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“No, I’m waiting for my nose to heal. I don’t want her looking right at me with this red light beaming.”

“You have a lot of trouble with your nose, don’t you?”

I frowned, then hastily managed a crooked smile, but said nothing. Sure, my acne has been concentrated upon my nose for a year or so but what can I do?

As if cued by spirit, Zelda asks, “Think a doctor could help?” Then she adds, “My doctor gave me some oil balm.”

“Did it work?”

“No, made it worse. I got more pimples after using the balm.” She held to a dim-witted grin.

“Then why are you telling me all this . . . crap . . . Zelda?” I emphasized saying her name with some pseudo-venom because Zelda irritates me much of the time. Perhaps this is why our relationship is basically platonic. But, I like Zelda a lot, in a strictly platonic sense, of course.

What the heck does platonic mean, anyway? In a junior literature course one week we had a few lengthy discourses on “platonic” relationships. Many of us young males found the concept confusing. A platonic interface of any kind between a male and female had to be difficult to maintain—unless, of course, the female is your sister or an ugly cousin. We were told, however, that platonic didn’t actually relate to romantic notions, but is meant to transcend the carnal into the invisible, spiritual world. As a teen this is too deep a prospect for me. But the word, platonic, stuck with me while the proper definition didn’t. Throughout my life, platonic never was fully recognized, realized or totally understood, but was often toyed with mentally.

Currently for me as an almost-seventeen year old, platonic, means this: It’s an association between a girl and a boy without serious plans to go-all-the-way. Zelda Anderson is supposed to be my platonic girlfriend. We kind-of talked about this; and at least from my perspective our relationship is rather platonic—if the meaning of the word included, non-committal. Zelda, however, must have thought differently about this nebulous notion because she worked very hard at seducing me. Sure, I liked it, most of the time.

Zelda had a sort-of steady boy friend named Bill Wheatly whom she treated as dirt. He hung on her as she allowed; whereupon she would unceremoniously spin him off. She dated others while he doted by moping. Often Zelda would talk me into taking her to a class play, a movie or some sporting event; telling me that she had just broke-up with Bill; or that she wanted to make him jealous so he would become a “better man;” or with some such ploy. I sort-of believed her so was obliging by taking her wherever she suggested; that is, if I wasn’t doing something more important. At times her suggestions were to “talk” in the back seat of one of my dad’s Buicks. She seldom aroused me, totally, even though we necked most times we were together to “talk.” I always figured that necking with Zelda is simply an exercise before the real-thing—whatever the “real-thing” is. But for some reason, I also feel that Zelda wants more from me than wet kisses. For instance, she’ll grab a wrist often to lift my palm to a breast. Okay, I found some delight in fondling. But that’s as far as it went; until later.


[Read “Rik Love’s Journal.”]

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