Friday, June 17, 2005

Magic Johnson Vs. Miss Jackson

While I was watching the NBA finals yesterday, they showed a clip of a game that took place in 1987 between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers. It was a dramatic finish in which Magic Johnson pulled into the Garden's lime green key and executed a perfect running sky hook, right Converse high in the air, like a long distance lay up. With only 2 seconds left, it was the game-winner.

A Laker fan by birthright, this highlight should have stood out in my mind crisply, especially considering the constant grief my friends gave me for not supporting our state's only pro team, the Portland Trail Blazers. But for some reason, it didn't seem as easy to remember as, say, Kirk Gibson's gimpy homerun trot around the bases, revving his arm like a lumberjack starting an invisible chainsaw.

"Why is that?" I pondered as I rewound back almost twenty years in my mind. Then it came to me: It was on that warm June night that I kissed a girl for the first time.

I heard that Miss Jackson had a crush on me, but during those first days of summer vacation when the air smells of fresh cut grass and gnats glow in the setting sun until 9:30, it didn't register as something terribly important. After all, my friend Matt was having a slumber party and all us dudes were gonna watch a basketball game followed by a George Carlin stand-up video, followed by "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." It was even slightly embarrassing when she showed up before the game by herself (she only lived a block away) and asked to talk to me in the street in front of his house. But my friends said to go for it, so I did.

She stood there wearing short white shorts, thick white socks, clean white Keds, a turquoise t-shirt, and a white smile exaggerated by her half-Native-American complexion and bracketed by deep dimples in her cheeks. I remember that she looked pretty there in the golden light with her brown eyes, brown hair and white teeth. As you might imagine, the conversation died as quickly as it started, leaving us to stand in nervous silence.

"Well?" she asked, lowering her chin to look up at me.

"Um. I better get back to the game." I replied.

"Yeah, you better," she smiled with a hint of mischief.

"Yep." And no sooner had I said it than I was leaning in, leading with my lips. She took my clumsy advance without a flinch. As a matter of fact, her lips were soft and open when mine arrived and her tongue soon crept out and touched my mouth like sea life emerging from coral. Our tongues chased each other gently and I swooned at the sensation of wet on wet, mapping every taste bud and smelling her mother's lotion on her skin. It probably only lasted five seconds. Or was it five minutes? Then she said "bye, call me," and walked back down the hill to her house.

As I climbed the steps to where my awkward friends were already cheering for Larry Bird like crazed Bostonians through their braces, I glanced up at the spastic bats that flapped and dodged in manic circles above, feeling their way through the sky. I was acutely aware that this was the first day on my road to manhood. I never could have known how much like those bats I would become.

Music: Kings of Convenience - "Gold in the Air of Summer"
Pinback - "afk"

P.S. As I was thinking about this entry, I actually glanced over and noticed my yearbook from 1987. I flipped it open and found the place where she signed it:

"Rick - Here goes to a really nice guy! I'm glad that I got to know you better this year! I am still looking forward to inhariting the tremendous amount of money from you when you becoming a famous artist (Ha-Ha!) Well I hope that this year was satisfying to you! You're a really good B-ball player! Keep it up! Be positively sure to give me a couple calls this summer - 482 - ____! Have an infatuating summer! Love ya LOTS! [Miss] Jackson!

I gave her a couple calls that summer and we shared a couple more firsts. It was infatuating. But it didn't last. I also quit playing basketball the next year. Fifteen years later, ran into Miss Jackson at the Shanghai Tunnel bar here in Portland. She was still pretty.


harvest said...

nice blog, kook! let's see if this works....


dadio said...

Hey, Rick, I enjoyed the blog. The more I read your stuff, the more I think you should do this for a living...You're builing up a pretty good portfolio anyway.


der Sternemann said...

Nice story to remember.
Hi! My name is Bernardo and I also love to blog.

My current blog is "Pasillos de Klairebeaux". I'm Mexican and therefore write in Spanish.

Maybe you don't mind reading my stuff, but hope you read it once.

(I also support the Lakers from time to time, especially this time they made it to the Playoffs)

Go Lakers, go!

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