Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

The Patient Sikh Part Two—The Wonder Years


winne and kevin

This is an excerpt from a novel. If you would like a frame of reference, read: The Patient Sikh Part One–Repost 

The Wonder Years

I was talking to him on the phone. Him. Sonny. I forgot what to say. What do people say? I didn’t practice, I had no idea he would call, ever. But then the conversation began to flow naturally as if we hadn’t skipped a beat. He was coming to Ann Arbor. OMG. He was coming to Ann Arbor, did I mention that? I can’t believe he was actually coming to my new college. I can’t believe I’m even in college, much less potentially waiting for the love of my life to show up. I’ve been waiting for him to arrive out of somewhere since I was twelve.

What would I wear, what would we do? Was he coming to see me? Or just to have fun with our friends? There it was again, that zit. There was my body, not as thin as I wanted it and had I put on five pounds since moving to school?

I was headed to my Women’s Studies class where they would emphasize that I not define myself by my body. It was all good in theory, I agreed with everything they said, but I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror all the time. I was a bad feminist.

Yesterday, in my Creative Writing class, the prof told me I don’t know the craft of writing. She loved my first story and said my second one was pretentious. Oh! I have to tell you how I went to a party last weekend. It was at a friend of a friend’s cousin’s house.  This guy in my Creative Writing class named Mark came up to me at the keg the party. I remembered his name because we critiqued his story. My professor loved his story to the point that she told us all that we could learn a thing or two from him.

Mark stood next to me and smiled. He had a goatee and was attractive in that kind of bohemian way, his hair was a little longer. He looked like he probably smoked his share of weed. “Hey there Yasmine,” he said and poured me a glass of beer in a big red plastic cup. I hate beer. But they didn’t have anything in the way of choices. He looked very white to me, like the kind of guy that may have an Indian woman fetish. The kind of white guy that made me feel particularly brown and I have fair skin for an Indian person. I would say I’m more olive. Don’t ever accuse me of being yellow. Just don’t.

“”Thank you,” I said and sipped on the beer. God, this shit is bad, it never gets better the more I try. Why guys drink so much beer is beyond me. It was a house party in a small white house with creaky wood floors and large bay windows.

“I really liked your story about the girl on the bus,” he commented and took a swig of his own beer.

“You didn’t think it was too sentimental?” I asked and almost spit out my beer.

“No not at all, it was emotional in the just the right way. It moved me,” he said. I cried when I wrote it I wanted to say.

I don’t know how to take a compliment.“Really, thanks!” I smiled. I was genuinely flattered. I’m surprisingly insecure about my writing. “Both of your pieces were brilliant,” I commented. I was being honest. He was kind of a genius. I didn’t understand this thing he did with bees, but I wasn’t going to mention that now. So a good looking genius was hitting on me and all I could think about what some guy who I wasn’t sure even ever thought of me.

“You are too kind,” he remarked and put up his cup to mine. “Cheers!”

I was busy trying not to taste beer to notice there was a commotion at the other side of the room. Beer pong or something, someone won or something. This is college apparently. I kind of didn’t mind the whole scene at the party. What I minded was that I was with a friend of mine and she went off with some dude. There I was talking to Mark and thinking about Sonny.

So me and Mark chatted for about an hour. I asked myself what I thought of Mark, and I realized I wasn’t thinking of Mark at all, not in a romantic way. In the back of my mind, the exhilaration of the fact that Sonny was coming to town was still affecting me.

Mark asked me if I wanted to step outside. I got the feeling he wanted to make-out. The thing is, I have never made out with anyone before. I’ve kissed a couple guys, but that’s it. I didn’t think it was that great to begin with, the kissing. I know I’m a slow bloomer. I mean I got my breasts earlier than anyone else in my class, and my period. But experience wise I had done pretty much nothing in high school.

I sat next to Mark on a bench in the backyard. No one was out there for some reason, there was no beer there. There were leaves all over the ground, I couldn’t make out their color in the dark. Mark gave me the I’m going to kiss you look. I was freaking out, shaking a little bit. I mean I was so nervous and I didn’t even know if I really liked him. He kissed me. I’m not sure if I kissed him back. What does kissing back actually entail? There was something wet and slimy about his mouth. I was uncomfortable and still a little nervous.

What was I doing with this hippie? What was I doing with my mouth? He started to kiss me further. He was sucking on my lips. What is going on in this universe? I didn’t enjoy kissing him, it was strange and weird and am I five years old? I don’t like kissing? Am I even human? Evolutionarily we learned in my Bio for nonscience majors class that the only reason we do ANYTHING is to eventually reproduce.

What a lie. What a stupid lie. I sure as hell wasn’t going to have sex with Mark. I pulled away. “Are you OK?” he asked in a husky voice. A leaf fell on his head and I didn’t try to move it out of his hair, so he slowly wiped it off with his left hand.

OK? No I’m not OK. I’m not even mature enough to be in college and be cool and drink beer and kiss random dudes. I still suck my thumb buddy, when I’m alone at night. “Yeah,” I replied.

A song by Cat Stevens started playing in my head. Baby baby it’s a wild world, hard to get by just upon a smile girl.

He put his head closer to me and I didn’t know how to stop him from continuing this tongue action which was getting more intense by the moment. I pulled away….”Do you want to talk?” I don’t know? What as I supposed to say? All of a sudden I was reminded of Winny on The Wonder Years. She kissed Kevin at the age of like twelve or something. They were adolescents, I’m officially an adult!

Mark looked a little irritated. I was more than irritated. I didn’t know how to say no, or get up and go. I didn’t know how to be the strong woman I tell myself I am. I sat there like an idiot. He put his hand on my face. It was a sweet gesture I thought. I didn’t mind that. “You are very innocent,” he said and put his hands through my hair. There’s a jukebox in my head.

You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

I didn’t know how to take the word innocent. If by innocent he meant a frigid virgin…

Did he think I was his little feminine Indian doll? Did he think I was fragile? Did he think I was nice? I’m not nice.

Oh stop it, he didn’t mean anything by it. I wanted to slap myself and then slap him. He held my hand and we sat in silence for a few minutes. “I have to find my friend Mona,” I said and stood up abruptly. “I came here with her and I have no idea what happened to her.”

“I can help you find her,” he suggested and stood up with me. I looked at him fiercely. I was mad at him, mad at him for kissing me when I was clearly not sure about it. Mad at myself for not knowing how to say no. Mad at him for thinking I was too weak to say no. Mad at myself for being too weak to say no.

By the way, does this qualify as cheating on Sonny even though Sonny doesn’t know we are going to be in a relationship soon and probably get married? I have so much to think about.


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