Thursday, April 25, 2024

Neverend (Part One of Three Parts) blog post #650


This is my first post after switching from a weekly post to posts on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Hope you forgive me for weakening after something over twelve years.


For such an auspicious undertaking, I’m doing a three-part story about an unsettled young man bearing the nickname of Bobolink. I hope you get involved in his story.



I stared at the gray concrete wall and recalled a scene from my childhood. My twelfth year, probably, since we were still on the farm, likely early summer. I’d been rocking in Granddad’s chair on the front porch after chores were done but before being called for supper. Evening was coming on fast with the sun putting on a dazzling show to the west, featuring reds and yellows and a touch of violet. Old Sol knew how to make an exit. Didn’t do bad at entrances either.

“What’cha thinking, Bobolink?”

I had shifted my gaze from the sun’s display and glanced at my little sister. “Just wishin’ this would never end.”

She clutched her Raggedy Ann doll to her chest and spoke with ten-year-old wisdom. “According to Ma, Neverend isn’t real. Something’s always changing.”

My sigh likely signaled acceptance of that fact, as well as my regret. “Yeah, but don’t you sometimes wish you could stop everything and get off right here? Like that sunset? It ought to never end.”

She shook her head so hard her blonde curls scrubbed her shoulders. “Don’t be silly. The crops wouldn’t grow. And you couldn’t go down to the swimming hole. Don’t you want to get out of school and grow up and have girlfriends and get married.”

“Sometimes. But sometimes not.”

“I do. I can hardly wait. I want a handsome boyfriend and an even handsomer husband someday. It’ll be heaven.”

“Are Mom and Dad in heaven?” I asked, thinking of how hard they worked and how tired the seemed at night.


“Never mind,” I said.

As usual, Cheryl Ann Link, did just that… paid no mind. Cherry—that’s what the family called her, she was Cheryl Ann to the rest of the world—lived in children’s books she got from the town library. They always seemed to point to the future. Me, I didn’t see anything wrong with going fishing with Dad or squirrel hunting with my brother or arrowhead hunting with my buds now. Pretty uncomplicated. Not like making a living or raising kids. Don’t get me wrong. Living on a farm meant plenty of work—hard work. But you could see the results growing right before your eyes.

If Cheryl Ann was Cherry, I was Bobolink. Easy enough to figure. My name was Robert so Bob Link became Bobolink. Trouble was, it wasn’t just a cutesy name restricted to the family but shared by the whole world. If somebody yelled Bob, I probably wouldn’t even react.

I don’t know why that memory popped into my head at the moment, but it was a pretty good jumping off place for the way life rolled out in front of me over the next few years. Neverend, of course, never appeared. One day succeeded another and this week became last week, and the months and years passed as they were intended. Cherry graduated from high school then college, became a civil engineer, and married that handsome husband she’d always dreamed of.

Me? Well, I held onto Neverend until I couldn’t any longer. My college career was a bit more tortured than Cherry’s. I kept making inappropriate friends who led me into situations that always seemed to involve trouble. Is that a cop-out? Probably. A guy goes into situations with his eyes wide open, doesn’t he? Might get fooled once or twice, but half a dozen times? That means he contributed to his own problems, doesn’t it? Definitely.

So we’ve arrived at what I tried not to say. I’m either a rebel by nature or else a willing patsy. As sad as it sounds, I hope it’s the latter.

Neverend seemed as if it might have returned to my life when I started bumming around with Marco Roselli my senior year in college… where I was an art student, by the way. Possibly not the best way to make a living, but after years of changing majors, it was something I became passionate about.

That and Marco Roselli.

It didn’t start out that way. In fact, it wouldn’t have gone that way if Marco hadn’t been Marco. I met him at a Frat party where, as a transfer to State, he was joining our chapter of the Greek organization. I’d never seen anyone like him. Never been interested in anyone like him, in fact. I’d had girlfriends in high school. I’ll swear I never had a gay thought in my head until I laid eyes on him.

I’d never seen a beautiful man before. Handsome, yeah. Buff, sure. Even sexy, I suppose, but Marco’s curly black hair, large brown eyes, tapered torso… oh, I could go on forever describing this modern Adonis, but you get the idea. I was smitten. Smacked hard in the back of the head.

And miracle of miracles, he seemed to like me. Found time to disengage from admirers at the party that night to cross the room to speak to me at the table holding the doctored punch I’ll never forget his first words to me.

“Hi, I’m Marco Roselli. Been watching you.”

I managed to get out some words that made sense. “You have? Why?”

His grin almost robbed my knees of strength to hold me aloft. “You’re not like these other guys. You know, Hail fellow, well met. You ration your friendship. Give it to those who deserve it, not dole it out to everyone.”

That was a new take for me, but I went along with it. “Not exactly the way to create a network for success.”

It’s noisy in here. Let’s go out on the patio, okay?”


I watched him as he led me through the French doors into the cool night. There were others on the big, covered patio, but at least you didn’t have to shout to be heard. He leaned a trim hip against a post and set his drink on the banister.

“I’m taking a guess here, but you don’t come from money. You worked to save for school and earned a scholarship—academic, not athletic. Right so far?”

I nodded, preferring to look rather than speak. I’ve seen beautiful girls that were pleasant to look at, but after a while, their perfection became boring. Marco’s features were irregular, but put together in a totally fascinating way. I could have gazed at him for days without getting tired of it. The abrupt, athletic way he moved, his throaty voice touched me deep down inside.

“So you’re not a business major,” he continued. “Something ethereal. Creative. A painter.” He reached out and squeezed my bicep. “No, a sculptor. You don’t get a build like that from lifting paint brushes.”

I laughed, pleased and flattered he was spending his time talking about me. “No, but you do if you go to the gym after lifting those heavy brushes laden with globs of weighty oils.”

“Aha, an artist. Well, I was close. It was that hunky body that deceived me.”

“Never been called hunky before.”

“Oh, yes. You have. Not to your face, perhaps, but men and women both have remarked on your form. You’re quite handsome, you know.”

I felt my face glow, relieving the darkness at this end of the porch.

“I’ve embarrassed you. Sorry, wasn’t my intention.”

I managed a shrug. “It’s okay. I’m not used to being the center of attention.”

“You should be. Do you play tennis?”

I nodded. “My one sport. Do okay. Not great, but I make a competition out of it.”

“Great. You have Saturday classes?”

I shook my head.

“Neither do I. Meet you at nine on the courts.”

“Sure. Like to.”


Bobolink! We’ve all known people like him. Self-contained, introverted, awkward at making new acquaintances, and often stumbling over their efforts… and ending up making trouble. You might even be one of those people, as well. If you are one or know one, stick with me for the second half of this story.

 Repeat of the alert: Starting this week, this blog will post ONLY on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

 Until next time, stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it!

Don't forget to remind your friends of my BJ Vinson murder mystery series. And if you haven't read all seven books, get your rear in gear. The first is The Zozobra Incident.

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See you next time.


New posts on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

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