Picture it, a little girl, eleven years old starting the 6th grade, she’s got curly, long brown hair, big brown eyes and she doesn’t know a single soul. Picture it, a boy: eleven years old, black hair, crew-cut, wearing huge black rimmed glasses that magnify his big blue eyes, who really, really likes the girl with the curly, long brown hair. He is inspired to try to get her out behind the play-shed where he can steal a kiss whenever possible. The little girl considers him a weird genius, sticks him in her geek category, and tries to avoid him for the next six years.
She plays hard to get until one fall evening at a Halloween party at the skating rink, she lets him partner her around the floor. He tries to hold her too close, but it’s kind of fun to keep pushing him away. At sixteen the girl decides that it’s not so bad to have a boy want to kiss you, get close to you. She thinks the boy is still weird and a geek, but he’s kind of cute.
A couple of days later the geeky boy calls the girl and asks her if she wants to go for a scooter ride up into the coast range. It’s drizzly cold, about forty-five degrees, but sure, hey, why not, this girl’s got nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.
Best day of her life—working as a team, they push the low-powered scooter up the mountain. In the deep woods, with tall, dripping fir trees and fern all around, the boy builds her a shelter out of fir tree boughs. Because they stowed their lunches in a little compartment next to the scooter motor, for lunch they eat melted candy bars, half cooked bananas and squishy peanut butter sandwiches. They talk about what they want to do after high school. He wants to go to Alaska, she doesn’t know what she wants, but she likes it that he knows what he wants.
The boy can quote Henry David Thoreau, which impresses the heck out of her. In a few weeks, she’ll discover he can play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata all the way through. And the kiss’s they share are sweet and gentle, not at all grasping or forced like the other boys this little girl has dated. The silences they share are comfortable, neither feeling the need to speak. Being together, holding hands is all the communication they need.
Fifty years later, metaphorically speaking, that girl and that boy still have to push their scooter up that mountain, but together they will do it.