?” He asked, gently touching it with his fingertips. Violet cried out in surprise.
“Just a bruise,” she said, “I fell down the stairs.”
“No you didn’t,” he said, “It was Bruce, wasn’t it?” He ran his fingers through his blonde curls.
She buried her face in her hands, “Yes.” When she looked up he saw silent tears slipping down her face.
“Why did you stay with him so long?” He asked, kindly.
“I was afraid to leave,” she whispers, almost inaudibly. Her black hair falls loosely in her face.
“Don’t let him every touch you again,” he says, seriously. “Get away. Find me. I’ll take care of it. No one ever should be treated like that.” The wind blows against them harshly, and Violet shivers. The boy pulls an extra blanket from the toolbox and spreads it around her shivering shoulders. He wipes away the tears clinging to her cheeks. Her eyes looks into his and she murmurs, “I knew you were different.” Violet settles herself against his chest. The boy wraps his arms around her, pulling her closer. Her hand slips into his; he strokes the soft skin of the back of her hand with his thumb. They sit there, talking, for a long time. Things have changed.
They will never go back.