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An excerpt from the short story

I never saw a kiss like that before. It’s such a long one. I didn’t know they’d be doing that right in the middle of the kitchen, but here they are, my big cousin Phil and his new bride, Nancy. Boy, they really must be in love. I feel funny watching them. I probably shouldn’t be, but I can’t help it. I just ran down the steps from my bedroom where I was playing with my dolls ‘cause I’m thirsty. I flew into the kitchen (that’s what mommy says I do) and slid into a dead stop. The refrigerator door is wide open, blocking my way, so I can’t squeeze past the little white Formica table in the corner. I’m stuck. I guess I could go back upstairs, but I want a drink, so I’ll just stand here and stare at Phil and Nancy. They’re standing inside the big, white refrigerator, or at least it looks like that. His arms are wrapped around her like a big huggy bear. His fingers are sliding up and down her back and shoulders. I don’t think they know I’m here. They’re kind of busy. I’ll look down at the floor so they can’t see me and study the yellow squiggly lines in the linoleum like they’re my spelling words, and I have to learn them real hard for next Friday’s test. There are lots of yellows on the floor, lemon colored, and buttery ones, and gold, and even little drops that look like someone sprinkled white paint on it. They’re still kissing. It seems like forever. Oh! Phil just looked up.

“Hi Red.”

He always calls me Red, like my dad. We have red hair. Phil still has a little on his head, but most of it looks like my pink Spalding.

Nancy drops her tan arms - she loves the beach – and steps backwards out of the refrigerator. She’s looking up at Phil and her eyes are stretching all the way up to her forehead.

They’re giggling like they have a secret, kind of how my friend, Gail, and I do when we know something we don’t want to tell anyone else. Now Phil’s tapping Nancy’s nose, a gentle tap as if she’s a china doll. He leans in real close to her, winks and whispers, “I love you.”

Wow! I’ve never heard anybody say it so breathy. Daddy tells mommy he loves her but not like that. He says it real quick as he’s going out the door in the morning and some mornings he doesn’t say it at all. And he never winks.

I’ll bet that’s how Robert Wagner says it to Natalie Wood. They just got married and didn’t invite me. I really feel bad. I even called her the other day. I dialed the operator and said, “Please can I have the number for Natalie Wood in Hollywood, California.”

To be continued…

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