Faded Glory by R. Cane
Rasslin’, that’s what we called it. My brother’s best friend’s sister always ended up
coming over when he did, their parents sent them together across the fields.
She was sturdy, sporty, bright blue eyed, my same age. My heart squoze every time I saw her, which was very confusing, since she was also a girl.
Benny and Buddy, yep, those were their names, would run to the berry patches, or the
tree house, maybe the creek to fish. Blue eyes and I would just look at each other until one of us would finally sit down on the steps and we’d talk a bit, long silences in between thoughts, but we didn’t seem to mind.
“Girls can’t like girls,” she announced one day as we shared our usual long look. I was
floored. Did it mean she liked me too? Or more that she caught me staring?
“Of course not,” dropping my plain brown gaze, shuffling, moving another few inches
away in the process.
“Good,” she nodded, like that made everything ok. Same moment, seized my wrist,
pulled me past the barn where she threw me on the ground, toppled on top of me, but kinda gentle. We rolled around, wrestling for control, but not really, mostly just locking arms, letting go, hooking legs, wriggling free. Later, both tired, we lie back in the tall grass, smell of earth all around, lowering sun of orange in our eyes. “It’s ok, I think,” she sighed, “if we’re just rasslin’ – it’s a kind of sport.”
And it was, way better than ok, actually. All my days thereafter were spent waiting for her next visit, more rasslin’, and the way my heart beat wildly every time. “Exercise is important,” I said sometimes, reinforcing our good intentions. Blue eyes would nod, grab my hand, run us to our spot and roll over into the grass, laughing.
As often as we reiterated how ‘ok’ it was, we also never spoke of our sport to anyone else, were always back on the steps talking by the time the boys reappeared - each confined to our own shy silence just in case someone told us it wasn’t ok, and we might have to stop.
Her family moved away freshman year but we didn’t write. I’m still not sure if we
thought we weren’t supposed to, or both knew it wouldn’t matter. Words weren’t our thing, and if we were going to be in different places, our sporting days were over.
I was near to thirty by the time I learned other people like to rassle too, sometimes even
two women, but they don’t call it that.
And now? My husband doesn’t rassle, I’m not sure I’d enjoy it if he did, but he keeps the farm up good. And I have a coupla ok kids, so I guess that’s the balance. Pretty sure no one else has eyes that kind of glorious blue anyway.
Finding the human condition and antics endlessly fascinating, R. Cane tends to write ‘slice of life’ pieces about moments, situations, interactions, personalities – most often with some amount of humor or irony, always with wonder. The subject or subjects are frequently queer, wlw - to the degree such matters, if people are people, and stories are stories. R. Cane can be found on Instagram and Twitter @rcanewrites