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me smile. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror and thought about Jeannie’s laugh. I watched my cheeks flush and the edges of my mouth curve up without my permission. I tried it over and over again, and just knowing it was her that caused it made me smile even more. From that day on, every time I saw Jeannie in the morning, that dopey song by Paul Anka, “Puppy Love,” would start to play in my head. It was another one of my mother’s favorites, the kind of song that would make Jeannie gag: sweet and slow. But I couldn’t help it, every song was about her. I wanted to hold her hand, she made me twist and shout, and I gave her all my loving from the moment I saw her standing there. I wanted a poster of her on my wall like other girls had posters of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Before then, I didn’t even know I could feel something like that. When girls asked me which Beatle I liked best, I’d say Paul because that’s what everyone said. I’d see girls swoon and scream for them, but Jeannie and I were above it. Or so I thought. I wanted to swoon when Jeannie held my chin to put my mascara on in the morning, and when she grabbed my hand to pull me onto the bus, I wanted to scream. We went to see My Fair Lady and I grabbed Jeannie’s hand during the very first song. She giggled and didn’t let go. I had no idea if it made her stomach do the twist like it made mine, but something about the way she fought a smile every time she looked at me made me think it did. I didn’t know what any of it meant, I just knew how I felt. I’d never so much as heard of a word for it, much less did I know anyone else who felt the same about girls. It wasn’t something good Catholic girls talked about. If I had, my parents would have sent me to a doctor. Women were supposed to marry men. The Bible and Father Pilliad and the Sisters and, of course, my parents all agreed it was a woman’s duty to serve her husband. And there was only one way out of that: become an old maid—maybe even a nun. The alternatives didn’t even bear mentioning; my mother would disown me. “Why do you like Ringo?” I asked over “I’ll Follow the Sun.” It had only come out two days ago, but I’d already heard it a dozen times. Kramer 35

Profile for Red Cedar Review

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

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