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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)

By Paul Potenza



It's tough to be cool when you're fourteen years old, stand five foot two and weigh over 200 pounds.

You kind of want to be thought of as Clint Eastwood but the general consensus among your peers is that you look more like Clint's horse. It certainly doesn't help when you have a nose that arrives wherever you're going five minutes ahead of you. Couple that with the fact that you have an acne problem that would actually make dogs whine and slide under the nearest pickup truck at your mere approach.

Yup...That was me...ol' Zit Fatwood.

And Zit had a crush on Kathy. You talk about opposites! She was the most sought after girl in school. Kathy had long golden hair. The best way to describe it is from a Guns and Roses song called Sweet Child Of Mine. The lyrics go "Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place where as a child I'd hide...and wait for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by." Her spring lake blue eyes could cause my brain to short circuit and disengage so that when I casually sauntered up to her to try to talk about a homework assignment, my brain would become unhinged and I would babble like a cretin (calmly exuding cold sweat) until she would leave in search of someone without an apparent speech impediment.

But there was that one glorious day.

School was out for the summer and I was making a daily practice of walking past Kathy's house on the off chance that she would be out in her yard and recognize me and maybe even invite me in for a glass of lemonade. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times a day I walked by her house. (815) I know!! Pathetic...right? That shows what you know.

One day on only trip number 314 she actually WAS out and she DID recognize me and asked me to come in! Ha HA! I could feel the Clint gene kick in. She introduced me to her father and we obtained permission to go into the den and listen to 45's on her record player. She even produced a pitcher of lemonade and some cookies that tasted like blackboard chalk but hey...when you're a stranger in Nirvana you don't gripe about the fare.

I learned a lot about her that day. Turns out she had problems too and once I found that out I began to see her as a friend. We talked a lot after that and even became a little closer than good buddies. Don't get me wrong. We weren't lovers but we were more than friends.

The next year I moved. I joined the wrestling team and lost fifty pounds. My acne cleared up and I grew six inches. But I never spoke to or heard from her again. I think of her a lot now that I'm an old man and I wonder.

What I wonder most about is does this story play out more than for just me? Are the Zit Fatwoods of today any different? Do they still think they are the first ones to go through this?

Kathy...If you ever read this...Thank You...

And Kathy...I miss you.

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This article has been read 441 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tanya Janoski07/23/09
I really liked you article. It was so honest and very endearing!
Seema Bagai 07/24/09
A sweet story. Good writing.
diana kay07/26/09
thank you. Well written. I got a little confused with the first paragraph being adressed to the reader in the second person and preferred the I..... when it strated. I think you got into the emotions and angst of a teenage boy well and liked the descriptions of his appearance. I liked the humourous style too.
Gregory Kane07/26/09
Your story has a great voice. I love the attention to trivial detail that is so typical of that age group. Also some great use of appropriate language.
I wasn't sure about the Guns'n Roses reference when the episode was presumably set about forty years in the past. (Maybe the Beatles?) But the sudden transition from teen to old man made for a terrific comparison with today's youth and their preoccupations.
Brenda Welc07/27/09
Good writing!
Norma-Anne Hough 07/29/09
Truly lovely story. I loved it. Well done.