Three And A Half Years

Three and A Half Years



The summer of 1962 was like any other summer, hot and smelly, the way a city with its concrete, bricks and asphalt can be. The Beatles hadn’t made the charts yet but the Belmonts were going strong. Bobby liked them and would be a follower of the former when they became a hit.

Sherry liked the Belmonts ok but life for her right now was a jumbled mess. Even the new group, The 4 Seasons, and their song with her name in it didn’t give her much of a lift. Bobby thought it was cool.

He would walk down the street in his tight levy’s and white T-shirt with a pack of Kools rolled in the sleeve making sure his Flagg Brothers’ loafers made the right sound on the pavement as he strolled though he would never say he strolled. To him it was more like a strut.

He always made sure to be on her street even though it was not in his neighborhood. He was big for an inner city, high school junior, six foot one and built like the guy in the Charlie Atlas ad like whom the other boys wanted to look. Being out of his neighborhood never bothered him much. He carried himself with an intimidating confidence.

Sherry didn’t let him know he impressed her, she was coy. After all, like he, she was only three and a half years away from adulthood. To the adults they were three and a half years out of grade school.

As on most summer days, Sherry was on her stoop reading Teen Beat or one of those novels that gives false hopes to inner city girls who sit on stoops. But she didn’t see it that way at all. Bobby somehow always managed to muscle hopelessness out of her mind. But she was coy.

He always strolled/strutted on her street alone though he was popular with the other guys in his neighborhood. His self-assured machismo was attractive to them. Here he would be, and didn’t mind being a bit softer although he would never admit he was being softer.


Sherry was popular with the girls in her neighborhood as well though this summer she managed to find a way to be alone on the stoop in the morning when it was time for Bobby to pass. She could always hear him coming, his transistor would be on with the latest songs crackling through the lone speaker. She laughed most times without his knowing that to her he was never in step with the music. She thought he was trying to impress her with his rhythm.

She let him pass twice from one corner of the block to the other before she let him know she looked up from her reading and acknowledged him.

“Bobby McAlister, haven’t you got anything better to do than walk around all day listening to rock and roll?”

Three and a half years from adulthood.

He strolled/strutted a few feet past her stoop, kicked a small pebble the was lying on the sidewalk then spun around, almost losing his balance and said, “Nope.”

Three and a half years out of grade school.

He reached her stoop in a step or two, placed his elbow on the railing and displayed his bulges for her by flexing his bicep while placing his left foot on the second step.

“Well you ought to. What do you think you’re going to do with your life? Listen to rock and roll?”

“I could think of worse things to do,” he answered as a Volkswagen tweeted its horn as if to emphasize the point.

“Well there’s more to life than rock and roll.” She said. With that a delivery truck shouted its air horn. Sherry sat up straight pushing her bulges against the too tight blouse and looked at him as if to say “THERE, He agrees!”

Bobby invited himself to sit a couple of steps below her as he always did and for the next hour they sat in the shade the buildings provided and talked about things of interest to high school juniors, nothing important to anyone except high school juniors soon to be seniors. Three and a half years out of grade school.

The talk soon turned to places away from the city with its air that was palatable. They talked of places with grass and trees and cool breezes. The talk was like English class, compare and contrast, though they had no idea it was. To them it was talk three and a half years from adulthood.

Then they got into similes and metaphors.

“Bobby, you remind me of a mountain sometimes and at others a hill.”

He looked at her with a look that to her seemed like confusion though she would never tell him and he would never admit it.

“I mean that at times I can’t see any way over you or around you and at other times you are easy for the feelings to get over.”

He now had a look of hurt on his face as he ran his fingers through his ducktails.

“You want to get over me?”

“I didn’t mean that at all Bobby McAlister. I meant you are easy to be with.”

Bobby smiled and she could tell it was from somewhere inside of him, three and a half years from grade school.

“Sherry,” he said then paused. He shifted his tight clad legs and looked at the sidewalk to perhaps find the words he was looking for strutting by.

“I think,” He continued haltingly. “you… remind me of…” he now searched the walls of the buildings on the other side of the street. They were there perhaps, the right words. Three and a half year from adulthood they were hard to find.

“of….of…. a flower.” He caught a piece of the song on the radio that had been turned down long ago, down not off.

Sherry wondered what a boy like Bobby would know about flowers. She was more interested in finding out.

“not a rose, everyone compares a woman to a rose. Nope, not you at all.” He continued confidently.

She was even more interested now.

“you remind me of a daylily.”

Goodness, she thought, not knowing whether he complimented her or cut her down. She waited for him to go on.

“Roses require a lot of care or they have lots of problems. Yep, they’re pretty and all but if left alone they will turn wild or die.”

Sherry was impressed.

“A daylily is pretty too and they can grow anywhere. You don’t have to baby them as much and they will keep multiplying.”

She was really impressed that an inner city guy who had to be tough to survive would have a side that was this soft. She was also impressed how he could maintain his tough image sitting on her stoop talking about flowers.

“Bobby McAlister, how do you know about flowers?” She didn’t let him know he impressed her.

“Aw, it ain’t nuthin’. I read about them last week.” He said as he ran his fingers through his hair making sure to flex his bicep for her. He knew that would impress her. He wanted to let her know he didn’t have to wait three and a half years to be an adult.

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Sassylass's picture


can't be admired about this well written short story, Michael?

it had all elements of a story set in, probably NY. at a time when all that was written here, was happening. It has every attribute of an excellent story that made me smile at it's " Happy Days" images and the in between years setting of high school. Oh so grown up, but not yet grown up. Feeling the need to impress a girl which would carry him into manhood, but awkward and insecure inside, yet. This should not be published here in a poetry site. It should have been kept to really publish it. It's quality writing, enjoyable, I,loved it,but then I got it for free. . Keep some back for your book. you know! That is if you haven't already done so. I'll buy a copy when you do!



PS, if able, I'll be back to read more:)

Poetry is passion,imagination & soul mixing together....



michael's picture

Late Thanks.

Koko, I have noticed that you replied to several of my pieces and regretably I have not visited yours. I appologise and will do so in the very short future. Thank so much. I had fun writing this piece because though I may have days such as this in my teen years I did not live in their environment. The research for this was enjoyable and the images that came into my imagination were as well. I am glad you liked it enough to comment on it and appreciate all your comments. Take care.