Tender Be The Young Love
Beneath the Arms of That Old Maple Tree
By Richard Mabey Jr.
This scene begins a series of fictional writings of a love story that I am working on. It is one scene from a book in progress. The book is tentatively titled “Tender Be The Young Love.” The book is in first person, seen from the eyes of the central character, Richard Meaden Jr.
My name is Richard Meaden Jr. At 61, I find myself looking back at all of the charm and majesty of my first true love, Jennifer Lands. I’m presently working in the Security Division of a gated community in Central Florida, where I presently live. Most of the time, I man a Gatehouse. It gets lonely at times. During those lulls, I find myself looking back at a bygone era of my life; a special time when I dated my first true love.
In the Fall of 1971, I remember how special Wednesday afternoons were. I was in my freshman year at a community college in northern New Jersey. I had purposely set up my classes so that I would have my classes from eight in the morning till two o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesdays. That gave me time to drive my Ford Falcon from the town of Randolph, where my community college was located, to the city of Paterson, where my girlfriend Jennifer Lands lived.
Jennifer was an only child. She was a senior at Eastside High School. On Wednesday afternoons, I would drive my white Falcon to the front door of Eastside High and wait for Jenny to come out the door. My heart would beat like an old bass drum, in anticipation of seeing my beautiful girlfriend.
I always waited for Jenny, standing outside my old 1961 Falcon. Leaning on the front passenger’s door, I would stand cross-armed awaiting her presence. One minute would seem like an hour.
I remember seeing Jenny stepping out of Eastside High. I would wave my right hand high into the air, so that she could easily find me in the midst of all the hundreds of students pouring out of the four-story high school. Jenny would find me and come running over to me.
She would have three or four books in her arms. I remember how she would put the books down on the hood of my car and give me a kiss and a hug. I remember how, in those very moments, I considered myself to be so very fortunate. For truly, Jennifer was an incredibly beautiful girl.
“I can’t wait to tell you about my day,” Jenny would say as I opened the front door for her. Inevitably Jenny would notice something new about the interior of my car. And, as I opened my front door and hopped into the car, Jenny would say something like, “I see you got a new air freshener!”
It could be the simplest thing in the world. Even as simple as a new air freshener. But, Jenny had a way of making the simplest thing seem grand and glorious. It was one of the qualities that I loved so much about her.
“My friend Tammy is going to have a sleep over Friday night. But, I told her that I have plans to go to the movies with my college boyfriend. Oh, Richard, you should have seen the look on her face. She was so jealous,” Jenny would tell me as we drove to the Paterson Library.
It was a regular routine on Wednesday afternoons, driving to the library on Wednesday afternoons. Jenny was an avid reader. She loved the library. I have to admit, I rather liked the big city library myself.
As we drove to the library, Jenny would go on and on about how she bragged to all her friends about her college boyfriend. Jenny had such a way to make me feel as though I was the Prince of Wales!
I remember that we had a special parking place at the library. It was beside this tall maple tree. It was our tree. I remember so very well, how Jenny would call it “Richard and Jenny’s special tree.”
The tree was a little bit out of the way, in the parking lot. A rare commodity for a big city. I remember how I would turn the car key off and Jenny would sit so very close to me. She would run her hands through my hair and mess my hair up. I would have spent so much time combing my hair just so for her, while I was sitting in my old Falcon, parked outside of Eastside High waiting for her. Then, in five seconds, Jenny would totally mess up my hair and laugh.
“You better not be flirting with all those cute college girls, you hear me boy,” Jenny would teasingly say to me. Even though she would say those words with a cutesy voice, there was an undertone of being very serious.
“Jenny, I don’t even look at those college girls. I think about you all day long, even when I’m in my classes,” I would sincerely tell Jenny.
“You better be true to me. You’ll break my heart if you aren’t true to me. You hear me boy wonder,” Penny would seductively say to me.
“I’ll be true to you for all the time that the sun sets and the moon rises,” I would earnestly say to Jenny.
Then we would kiss and kiss and kiss, and then kiss some more, in my old Ford Falcon beneath the arms of that towering old maple tree.
To be continued…….