One Fall in New Hampshire Part 01
One Fall in New Hampshire
This Kiss that wasn’t Supposed to Happen
Laurie sang as I played her guitar. The song she was singing, and I was playing was “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray.
We were sitting with our backs to a granite boulder. The Pemigewasset River burbled over and around its rocky bottom only a few yards beyond our feet. Laurie and I were hidden from the sight of her house mom and dad by a row of evergreens.
Her left shoulder pressed against my right shoulder. Her left leg pressed against my right leg. I played for Laurie. She sang for someone else. I pretended she sang for me.
The granite was cool against our backs. A half-moon lit the river. The song ended.
Laurie turned her face toward me. I released the neck of the guitar and lightly brushed her cheek. Her eyes closed. Her lips puckered ever so slightly.
Knowing I shouldn’t, I leaned in and pressed my lips to hers. Laurie didn’t resist. She returned my kiss. The kiss began to deepen and grow more passionate
Laurie suddenly pulled away.
“I, uh, I should get inside,” she stammered. “It’s getting late, and tomorrow I have to…I’ve got a…”
“Yeah,” I said. “Me, too. I should probably head back to the dorm.”
Why the Kiss wasn’t Supposed to Happen
I rose carefully so as not to endanger Laurie’s guitar. She’s already started in the direction of her boarding house. Her room was one of three on the second floor of the house rented to female college students by the couple who owned the house. The couple lived on the first floor.
Laurie stopped when she got to the porch. She turned around, and said, “Ren, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I shouldn’t lead you on. You know I’m in love with Mick, even if he hasn’t figured it out yet.”
Mick was my roommate. He and Laurie had been best friends in high school but never dated. Laurie came to Plymouth State because Mick did. I’d met them at Freshman Orientation. They were both from New Hampshire and had taken this North Carolina boy under their wing.
“Laurie, you know Mick’s seeing someone. He stays at her place almost every night.”
“I know,” Laurie replied. “I don’t care. He’ll come around and realize I’m the right girl for him.
“And I know you think you have feelings for me, Ren, and maybe you do, but we can never be. Please understand. I don’t want to lose you as a friend, but we can never be more than friends.”
I’d always known Laurie, and I would never get together. Knowing it hadn’t stopped me from hoping. When she’d kissed me, I thought, for just a moment that maybe…but no.
I handed Laurie her guitar. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said.
Bridge over the Pemi
Laurie’s boarding house was across the river from the main campus of Plymouth State. My dorm was on the east end of school. It was coed-ish. Girls lived on the odd numbered floors and guys on the even, except for the first floor. That’s where the kitchen, common room, game room, and laundry room were. The room I shared with Mick was on the fourth floor.
Since Mick met Dianna, I’d had the room pretty much to myself. She lived in an apartment over the drug store on Main Street. She was four years older than Mick and me and worked part-time at the bank.
I stopped in the middle of the pedestrian walkway along the bridge across the Pemigewasset River and watched what moonlight there was play on the wavelets the water made as it splashed over the abundance of rocks on the river bed. Watching the river always refreshed my spirit.
My spirit needed a lot of refreshing. Plymouth, New Hampshire was eight hundred miles from Buzby Beach, North Carolina where I’d grown up. Lured by the promise of a new and exciting life among the lakes, rivers, and mountains of New Hampshire, I’d left my home and friends and moved north with my family right after high school graduation.
Making Friends and Making Out
I’d made new friends since arriving. I’d even had a couple of short-term girlfriends with benefits. I’d hoped my friendship with Laurie would grow to be something more meaningful than those brief affairs. My hope had been in vain.
Leaving the river to the moon, I continued to my dorm. A familiar voice called out just as I started through the door.
“Hold the door, please,” Taylor called out as she came running from the direction of the Student Union.
“Oh, hi, Ren,” she said when she got close enough to see it was me holding the door.
“Hi, Taylor,” I responded.
Several seconds of awkward silence ensued. Taylor was one of my brief affairs. It had started at two in the morning one warm night when I’d had the window by my bed and the door to my room both open to get some breeze. The dorms were not air-conditioned.
Taylor had been walking down the hall, having gotten off the elevator on the wrong floor after visiting a female friend in the dorm across from ours. She saw my open door and walked in to find me awake. We started talking and ended up sharing my bed.
The next morning Mick found us tangled up in my sheets, sound asleep, and completely nude. Taylor came awake with a start, hurriedly picked up her clothes, covered herself, and left without so much as a look back. She’d barely spoken to me since then.
“So, what were you up to tonight?” Taylor asked while we waited for the elevator. She lived on the fifth floor.
“I was hanging out with Laurie, playing guitar and stuff,” I answered. “How about you?”
“I was studying with Rochelle over at the Student Union,” Taylor said. “She’s still over there talking to some guy.
“So, are you and Laurie together now?”
I began to think about taking the stairs. The dorm’s elevator was slow and often out of order.
“Me and Laurie, no,” I said with a sad laugh. “She’s too hung up on Mick.”
“Isn’t Mick seeing someone?” Taylor asked.
“Laurie says she isn’t worried about that,” I told Taylor. “She’s convinced he’ll come around and realize he’s supposed to be with her.”
“What do you think?” Taylor asked.
“I think I’ll take the stairs,” I said, changing the subject. “Elevator’s probably busted again.”
Taylor shook her head and followed me to the stairwell door.
“I feel bad for the kids who live on the sixth and seventh floors,” she said. “At least you only have four flights, Ren. I’ve got five.”
Did I Say That?
How the next words found their way into my mouth, I will never know.
“You could save yourself a few steps and stay in my room,” I suggested.
Taylor stopped climbing and grabbed my hand. “I’d like that, Ren.”
“Really?” I said.
“I don’t blame you for thinking I didn’t want to see you again. It’s not that. I just freaked out when your roommate walked in on us and then I was too embarrassed to talk to you.”
“Mick will be spending the night at Dianne’s place tonight,” I assured Taylor. “And I’ll leave a sock on the doorknob.”
Taylor smiled and started up the stairs again. She followed me through the stairwell door out onto the fourth floor and to my room.
When Mick got to the dorm the next morning, he saw the sock on the doorknob and knocked before coming in.
The story of One Fall in New Hampshire continues in Part 2.
- One Fall in New Hampshire Part 02
Taylor leaves Ren confused, Laurie leaves him conflicted, and then he runs into Piano Girl.
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© 2019 DW Davis