Bliss Remembered, The Book
Yeah, I just didn't want to leave, Teddy. I mean, I'd completely forgotten about swimming. But I knew it was getting late, and so I asked him to take me home. He had a silver Opel roadster, and I remember driving back, how I noticed everything all around-things I hadn't paid any attention to on the way over. All that stuff about I only have eyes for you-I never felt that, Teddy. I think that when you're falling in love you see everything brighter and clearer. Everything is more vivid. That's what love does to the whole world around you.
"Mom, you're already in love with this guy?"
Teddy, I thought I had been crystal clear on that subject. What part of "head over heels" don't you understand? Do you think I'd be wasting all this who-shot-John if he was just a passing fancy?
"Well, it's just that-"
It's just that I had never felt like this in my life. Never. All I wanted was to get back to the Friesenhaus so he could kiss me good night. I was all scrunched up as close to him as I could get, and when he stopped the car out front he turned to me and put an arm around me. It was hard for a guy to drive a car with his arm around a girl in those days, Teddy, because you had to shift gears. So he turns to me, and he says: "Look, if you can't swim in the Olympics, wouldja like to come out to Grunewald, where there's this beautiful lake, and you could go swimming there ... with me?"
But then he shook his head. It was a set-up. "No," Horst said. "I don't know. One time at the Rot-Weiss Club-"
"The Rot-Weiss Club. That's red and white, rot-weiss."
"Oh, okay. Now Iknow two more words."
"Right. It's our best tennis club, and I got back from Lisbon, and I thought I was a pretty good player, so the pro suggested I play this girl, and I said, 'C'mon, I don't want to play any girl,' but he said she was pretty good, so I played her and guess what? She beat me straight sets. She was somethin' like the national junior champion."
"Well, it was humiliating. Getting beat by a girl. So Idon't know if Iwanna go swimming with you and get shown up."
"That's okay. I'll pretend I can only dog paddle, and you can rescue me."
He shook his head. "No, I don't know. Because now that I think about it, Sydney, I already know one other thing you do better than me."
He had me there. "What's that?"
"Kussen. You kiss better than me."
"No, I don't. You kussen much better."
He drew closer. "Well, let's see if we can settle the argument." I mean, can you believe it, Teddy? Every other boy I'd kissed had just sorta moved in and planted it on me. This was like being in a movie. Dialogue, Teddy-dialogue! And, boy, we really did some kussen this time. And after a while I could sort of feel his hand around me kinda hovering, and so I reached up and took it and steered it right down, smack onto my bazoom.
"Oh, come on, Mother, I really don't think-"
Oh, for God's sake, Teddy, don't be such an old woman. Have no fear, I'm not gonna get graphic. My tongue is just loosened up a little by the vodka. And besides, is there no poetry in your heart? You can't listen to an old lady recounting the sweet memories of young love? Besides, I stopped kissing him long enough to say, "Just for a moment."
"Well, I'm glad to hear there was some display of ladylike restraint."
Yeah, wise guy, but I also added: "For now.''' And then I tore myself away from him and outta the car and ran through the gate of the wrought-iron fence and inside the Friesenhaus, and I just delighted-just delighted-in all those other girls in their night gowns giving me those looks of censure ... or envy. My, did I give it back to them.
Mom beamed, took a healthy swallow of her Bloody Mary and then actually smacked her lips.
Talk about a Cheshire cat, Teddy. Talk about a Cheshire cat.