dontravis.com blog post #533
Thanks for indulging me while I wallowed in nostalgia last week. This week, I’ll get on with regular business. Hope you enjoy.
Baud Youngfellow hit our little New Mexico town like an Oklahoma tornado. I said Oklahoma because word got around that’s where he came from. And I said tornado because that’s the effect he had on me. He simply drove in one day in the fanciest car anyone had ever seen. A big affair with a stately grille, a rich maroon color—that wasn’t quite like any other maroon I’d ever seen—with the word “Bentley” stamped on it.
When he got out of the driver’s seat, he took off what must have been the biggest hat in the state—and certainly in La Rosa—and ran a hand through a shock of thick, blond hair with dark highlights and a bit of a curl. Boots that were snakeskin or lizard skin or something. A diamond ring on his left hand flashed in the sun about blinding me. And when he smiled at all the gawkers—including me—his teeth were so white they about finished the job.
But what got to me was how handsome he was. Not picture handsome—you know like those photos of movie stars you know they photoshopped—but interesting handsome. Well, sexy handsome, I guess. Guess, hell, I know. Just tall enough, a little over average height. Carrying just the right amount of weight—around one-seventy, I’d guess. And broad, broad shoulders that narrowed down to a small waist, and hips that flared just a little.
The wide stance he adopted as he scanned the area let you know that here stood a man. When he spoke—to me yet—his deep baritone just shy of a bass, confirmed that impression.
“Wonder if you can direct me to a good place to stay for the night?”
I went weak in the knees as his green eyes scanned me. The whole me. They seemed to linger just a tad below my belt, but that might have been my imagination… or my hope. When I say green eyes, I mean green. Green like tiger’s eye marbles with a pupil in the center of each.
I gulped and told him the boardinghouse on Broad Street was his best bet.
“Thanks, young fella,” he said. Young fella? He couldn’t be more’n four or five years older than my eighteen. “Can I ask the name of the first man I’ve met in La Rosa?”
I gulped again and tried to speak through a dry throat. “Tod. Tod Halton.”
He held out a broad, strong-looking hand. “Baud Youngfellow. Glad to make your acquaintance, Tod.”
I mumbled something—hopefully appropriate—as I imagined that warm hand grasping something else. That’s when I realized it was love at first sight. At least on my part.
When he released my hand, I tucked it in my left armpit to try to hold onto the warmth of his touch. Realizing he was about to move on, I grasped for something to keep him here.
“Bob?” I asked. “Did you say your name was Bob?” Stupid, I know, but I was pretty stupid at that moment.
“No, it’s Baud. B-A-U-D. That was my grandfather’s name on my mother’s side. William Baud. Unusual, but it serves the purpose,” he said with a laugh.
“You just passing through?”
“Well, not sure about that. Looking for a place to land, and La Rosa seems promising. I’m sick of cities. Lived in Tulsa all my life and ready for a change.”
My hopes rose. “This is a nice town. You’ll like it.”
“How big is it?” he asked.
“About five thousand,” I said. In my temporary role of town promoter, I babbled on. “Bout a third Hispanic, fifty percent Anglo, the rest made up of Indians and a few blacks, and some Vietnamese who came after that war.”
Those fascinating eyes roved me again. “And which are you?”
I probably blushed. “My grandma used to say I’d make a good flag. Some brown, some white, and a dash of red.”
His eyes examined my face. “Makes an interesting mix. You’re a good-looking fella.”
“T-thanks. You are too.” I know I blushed then, no doubt about it. “Except you’re really… uh, handsome.” I’d almost said sexy.
He winked. “Helps with the ladies, doesn’t it?” He clamped his hat on his head, touched the brim in a sort of salute, and walked into the drug store.
I almost followed him inside, instead, I floated all the way home. Must have been floating because I couldn’t feel my feet hit the ground. I made it home in my non-alcoholic drunken state all right, said hello to mom and went straight to my room, tossing my books on my desk before flopping on the bed where images of the dreamboat I’d met floated endlessly before my eyes. My skin puckered when I belatedly realized he’d said I was the first man he’d spoken to in La Rosa. Imagine that, a man.
That brought me around to another subject. Or, at least, forced me to face the present one. Who was I? What was I? Eighteen years old, a senior in high school, and I still didn’t know. I wasn’t sissy-acting. Played sports and all that, but I seemed to hang onto my childhood buddies tighter than they did me. They all had steady girlfriends—even if they changed them up a lot—while I just dated now and then. Chances were that given the option of a date with a pretty girl or a clandestine beer with a buddy, I’d opt for the brew.
My carnal experience was limited with either gender. I’d gone all the way with a girl before her family moved out of town. Twice, and I liked it. But I couldn’t ever, ever forget jerking off with my best friend Josh. Half a dozen times before he started going steady with his girlfriend. When I was honest with myself, I got steamed up more with remembering my time with Josh than with Wren.
But I had never reacted to anyone like I had to Baud… funny first name or not. I decided at that moment, I had to figure a way to get with Baud Youngfellow. And by get with, I meant “Get With.”
I bounced off the bed and rooted around in my closet until I found what I was looking for. It was a little battered and tan rather than white… but it was a hat. And it looked good on me, even if my hair and eyes were brown instead of blond and green.
So our narrator is smitten to the point he’s dug out a cowboy hat just like—well, almost like—his newly found idol’s. Wonder what happens next.
Until next week.
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