Nubil was one one of the rare few young women whose body is so beautifully formed at the age of fourteen as to make her a topic of local interest. She showed up one day among the stomp of kids that form in every neighborhood. We were the same age, and I remember the first time I saw her. It was a Summer of warm lawns beneath the umbrelliage of Maple trees. My first thought was to wonder what would become of her. The other guys’ thoughts about her were held secret, but I can see now we all had the same thought.
I think, now, she knew men looked at her differently, even women. What might have confused a fourteen year old were the women who looked at her the way men did, and the men who looked at her the way women did. She must have realized, at the age of fourteen , there were four different kinds of people out there and everyone was pretending there were only two. And there was no one to explain it to her.
Nubil was shy, a girl with Summer blonde hair. And regardless of her Lollobrigidian faceting, she was a personification of innocence in hand-me-down clothes. When the Ice Cream Man came around, someone always bought one for her. We sat on the front porch. She liked my dog. She loved to run her fingers through his thick, Collie fur. She was always barefooted. Her toes were painted a bright red against her tanned, mosquito bitten skin, and road dust. Those were the only few times I talked to her. Like the others, I didn’t talk to her much. Young men share a fear to approach beauty.
She stopped coming around after a while. I was disappointed. I liked to watch her. The tract of prefabricated houses where she lived flooded sometimes. People waded through ankle-deep water to load their things in the car and leave, teary-eyed and angry. Her family probably moved away. I still think of her, sometimes.


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