Me and Frankie and James
When You Talk About
love, you are working without a net. Very dangerous indeed. And when you are with someone you love, you are living without the next day. All of nothing. At least it was like that with me. I promise to iron-clad advice, tales to keep you up nights, and every word that comes from my fingers being solid gold. But what I "do" promise is a quality, truthful commentary.
I Loved Frankie
not of "Frankie and Johnny," the old standard by young Johnny Cash, but "the" Frankie that I grew to love within the time span of the summer of 1973 and lived to tell about it. In the case of Frankie, I knew that I had my work cut out for me because she was dating my best friend, James, who didn't want a serious relationship, but a girl who loved one-night stands--a stand with him one night and the next time. You get the drift.
I never tried to understand the strange relationship that Frankie and James had nor did I want to. When two best friends are in love with the same girl, all bets are off. But in my case, I never intended to hurt either one. I just wanted a fair chance to date Frankie and her fall "out" of love with James and then when she fell, I would be there to catch her. I've heard of tales like this, but only in Reader's Digest stories that were pure gold.
I remember the very night that I made my move with Frankie. On weekends, we three--James, Frankie, and me, would meet (indirectly) in our hometown, Hamilton, Ala., and either Frankie would park her car, get in with James and ride around with him and all I could do was drive behind them or sit in my car and wonder when I would see her free of James again--and I really didn't want the two to see me driving behind them because I would end up looking like a mangy, starving mutt.
I parked in a strategic place: at the south corner of our court house right on Main St., where I could see everyone go and come by and keep account of Frankie and James. The time was 8:30 pm and when 930 pm came, I couldn't believe my eyes. There went Frankie in her own car and NO James! Alright then! Time for action. Got my BRUT cologne working and a starched print shirt. I looked hot.
Frankie followed me as I pulled out from where I was sitting and we met at a car lot on the outside of town and from there, I was in heaven. When she got out of her car, I almost died. She was wearing the prettiest, short skirt and top that I knew would cause a cardiac arrest. I was ready for some dangerous living. When she sat down in my car, I almost fainted from the subtle perfume she was wearing.
She smiled. I smiled. Then I broke the ice. "You look sensational, Frankie," I managed to say. I knew that my voice was shaking, but she didn't let on. "Is that a French perfume?"
"Yes, it is and I happen to know that James likes it," Frankie said very softly. I waited. But not one thank you, Kenneth, for the compliment. I guess that she was only playing hard to get.
"Do you want to go riding around and talk?" I asked.
"Sure. Sounds nice. That's what me and James do--except when we park for awhile," Frankie explained and now I was getting tired of hearing my best friend's name. I just happen to know that I was keeping a very lethal secret: James, you see, was dating this "One Night Stand" girl who really made him happy and in a few words told me that he wouldn't mind it if I dated Frankie. I was beginning to play the role of Benedict Arnold and I didn't care what the consequences were. I was in love and right then, I loved Frankie, short skirt, French perfume and all!
I was so glad that our ride was on a summer night because we had the car windows down and my car radio was set on WLS-Chicago . . .89 Rock WLS, the only station for me and my generation. (Nod to Roger Dalty and The Who "My Generation.) The night was rolling along quite quickly and I knew that I had better start making some major moves if I were going to keep Frankie interested.
"You want to go eat, Frankie?" I asked sounded out of breath.
"Naaah, I'm okay. I had something earlier--when James and I ate at this little place in Weston,"she explained in complete detail.
So we continued to ride, listen to WLS, and each time that I got my opportunity to talk, I would ask something about her, not her and James. I was purely driving a wedge between them and I was secretly hoping that she knew what I was doing.
"Frankie, I love you----(gulp) R, perfume," I said quickly. I almost said that (I love you.) Too early.
"Thanks, Kenneth. I am glad that you do because . . .I interrupted.
"James likes it. Right?" I asked.
Frankie giggled a little. Then I noticed her looking in her compact and I just knew that "this" was a female signal to tell me that I needed to stop in a secluded place and do some serious "talking."
And there it was. We had parked right back where we started: at the car lot that we parked at only two hours before. The hour was late. Not too many people on the road, so it was not only a logical, but wise choice in parking at that place.
We talked a bit. Shared a few of what we wanted when we graduated high school. Frankie went to a high school in a nearby town and I went to Hamilton (Ala.) High School, but when you're in love, a man knows no distance in miles. He only knows what his heart tells him that he wants and (right then) I wanted more than anything to kiss Frankie--and not one of those "cold fish" kisses on the cheek like a male cousin would kiss her, but a kiss from a guy who was so in love with her that when I did plant my lips on hers, she would see fireworks. Maybe a comet. All I knew was knowing the right moment to make my play for kissing her.
Two people can tell when the atmosphere changes between a guy and a girl and when it's time to get back on the road.
"Well, Kenneth. I've had a great time. I just wish that James had been along," Frankie said.
"Sweetie, are you just trying to make me upset?" I asked.
"I'm sorry. I have been talking about him too much. I am so sorry," Frankie said very humbly. Then her eyes hit mine. I had to do it! Now!
And when the moment came when I started toward her lips . . .her lips landed smack on . . .my forehead . . ."sweets, we will talk to you tomorrow afternoon--and be sure to tell James I said hi," Frankie said and let me just say: she did all of this, including the peck on my forehead in less than three seconds flat.
And really? Who kisses someone's forehead? Only grandparents, an uncle or aunt kisses the forehead.
I just sat there looking ignorant. Maybe this is all that this commentary needs to close.
© 2018 Kenneth Avery