Friday, January 30, 2015

Annabelle Lee

   By Dean Rea

     I thought I was the last person on Earth, and then I heard a knock on the door.
     “Dang,” I said aloud. “Who could that be?”
     Who expects an intrusion when you’re all alone in the world and when you’re thinking about Annabelle Lee? As I’ve told you repeatedly, I met Annabelle Lee quite by chance while I was in the sixth grade, and we have been friends forever.
     At least that’s the way I remember it.
     I also recall that Annabelle Lee taught me how to kiss. Not the peck-on-the-cheek or slightly-on-the-lips way. I’ll leave the details to your imagination, but we kissed a lot.
     Annabelle Lee also taught me how to dance. Not the hippy-hop stuff. Not the tango. Not the hold-you-lightly-in-my-arms stuff. But the up-close-and-tight kind. You know what I mean. In any event we got well acquainted dancing, talking strolls in the moonlight.
     She also taught me a lot of other stuff, especially about women. I was an only child whose only friends had been boys my age. Annabelle Lee was my age, but with her help I discovered that’s where the similarities between girls and boys ended.
     We liked to take hikes, to ride bikes and to sit and talk about our futures. She wanted to be a nurse. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be, but I said I wanted to be the president of something, which I hoped would impress her.
     Eventually we fell in love. It wasn’t that hold-hands stuff or sit-snugly together stuff. Well, I can’t explain without blushing.
     We had a family and we moved a lot. First to Jefferson City, then to Kansas City and then to…

     And we had a lot of fun playing cards like hearts, pinochle and the game where you use two decks. It’s called…
     Well, I thought I was the last person on Earth, but the knock on the door must be Annabelle Lee coming to surprise me.
     “Come in,” I called. The door opened and a woman dressed in white entered.
     “You’re not Annabelle Lee,” I said disappointingly.
     “No,” she said. “I’m your nurse, and it’s time to take your pills.”

From “A Lifetime of Writing,” a self-published collection of Dean Rea’s writing; cartoon by the late Roy Paul Nelson

Dean Rea is a retired newspaper journalist and university journalism professor. "Confessions of a Professor" is the title of a memoir about his 30-year teaching career that will be published in late January.  He and his wife Lou, who live in Eugene, have explored the back roads of Oregon for more than a half-century. He continues to work as a freelance writer, photographer and editor and teaches two high school writing courses as a private academy. His hobbies are fly fishing and building model airplanes. 

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