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The Eclectic Pen - Skip Day

By: IONE L. (zaneygraylady)   + 85 more  
Date Submitted: 3/29/2007
Last Updated: 3/30/2007
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 1,942

  I was getting ready for work blow drying my hair. It was going to be a beautiful March day and I had to spend it at the office. The raido was on and Donovan was singing Sunshine Superman. That's when I remembered the day almost fourty years ago.

It was the end of March and one of the first nice days of spring after a drab Michigan winter. I was on my way to pick up my best friend Suzie for class. I had just turned seventeen and Suzie was still sixteen. It was the sixties and we were juniors in high school. The windows were down in my little blue VW bug and the radio was on loud. Donovan was singing, “Sunshine came softly in my window today.” I really didn’t want to spend this nice day in school. I honked the horn and Suzie came out with the same sad look in her eyes she had all month. Suzie was my best friend and Ben and her had been going together for almost a year. He broke up with her to go with Linda who was no longer our friend. I could understand why Suzie was so depressed because she really loved Ben and now to top it off prom was coming up and neither one of us had a date. I’d had my share of disappointments in my love life too but was better at bouncing back then Suzie. I was getting impatient with Suzie. She just wasn’t much fun to be around anymore.

“Hey Suzie”, I said “it’s too nice a day to be brooding over Ben.”
“I know its’ just so hard when I see him walking down the hall with Linda everyday” she replied. “And now they’re going to the prom together and I don’t have a date.”
“I know, but you’ll never get another boyfriend unless you start having some fun. Let’s skip today and go to the beach.” We lived only an hour away from Lake Michigan.
“Really? If your folks found out they’d kill you.”
“Yeah, but we both need some fun. Let’s take the chance.”

I knew I’d be in deep water if my folks found out but the minute the words lets take a chance came out of my mouth I felt such a sense of freedom. I was a typical teenager of the time. In my heart I wanted to put some flowers in my hair and go to San Francisco, but my strict Dutch upbringing was still in my soul and I wouldn’t dream of hurting my parents that way. For the most part that kept me out of trouble.

Suzie’s dad left her and her mom when she was in junior high and she had little contact with him since he married his new wife and had new young stepchildren, five-year-old Katie and seven year old Emily. Suzie’s mom was a waitress at Tallie Hoe, worked late in the night and slept until noon. She was as good as a mom as she could be but she was never around. I really envied Suzie because her mom was pretty and fun and Suzie could do just about anything she wanted to do.

Even so Suzie spent most of her time at my house. My mom really didn’t like me to go to her house when her mom wasn’t home and for some crazy reason Suzie loved it at my house. My little brother Matt was a real nerd and got on my nerves. He was only a year younger than me,was in the astronomy club at school and a real embarrassment to me. I tried to pretend I didn’t know him at school. I was pretty and not as smart as Matt, but I knew that wasn’t necessary I just wanted to have a family and the typical fifties sitcom life. Who needed school for that?

We headed out for the beach with the radio loud singing along to “All you need is love”. When we got to the beach it was deserted. We ran up to the water, took our shoes off put our feet in.There were small waves and the water was cold as ice. We walked down the beach a ways talking about how you just couldn’t count on boyfriends but your girlfriends will always stick by you except for Linda of course. Then we gossiped about Linda for a while. I could see the light coming back into Suzie’s eyes.

We walked back to the other side of the beach and saw some guys playing Frisbee. They had their shirts off and looked real cute. “Look at them.” I said, “Lets go over and talk to them.”
“I don’t know.” Suzie said. “I have a bad hair day today.”
“Stop making excuses. This is just what you need to get over Ben. I think its fate that they are here too. They could be our prom dates. ”
“Now I know you’re crazy Ann” Suzie replied.

I never took chances like this in school but these boys didn’t know any of our friends and I just wanted some fun. We both looked good. We had on denim mini skirts and colorful sleevless blouses. Our hair was parted in the middle and long down our backs like fifty percent of the girls at that time. The only real difference between the way Suzie and I looked was I had blonde hair and Suzie’s was dark brown.

The guys both had their shirts off and denim cut offs. One had wild curly blond hair and the other had long straight dark hair. I liked the looks of the dark one best. I could see they were sizing us up as we approached them. We were trying not to giggle and I just smiled broadly.

