11 January 2008

Sweet, sweet, Serentine

A while ago, I was talking with a teenager who wants to be a novelist when he grows up. "Really? Then I want to read something you've written," I said. He gave me the high school booklet that had his story in with a bunch of other students drawings, poems and stories. I read his and then some others and found that I truly enjoyed his much more than the rest. I wonder what you think...? -Sweet, sweet, Serentine- by F.K. I met her in first grade. Innocence was caked in our eyes and smeared all about our scrawny little frames. Inside, I suppose I was the same as I am now: contemplative, reasoning, always questioning. She was different and oh, we were in love. She had but to cast her laughing, secretive smile at me. The smile that said with the subtle, tricky shine in her eyes “I’ve traveled the world, time, space and beyond; and if I feel like it, I’ll take you with me.” I would be hooked, shot by her harpoon gun of curiosity. And all she had to do was reel me in. But, to my great, unyielding torture, she didn’t reel me in. I knew there was nothing to be done. I couldn’t just walk over to her during class. So I sat and waited for what seemed like an eternity. There were worksheets to be completed and they were sitting on the desk before me. But I couldn’t touch them to save my life. All I could do was watch the sweet, sweet Serentine. She looked back at me from where she sat by the window, while pointing out at the clouds, the trees and the birds. She showed me what we would look like if we could fly. She put into my head what it would be like to ride the cumulus from fiery dawn, to fiery sunset. She was beautiful, smart, and uproariously funny. We’d make silly faces at each other from across the room as we tried to suppress our laughter, so as not to be noticed. But it was always inevitable, being caught, and so horrible when it happened. The teacher would pause her lecture a spell, glance from me, to the window, and then back again. She’d open her mouth in hesitation to speak; close it again, and then let it all out. “Freddy, are you having troubles focusing?” I’d whip my head around and straighten up in my chair. “No Mrs. Hansen, I’m alright” Mrs. Hansen would give me her famous, narrow-eyed, truth serum stare. She could crack even the most experienced liars like an egg with that stare. I’d straighten up even more and swallow under her burning gaze. “Alll riiight.” She’d say in false satisfaction, before warily returning to her lecture. I’d fall back in my seat and gasp a sigh of relief. Then I’d check the clock, to find that there were only five minutes until recess, and all happiness would instantly be restored. Recesses with Serentine were unparalleled adventures, which put to shame any and all of humanity’s most compelling classics. The playground was our enigma. Tools in our hands, we were masters, elite craftsmen who could shape anything we wanted. Or we were pirates, lost at a torrential sea. We could be explorers in Antarctica, geologists in the belly of a churning volcano; it all depended on the day. But recess was short. It was a mere twenty-five minutes in which Serentine and I could play, be free with one another. And all too soon, the bells that signaled slavery were ringing in the distance. We’d return to our classroom still reveling in our grand and glorious adventures. I’d sit down at my desk, shaking from the adrenaline that still coursed through my veins, and start on my class-work. But it was futile. I’d cast a glance at Serentine, to find that she was looking at me as well. A few giggles would be exchanged, and we’d return to work. I’d begin reading a problem on my paper. I wonder if she’s still looking at me, another glance at Serentine, another round of giggles. Work was impossible. Now I didn’t even need Serentine to distract me, as I was distracting myself! I’d draw things in the margins of my worksheets, things related to the latest adventures Serentine and I had encountered. And from where Mrs. Hansen stood at the front of the class, it looked like I was working. But the fact remained: I wasn’t. When the time came to turn in my papers, I had nothing to show for my time save the drawings that I’d come to adorn my papers with. And so the trouble started. Through all my flirtations and adventures with Serentine, I was left with no time to complete my assignments. One or the other had to go. But both seemed so crucial, so great that I couldn’t live without them. The right choice had to be school. I got to school the next morning and sat down at my desk. Taking care not to look at the window, as that’s where Serentine sat, I pulled out my worksheets and began to fill in the answers. Things were going well. I had gotten a whole answer down! Suddenly, a boy dropped his pencil across the room. I looked over to where he stooped down to pick it up, and there sat Serentine; Sweet, sweet Serentine. She was smiling again, show-boating that dazzling set of brown eyes, with that sly and tricky twinkle. My heart warmed and swelled for her. I wanted to run away with her once more, travel some distant planet, or brave some raging sea. She was a beautiful girl, who’d seen many strange and beautiful things. She could show them to me. In all their foreign, magical glory she could show me all the places she’d been. All I had to do was follow. All I could do was follow. Physically and mentally I believe I had no other choice. And so it was: I chose to travel with Serentine; and that made all the difference. No one has really understood me since then: the day I first met Serentine. Some have pitied me; seen me as diseased or cursed with a wandering mind. Others have simply seen me as a freak. But I think I’m just the same as anyone else. I’ve come to the conclusion that Serentine could have gone to anyone in the world, regardless of his or her normalcy. But she chose me, and I am made to live with that. Alas, it is even as I write these words that Serentine is standing at the windows, gazing out at the nature beyond. We’ve both matured since we first met. Our adventures are less spontaneous; more planned by plot and reason. She’s coming over to me now, pulling at my hand in want for me to follow. She wants to take me to the depths of space and time to where a foundation’s being laid in the stars, a genesis, over which we are made the overseers. We’ve many places to be and people to see, but many more to create. Can you believe it? After all the adventures I’ve seen with her, all the battles we’ve lost and won together: she’s finally showing me where she came upon the twinkle in her eyes. It’s at times like these I’m eternally grateful I indulged in the sweet, sweet Serentine.

5 comments:

DeepSpacePilot said...

i can tell just by the way he writes... that he is definitely the most attractive man in the world.

Trisha said...

He is very dreamy and magical. I wasnt sure if Serentine was even real. He has great descriptions. He is sure to do big things.

cazmom said...

Wow - I didn't know he could write like this. I'm very impressed. I wonder if I know Serentine... I hope I see more of him on Sundays.

DeepSpacePilot said...

ah. but you do know her, cazmom.

you've only just met her this morning.

Brenda said...

Well written memoir of grammar school first-love. Reminded me of Charlie Brown and the little red-haired girl.