Monday, March 5, 2007

1957 Boy Watching

“Hi Angela.” I call out and wave to my friend.
After school we rushed home to change out of our uniforms. Black eyeliner, thick mascara and paler than pale pink lipstick now masks our faces. We are dressed in our going out on display outfits. Cardigans buttoned-down the backs to imitate the sweaters American girls wear on the television shows. Circular skirts puffed out by net petticoats around our nylon clad shapely legs shown off by three-inch stiletto heels, toes cruelly crushed in the points of the latest fashion shoes. We giggle as we make our way down town like two bright peacocks with feathers gloriously displayed for the opposite sex.

Purple People Eater is blaring loudly from the jukebox, the top ten hit booming so loudly that I can feel the rhythm through my skin and into my bones. The song finishes then plays over again. Angela says the singer is Don Lang, and he used to live a few door down from her in Halifax before he became famous and moved away from Yorkshire to somewhere posh down London way.

We slip passed tightly packed bodies into the Bon Bon cafe, the most popular place for teenagers to graze and gaze. We buy espresso coffee and flirt with the dark handsom Greek Cypriot boy behind the counter. He’s the son of the café owner, about our age but not part of the group. Our coffee sweetened we carried our cups and saucers over to a booth less crowded than some of the others. We squeeze ourselves in next to a group of older girls who turn away and ignore us. Settled, we surveyed the male talent.

Angela spots one of the senior-form boys from our school. “That’s Paul,” Angela said, "He’s really popular with the girls.”

“Well, he’s way better looking than most of the boys in our class.” I tell her.

She waves to him and to her surprise he saunters nonchalantly over to our booth and says hello. We squeeze up so that he can sit with us, but disappointingly, he is not interested in us. Its the smiling older girl sitting next to Angela who captures his longing gaze. Taking the hint we reluctantly slide out of the seat and let him crawl in next to her.

Dismissed, we resume our survey of the crowd and spot two nice looking boys that are giving us the eye.

Angela says, “I’ll take the tall dark good-looking one.”

“Okay.” I agree. It is her turn to get first choice. We always take turns; after all, it doesn't really matter. The boys are just a decorative divergence for a few hours; we aren’t going to date them or anything because Angela and I have plans. We are going to join the Air Force and become pilots and travel the world.

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