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.We’re not teenagers anymore.We’re man and woman.Adults, with adult feelings and adult needs.” He pulled me close again and I tensed up.“I can’t.”“Why not? There’s nothing wrong with it.Now stop acting so childish.” He took his arms from around me and sat up.“No.I’m sorry, Jerry.I want to but I just can’t.” I looked at him for some understanding.He stood up, went to the closet and got his coat out.As he put it on, he said, “I don’t like playing games, April.Either you want me or you don’t.When you make up your mind which it is, I’ll be at the university.”In the following weeks, I agonized over Jerry’s absence.I had really liked the intimate suppers, long talks, and having a steady friend to go out with.I had planned to ask him to the law firm’s Christmas social and show him off, especially to Roger Maddison.I didn’t attend the law firm’s social, after all.I went with Cheryl to spend Christmas with the Steindalls and returned alone because of work.I was so lonely during the holidays that my resolve broke down and I decided to call him.I had never been out to his home and I looked up his name in the phone book.As I dialed the number, I thought of being flippant about the whole thing.I’d say something like, “Hi, Jerry.I was wrong and you were right, so I’m yours for the taking.” No.That wasn’t my style.I’d just play it by ear.“Hello?” a small child’s voice answered.“Uh, hello.Is Jerry McCallister there, please?”“No, Daddy’s not home.Do you want to talk to my Mommy?” and before I could say no, I heard the child calling to his mother.“Hello,” came the voice of a woman.I tried to picture what she looked like.“Oh, hello, Mrs.McCallister? I’m a student at the university and I was working on a project over the holidays but I needed Mr.McCallister’s advice on something.I’m sorry to be bothering him at home.” My cheeks were burning red.“Oh, that’s all right.He should be back any minute now.Could I have him call you back? Oh, just a minute.I think he’s at the door now.Hold on.” she also left before I could stop her.I thought of hanging up but if I did than it might arouse his wife’s suspicions.“Hello,” Jerry’s voice came on.“It’s me, April.I guess I made a terrible mistake.I’m sorry.” I hung up before he could say anything.I felt incredibly stupid.I had been going out with a married man! Not only that, he had a child, maybe more than one.And I was about to try out a bedroom scene with him? I shook my head and sat there for a long time.He came to see me one evening, after the New Year.“April, I’d like to explain.”“There’s nothing to explain.You’re married! You wanted me to…to…well, you know.And all the time, you were married.And YOU don’t like playing games?” I said sarcastically.“My wife and I have been talking about getting a divorce.Then I met you and I wanted to get to know you right away.I’m sorry I didn’t wait until it was all proper and legal.”“And I’m sorry, too.But I don’t go out with married men.That is when I know they’re married.It’s finished.Over.Just leave me alone!” I opened the door for him to go and then stood back waiting.“But April, you know how I feel about you.We could have a promising future together,” Jerry said, stalling.“Goodbye, Jerry.” I gave him the coldest, hardest look I could muster.He had no choice but to give up and leave.He looked dejected and I felt sorry for him.For a second I almost said, “It’s okay, we could still be friends, at least.” But I didn’t.I closed the door on my almost-first-lover.For the next few months, I didn’t go out on dates.I just stayed in and moped.When Cheryl brought home another of her strays for supper, I didn’t even mind.That’s what I called the Metis and Indian girls she befriended from the Friendship Centre.Nancy was a dark-skinned Native girl with long, limp black hair.The story of her family life was similar to that of other native girls Cheryl had met.Drinking always seemed to be behind it.Nancy had been raped by her drunken father.Cheryl remarked that people called that incest but Nancy insisted it was rape.Everyone in Nancy’s family drank, even the younger kids.Or the new rage was sniffing up.Both Nancy and her mother had prostituted themsleves, sometimes for money, sometimes for a cheap bottle of wine.Nancy was like a wilted flower.She even had a defeatist look to her.What a life to have led.I supposed she had stayed at home because there was nowhere else to go.I was shocked when Cheryl told me Nancy was only seventeen.She looked at least twenty-five.How Cheryl could stand to hear those kinds of stories all the time was beyond me.That she wanted to make a lifetime career out of it was impossible for me to understand.It was depressing, especially when I knew that Nancy and the other strays came from the same places that we came from.I’d go with Cheryl and Nancy to nice restaurants and treat them to suppers.I began to notice what being native was like in middle-class surroundings.Sometimes, service was deliberately slow.Sometimes, I’d overhear comments like, “Who let the Indians off the reservation?” Or we’d be walking home and guys would make comments to us, as if we were easy pick-ups.None of us would say anything.Not even Cheryl who could be sharp-tongued.Cheryl and I never talked about these incidents either.Instead of being angry with these ignorant people, I just felt embarrassed to be seen with natives, Cheryl included.I began to go out with them less and less.Anyhow, Cheryl was starting to spend more evenings at the Friendship Centre, leaving me alone with my magazines and my daydreams.I was even reading books on proper etiquette, preparing myself for my promising future in white society.If Cheryl had known I was reading that kind of material, she would have laughed or criticized me.It wouldn’t have mattered because I began to think I would be dreaming such dreams right into my senility.Oh, well, Cheryl once had a fantasy which comforted her and now I had mine.I gave a lot of thought to the kind of man I would eventually marry.If I were going to be successful and happy, he would have to be carefully scrutinized.I would not be able to afford to let my heart rule my head.Nor could I marry just for money or I’d be rich but not happy.Actually, it was quite simple.I’d have to find somebody who was handsome, witty and charming.He’d have to be making a good living.He’d be good and honest with a strong character but he would also have a fine sense of humor.He would be perfection personified.‘Oh yeah, dream on, April Raintree.If such a man existed, he’d already be married.’ I sighed, disappointedly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]