Friday, September 4, 2015



Junior was a cocksucker. He was handsome and wild, but still a cocksucker, and a mean one. He’d fuck a snake if somebody held its head down.
And Corinne Steinberg almost loved him.
And I loved Corinne.
Junior was Italian; olive skinned, thin, eyes almost black, he had tattoos; he knifed people; he ate goof balls and was a junky, but he was cool; I had to give him that. I was Jewish, tall, but avoided looking too long at my body, blue-eyed, and dark haired; I was smart, I read, I wrote, I pretended. Corinne was beautiful, had a cat’s green eyes, a twenty year old body on a teenagers frame, and she was smarter than me, she liked what I wrote, we talked; she was an atheist Jew, like me.
I had a crush on her in the 8th grade; by the 9th I was madly in love with her. She gave me my first real hardon. It was magic like a Drifter’s song.
Corinne almost loved me, too: we held hands, kissed, talked about us, about our fucked-up parents, school, good teachers, bad teachers, teachers with dandruff or bad breath, plans, God might be alive or was positively dead, friends, and who really liked whom, music, and we kissed some more; she was confused, she said, about us. I understood, I pretended, and tried to kiss her again. She let me. She held back. She let me.
Ugly Wendy, who had an ass like a Montana mule, invited me to her graduation party. She shrewdly figured out, that love, too, was a numbers game: let enough boys get a feel of her tits and one of their hands has got to stick. She had strung up colored lights and balloons on her patio with the words, “We Made It,” on them. I thought those things stupid; I’d started smoking and doing things middle class Jewish kids were not supposed to do, like think. I’d already found Wendy and her friends pedestrian and boring, but Corinne assuredly was not, and was going to be there.
I was lying on one of those plastic chaise lounges thinking of Corinne going to a local high school when I’d be going to an out of town school that my father had been to when, like dreams, she just appeared and sat beside me. I cupped my smoke and gave her a drag. I looked at her; my chest was about to burst. I started to open my mouth when from the corner of my eye I saw a 1959 white Chevy Impala convertible with red leather seats pulling up to the curb and then Junior bounded out of the passenger side. He stumbled over the hedge and up to the patio where we sat. Both our backs stiffened. He slurred, “C’mon,” and grabbed her arm.
“Wait,” I began, and then, in slow motion, I saw a shiny blade he held to the side make a long circular turn and move into my thigh and then, with a snap, he’d broken off the handle.
My brain froze, my stomach seized; I lurched at him, but he already was pulling her away. My dungarees were oozing liquid and felt sticky. I grabbed at the piece of metal with my thumb and forefinger and tried to pull it out. The tips of my fingers slipped in blood slime. Panicking, I looked up for help.
Junior had pressed Corinne against a toolshed not far from the patio. I saw Junior’s thigh in-between Corinne’s legs. His body pushed into her. A look of fear braced her face, but her body arched toward his. I was going down.
Corinne visited me in the hospital and later when I recuperated at home. I could see how concerned she was and how embarrassed that she was the cause of my trauma. I told her it was O.K. and, looking away from me, she just shook her head then salty wet touched my lips.
We wrote and called each other through the fall foliage and first frost of winter. My body, finely tuned to our rhythms, felt the approach of each call, each letter. Christmas, we breathed, our skins would finally be fused. I had barely dropped off my duffle and said hello to my mother, when I rushed to her house a few blocks from mine. Her mother answered my ring and told me that Corinne would be down in a minute. I waited. The same tingle grew in my chest. I blew on my hands. She appeared in the doorway and the first thing I saw was her belly. It looked woman-sexy, like she had swallowed a new life. I felt Junior’s blade go in again.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2007-2015

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