The dark one looked at me and said, ”What are you girls doing out of school.”
“We decided to skip. Why aren’t you in school? I asked.”
“We didn’t want to go either.” The curly blond one replied looking at Suzie.
I could already see he was interested in her.
“I’m Keith and this is Tom,” the dark one said.
“I’m Ann and this is Suzie,” I replied
I could already see where this was going. They had picked who got whom before we even had approached them. I was just glad I was getting the gorgeous dark haired Keith and I knew Suzie would go for the curly blond. This was going to be a great day.
“Are you guys from around here?” I asked.
“No we’re from Grand Rapids. You girls wanna play Frisbee?” Keith asked.
“Sure” I answered.
“You play my side and those two can play together. That way it’s fair cause it won’t be guys against girls.” Keith said.

I wanted to say what made him think we couldn’t beat them but I knew they would win. We started playing. Neither Suzie nor I were very athletic so we mostly watched the guys pass the Frisbee back and forth and every now and then they would let us get it.

We were pretty tired and Tom asked it we’d like a coke. So we got one out of the machine and sat on the pier drinking our cokes and talking about school and stuff. Then Tom said to Suzie let’s go for a walk and she said yes. He took her hand and they started walking down the beach.

I stayed on the pier with Keith and he put his arm around me. We talked about our families and Tom and Suzie. I found out they were both seniors and going to college in the fall. We could have a nice summer romance I thought.

Tom and Suzie came back and said they were hungry and we decided to walk into town and get some burgers. After that we headed back to the beach and walked up the dunes. We split up into couples and each went down a different path in the dunes. I knew what was coming next. Back then we would make out but spend most of the time trying to keep the boys hands off, unless we were really in love and then we’d do everything but. I suspected that was why Ben and Suzie broke up. A year of everything but was hard on a girl but hell for a guy. I know they never went all the way because she would have told me.

After a little making out I suggested we get back to the beach. I was tired of fighting him off. We sat on the pier had another coke and waited for Tom and Suzie. They came back holding hands and Suzie said, “Ann you’re pink you’d better get out of this sun.”
“Well by the time we get home school will be out anyway.”

The guys took our numbers and kissed us good by. We all knew we’d never see each other again but that was ok. We still had a great day.

We got home right after school got out and my mom noticed my sunburn right away. By then I was red as a lobster. She got out the aloe and told me to go to my room and she would come and see me there. From the look of my sunburn my mom knew I didn’t spend the day in school. She didn’t yell at me because I was in a lot of pain. I did get grounded for two weeks though. Suzie didn’t get in any trouble at all. Her dark skin didn’t burn and her mom was already at work when she got home. Suzie could still come to our house for dinner. My mom felt sorry for her and treated her like a second daughter.

We never heard from those boys again. Suzie got married had a couple of boys got divorced and then married a guy with a little girl. She's a loan officer at a bank. She has three grandsons. I got married and stayed married to my college sweetheart. We have two boys who are grown and I have one granddaughter. I like my job even though I never finished college. I'm a unit clerk at the hospital. Suzie and I are still best friends. Linda got pregnant by Ben and he died in Viet Nam. She moved to California and we don’t know what happened to her after that. My brother became a profesor of astromony. My mom and dad are retierd in Florida. Suzies mom died of breast cancer.

I've never done this before but I decided to skip work today. It must be hearing Sunshine Superman again on this beautiful morning. I suddenly got the same feeling of freedom I had that day fourty years ago. I called Suzie and said, “I’m picking you up we’re going to the beach.” And you know she agreed to come. No wonder we are still best friends.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by IONE L. (zaneygraylady)

Member Comments

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Comments 1 to 7 of 7
Lynn B. (seraphina) - 3/30/2007 2:18 PM ET
These kinds of memories are what makes life a wonderful thing, you were right about one thing you can always count on your best friend. I have been remembering lately, things and people of the past, smileing all the while. thank you for sharing this precious memorie. beautifully written. I can relate. thank you.
Adrienne S. - 3/31/2007 12:54 PM ET
maybe its because i have back ground music that made me feel, all the more, the wonder in your story, but one thing for sure...everyone ought to do a skip day. And be blessed enough to go do it again...wonderful. Do some more writing!
Shannon E. (irishlass81) - 4/2/2007 1:00 PM ET
Very enjoyable, easy read on a nice spring day like today. Would like to read more!
Terre M. - 4/2/2007 6:17 PM ET
Great story, told well and it was my era, so I can relate!
Lynette B. (frioriverlover) - 4/2/2007 6:24 PM ET
Keep writing. I think you have a lot of potential. There were a couple of mispelled words, but I liked the story.
Sheree W. (prettyladie) - 4/2/2007 7:11 PM ET
Loved your story, brings back memories long forgotten.
Marta J. (booksnob) - 4/4/2007 11:06 AM ET
You drew me in as soon as you mentioned Donovan. Oh, how that 60's music brings back memories!
Comments 1 to 7 of 7