I was down in the big city a bit back. I was headed from here to there and the big city was halfway to there. My GPS device directed me down the byways that bordered my old neighborhood. I resisted the temptation to detour down the old street to see if the house was still in the condition we’d left it. I didn’t, however; I followed the directions of the lady in the box on my dashboard.
Going up an incline I slowed. Something looked familiar. I didn’t even know which street I was on. You know how those navigation devices are; they tell you what road’s ahead and what roads are branching off the one you’re on, but they do not tell you the name of the road you’re on. The familiarity of the place insisted I slow. I did. And then the sense of the familiar became so strong I stopped. I looked ahead. I looked back through the rearview mirror. I looked out the driver side window. And then I looked out the passenger side window. I had to dip my head a bit to see the house completely, but when I did the familiar became a palatable memory.
I pulled the car to the curb, pulled up the brake, place the gear in park, got out and looked more closely. Yep, it was the house. I was the house where Katie Watkins once lived. I looked down the incline in the direction I’d just come. Funny, back then this incline was a really steep hill. But it was a hill I was willing to climb because on this hill dwelled a goddess, Katie Watkins.
It was the summer following the sixth grade. Sometime after school was out I made the determination that I was in love with Katie Watkins. Who wasn’t? She was the blonde blue-eyed beauty of our class. She was smart as could be. She had these delightful dimples. Katie Watkins was … well, Katie Watkins was Katie Watkins and there was no one else quite like her. Katie watkins need to be made aware of my love.
I hopped on my bike and pedaled like a boy possessed. Remember that incline I spoke of above? Back then it was a hill, a steep, steep hill. I had to zig zag my bike up the hill. I couldn’t get off the bike and push, you see. Katie might see me and determine I wasn’t man enough for her. So I pushed the pedal down and then the other, over and over as I zig zagged and struggled toward my destiny.
Arriving at Katie’s driveway, I parked the bike, struggled to control my panting, walked up to Katie’s backdoor, Knocked and waited. “Can I help you?” asked the man who opened the door.
“I’d like to speak to Katie,” I said.
“Katie?” he said, brow wrinkled. And then he continued, “Oh, Katie, the Watkins’ girl. Oh, she’s not here. They moved to Oklahoma last month.”
Getting back in my car, I said thanks to my GPS for directing me up this road. The memory of Katie brought a smile.
Two weeks later, I ran into Elliott Simmons. He was in that sixth grade class, also. “You’ll never guess who I saw last week,” he said. “Katie Watkins. She asked about you.”Too bad. I’m older, more mature, no longer desperate. This time Katie will have to pedal up my hill.