Sparks from Maddie: Music, teenager, soccer
‘Socks” – by Ro
When she agreed to participate in the time exchange program, Emily so hoped it would be a cool decade like the twenties. She dreamed of wearing a flapper dress and swing dancing in a speakeasy with a dark and mysterious man, sneaking into places she was not supposed to be as a teenager. When she found out she’d be going back to 1953, she was crestfallen. Doo Wop music and sock hops?
She wondered what kind of person she would find and convince to come back to the present with her. It was a tough job, explaining the technology of now to someone in the past and she was selected because of her ability to charm people and explain things in a way that didn’t totally freak them out. She wanted to find a boy to bring back with her. What sixteen year old girl doesn’t want to find a boy? Boys were all she thought about aside from soccer anyway. She just hoped she could find a good one; watching television shows set in the fifties didn’t give her much hope. She dreaded walking around in saddle shoes and saying swell all the time.
On the first day of classes in 1953 after saying goodbye to the chaperones playing her parents, Emily walked to school in a pink poodle skirt and white sweater, her blond hair tied in a high Barbie style ponytail with a pink ribbon. She plastered a fake sweet smile on her face as she walked into the crowded halls. Girls approached her, fawning over her skirt, asking where she was from. Her rehearsed story flooded out of her mouth with exaggerated giggles and lots of, “yes, it’s swell to be here” and “golly, I like your hair”. She inwardly rolled her eyes at the way the girls talked and how the boys looked in their sweaters and neatly styled hair. She decided she’d just find someone quickly, knock them out if she had to so she could get back to the present and return to the soccer field.
Then she saw him. Leaning cooly against a locker, his black hair slicked back and shiny, matching his tight black t-shirt. He chewed a toothpick and stared at her, while similarly dressed boys goofed off around him. Oh God, thought Emily. This is just like ‘Grease’! She gave him a shy smile and raised her left eyebrow ever so slightly. The corners of his mouth twitched in return and he punched the boy nearest him, nodding his head in Emily’s direction as she passed, her eyes locked on his. The other boys settled down and leaned, putting on their cool faces as she strode by. Emily gave them all a wink and wanted to stop and talk, but girls who looked like her back in the fifties didn’t talk to boys who looked like them. She resolutely promised herself to find a way.
The time came that afternoon and she didn’t even have to work on it. He came to her as she walked home from school. Suddenly he was by her side saying hello. She shot a winning smile at him as he said his name was Billy.
“You’re from the future, aren’t you,” he stated after she told him her name. Emily stopped dead in the middle of the tree lined sidewalk and gaped at him. “Your socks, little pink Nike swoosh?” He clicked his tongue at her, shaking his head.
Her stomach flipped. Everyone she knew wore some symbol of the present when they did time exchange. It was a popular trick, make people of the past think it was something cool from another city. She stared at him in shocked silence. How did he know what the Nike swoosh was?
“Me too,” he said laughing. “Only I chose to stay. Don’t look at me like that, you can stay you know. It’s kinda cool to be part of the past knowing what the future holds.” He reached out and placed a finger gently under her chin, closing her mouth. His touch sent a shiver down her spine.
“How do you,” she stammered, losing words.
“Go from town to town telling a bad family sob story, find someone to take me in, it’s easy.”
“Why, but why?” Her voice was high pitched and squeaky with the question.
“I got nothing’ to go back to. My bad family story isn’t a lie, it’s just a lie in this time period, you know? Wanna stay with me? Hop a train?” he winked at her and her heart fluttered.
Perfect, she thought. She was falling for a boy who wouldn’t go back with her. This had not been in the plan. They stopped next to a park and Billy gestured toward the swings. She followed him and sat down hard, not moving. Billy began swinging jovially, laughing at her look of incredulity. She began to question him at length about what it was like to stay, finding the idea somewhat appealing especially when he talked about the freedom from cell phones and laptops.
“If you’re not home, you’re just not home. You’re not tied to anything. There’s no hours and hours spent on computers, your butt going numb looking up stupid useless videos. It’s freedom from technology here and if I live long enough, I’ll get to see it all start, you know? Life is easier here, when you know what the future is like.”
She nodded, understanding how awesome that would be. The thought of living forever without a cell phone was scary and enticing at the same time. And Billy was gorgeous!
They sat in the swings not moving, Billy gazing at her. He took the chain of her swing and pulled her close to him. “Think about it,” he said, his fingers suddenly caressing the back of her neck and her heart pounded under his stare as he gently kissed her, sending jolts of electricity all the way down to the Nike swooshes on her socks.
To be continued…