She was my first high school girlfriend. I say “girlfriend” because we made out. I mean I had been kissed before but this was different. This was “making out.” Replete with 14- year-old effort of clumsy will, the full effect limited only by parent’s expected return.

We were from different sides of the tracks. She hailed from the town next door, I was from the gritty city. She went to a better all-girls school and her class “dirty girl,” always quick to go a button down on the school blouse, a few inches up on the skirt. I was an ersatz low-level juvenile delinquent, seemingly a public school quasi-truant, likely cannon fodder or a mill hand in waiting.

One night during a school dance we were so close a teacher came by and put himself between us. He was a big guy with a football player’s demeanor. He separated us by the length of his outstretched arms and said, “You’re going down the wrong road.”

But we hit it off in some chemical way, the attraction was immediate and without any semblance of boundary. She was ready and more than willing. I was beside myself knowing I had found a girlfriend who, in the parlance of the day, “gave out.” 

I would go over to her town whenever I could, hitchhiking. She would get a ride to the city on the pretense of shopping or some such thing. We were ahead of our time as a shopping mall item.

One day I suggested we walk over to the waterfall in my town, Lawrence MA. She said there was no waterfall in Lawrence. But there is, an industrial waterfall, built in the mid-1800s by forward thinking industrialists to capture the essence of the new force known as “electricity.”  The electricity would power the mills lining the Merrimack River from the White Mountains to its mouth on Plum Island. There we could make out.

Like most all young love we drifted apart after a while. We lost touch. I got out of high school and left that burg, never to live there again. I would go back though, every now and then to visit the old folks and such.

 A few years after being gone I zipped in for a spell to say hello to Mom and Dad. I was driving through a rough patch of town when I passed a dingy barroom, a place that had never known a better day that I was aware of. As I drove by the bar who should be walking out but my old high school girlfriend.

I flung the car to the side of the street, sat on the horn and called out to her. She saw me and ran right over, hopped in and we started to laugh. We laughed about this, we laughed about that. We drove over to the waterfall. We made out a bit.

She told me she worked out of that bar. She said she did a lot of business there. She was getting paid that way. She had gone down the wrong road. I had run away, not with the circus but with the drifting of the arts bum I had become.  Better road it was.

I bought her lunch. She took me over to her apartment, a seedy joint for sure but there were no parents expected to come home. We made out some more, we renewed our chemistry. Then I left. I haven’t seen her since.