Chapter 3

When you’re 14 going on 15…going on 16…and your mysterious new body is continuously running at a fever pitch and you’re dating a Bobby Flanagan, it’s always the Fourth of July with spectacular fireworks and sighs of wonderment.

For the next two years, nothing mattered to me except to be with Bobby.  Thank God I was naturally smart so school was easy.  I still managed the B honor roll…something I would need with college in the future…and college was definitely in the future.  But not now.

Those two summers were magical…days glorious for not doing what should be done and nights delightful in doing what we should not.

Best memory?  Oh…can I even choose?  Maybe…Bobby and me in the back seat of his best friend’s car, heading to a nearby drive-in for hamburgers…still sun dazzled after hours of laying on a beach…somewhere.

Bobby’s arms wrapped around me, his hands travelling all over my sun-tanned body and kisses that have put all others since then…on another page entirely.  My bare feet…danging out the open window…keeping time to the insistent beat of Jan and Dean’s “Baby Talk”.

Yes.  That was the best memory…

Because…because THAT…was what First Love felt like…14 going on 15…going on 16…going on…going on…

Chapter 19

Oh…the unbridled power and force of a mother’s love…right or wrong…

She takes you to the doctor for vaccinations…knowing it will hurt for a bit…but it is the right thing to do.

She makes you eat good food even if you don’t want to…because it is the right thing to do.

If you run out into the street, she swats your behind and gets so very angry at you…because it is the right thing to do.

And then…she takes the letters from the one person you love with all your heart, reads them and burns them…so fearful that you will end up just like her…with a husband who has made her life miserable with his drinking and carelessness.

She volunteers to mail your letters to Bobby for you…but instead reads them and then burns them as well.

She plans for you to be away from the house when she knows that a desperate Bobby is going to call…because she has read that letter too.

She tells Bobby Flanagan when he calls…that “I’m so sorry, Bobby, but Samantha doesn’t want to see or hear from you ever again.  I am so sorry.”  And she makes sure he believes her…because that is the right thing to do.

But…she does let you read the last letter you will ever receive from Bobby…because she has already read that letter and knows how full of anger it is.

And…being the good mother she is…she consoles you when you cry and makes your favorite meal for dinner…because she knows it is the right thing to do.