Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Do I REALLY need to indentify this iconic image?

The last two posts, You Must Remember This, and, A Kiss Is Just A Kiss, have been the same "love scene" but presented from different perspectives. The first is told from the man's point-of-view, while the second is from that of the woman.

The scene in this post occurs during the summer of 1968, approximately three months later. Thanks to the "hippie" wedding of a couple both know, Amy and Mark are back near the site of the kiss. After the wedding, they begin talking about what did and didn't happen that night, and struggling to understand its impact on their friendship.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the concept and the execution.

Bayou Bill


Last Of The Southern Romantics
an excerpt from Chapter 19 of, We Danced to Ray Charles
by Bill Fullerton

The wedding crowd soon headed over the levee toward the line of cars parked along the edge of the old river road. From their places of honor in the bed of a pick-up, the bride and groom lead the procession back to the Big House for the reception.

Mark and Amy were left alone at the now quiet bridal bower to wait for the return of their friends, Libby and Bob. At some point in the ceremony, the newly engaged couple had wandered off and never returned.

Amy stood and studied the downstream shore. “Where do you think they are?”

“Out of sight.”

She shook her head and sat back on a sun bleached, driftwood log next to Mark. “Thanks for the help, Joe Friday.”

“I think of myself more as the suave, sophisticated, Peter Gunn, private-eye type.”

“Well, I think of you as a nut. And before you say it, I know, birds of a feather flock together.”

“Takes one to know one, I’ve always heard. Of course, I’ve also heard that opposites attract. So you pays your money, you takes your pick.”

“Seriously, do you think they’re all right?”

Mark nodded, lit a cigarette, and handed it over. “They’re in love, remember? If one of ‘em had fallen in, the other would be raising all kinds of hell.”

“Oh, that’s a real comfort.”

After taking a puff, she studied the cigarette. “Weren’t we going to quit these things?”

“We did,” he said, placing the pack back in his shirt pocket. “It was our end-of-finals resolution. But it just applies back home in Pinefield.”

After lighting his own cigarette, he pointed to a spot near the river. “Now, as for our non-smoking lovebirds, odds are they’re hiding in that little thicket and doing God knows what sort of disgusting things. You wanna sneak up and take a peek?”

Amy laughed and shook her head. “Of course not.”

For a change, Mark said nothing. They sat together in the comfortable silence only old friends can share. After exhaling a long stream of smoke and watching it drift away in the warm, gentle wind, Amy broke the spell. Gesturing toward the small clump of driftwood and tiny willows Mark had pointed out, she asked, “Is that the same place, you know, where we--. I mean, is that the place?”

Mark glanced over and noticed a faint blush on her cheeks. It made her look like a little kid, a very cute little kid. “You’re asking if that’s the place where we made out like a couple of wild weasels?”

“Well, yes.”

“Well, no. That was back in the spring. The water was a lot higher then. We’d have needed scuba gear to do anything where those two are probably carrying on. The hallowed ground in question, a sacred place forever etched in my memory, is upstream from here.” He twisted around and pointed north. “You’ve gotta look back from where dat ‘Old Man River’ is rolling along now. See that big pile of brush and logs? It was just above the shoreline back then and made a perfect nighttime hideout.”

With unconscious grace, Amy spun around on the log and studied the spot. When she spoke, it was in a low, hesitant voice. “Mark, this is a little embarrassing, but that night, why didn’t you, well, why did you stop?”

Mark swung his legs over the log and faced upriver. After glancing at Amy, he gazed at the place where they’d kissed. “Something wouldn’t let me. It just wasn’t the right time, or place, or thing for us to do. God knows I didn’t want to stop. I mean, it damn near gave me the bends.”

They exchanged tentative smiles, then he continues. “The thing is, you mean a lot to me, lady, a whole lot. I didn’t want to risk losing my best friend. If might have been different if we were in love, but we’re not, at least not in the hearts and flowers romantic way. And I guess I was afraid we might not be able to keep on being friends like we’ve always been if we, you know, made love.”

“I knew that’s what you’d say. And you’re right, I suppose. But I still feel guilty. After all, I’m the one who started it. So it’s kind of my fault you got the bends.”

Mark shook his head. “No complaints. You were ripped, bummed out, and very vulnerable. And don’t forget, the party was my dumb idea. I’m just glad I happened to notice you wandering away, and a certain creep start to follow. Besides, if it hadn’t happened, how would I have learned my best friend is such a great kisser?”

“God, but you saying that—It’s so bizarre. Because while we were kissing, I was thinking the same thing about you.”

Before he could reply, Amy continued. “Damn, but life would be so much simpler if we weren’t such good friends. What I mean is, sometimes it seems like everybody I know wants us to get married.”

Mark waved away her embarrassed look. “Same here. My mother would think she’d died and gone to heaven if we got married.”

“Mine feels the same way about you. But like you said, we’re not in love, not like that anyway. The thing is, our being good friends has gotten us so screwed up we can’t, well, we can’t even screw. And it seems like everybody’s doing that these days.”

Mark nodded and flipped away his cigarette. “Right as usual, superstar Amy. The way I figure it, our problem is we’re the last of the unrepentant, unreconstructed, hopeless southern romantics. Someone should have kept us away from, Ivanhoe, when we were kids. And I know we’ve read and seen, Gone With the Wind, way too many times.”

He dropped his voice and assumed an overly dramatic tone. “Both of us think we want, we need, we must have a great love, a passionate romance. You know, drama, rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air, thunder and lightning, high winds, higher emotions, and a torrid, maybe even dangerous encounter with a mysterious lover.”

Reverting to his normal voice, he continued, “Instead, what we got was two old friends who were so smashed they started making out at a levee party. And while it was one helluva lot of fun, at least for me, I don’t think that qualifies as either great love or romance.”

“So what do we have?”

“We like each other. That’s what we have. At least, it’s what I have. Because I like you very much, Amanda Nicole Marshall. I always have and always will. Maybe even more now that we’ve kissed. And that feels nice.”

Taking Mark’s hand in hers, Amy leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re right, Mark Henry Cahill, we do like each other, a whole lot. And that does feel very, very nice.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the tone of this piece. These two are great together and I get a good feel of he friendship and their building tension. If this is chap 19, how do they play into the overall plot?


8:23 PM  
Blogger Bill Fullerton said...

Hi, Mari. Thanks for the read and comments. The relationship between Mark, Amy, and the story's "bad girl" Bebe, is the plot, though the story is about issues such a race, social change, and choices. If you get a chance to read the two previous posts, a might (or might not) be a bit clearer.

8:57 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home