Friday, December 30, 2005

once upon a New Year's Eve

Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a gangly teenager called Jellyhead. She was a bit of a romantic, and was hoping that one day she would meet a real 'prince' of a man, with whom she would fall in love and live happily ever after. Indeed she did one day meet a prince, though he had a scary-looking mutant toenail, and he had a funny habit of poking his head in and out like a turtle whilst listening to music. He was definitely a prince, though. But that's another story, years down the track.

So anyway.... one New Year's Eve, Jellyhead and her friend Belly went to a celebration in a big public park near the river. There were going to be fireworks, bands playing, and there were even some Tall Ships docked at the wharves that were open to the public. Jelly and Belly had been given permission to go off on their own for a few hours, meeting up with their parents later.

Jelly and Belly were sitting at the water's edge, probably talking about boys, when a clean-cut dark-haired boy in a US navy uniform approached them. Jelly was an innocent young girl but not completely naive - she knew enough to be wary of 'sailor boy'. Yet Sailor Boy politely asked permission to join them, and proceeded to chat warmly with both Jelly and Belly... though Jelly felt instinctively that SB was attracted to her. This may have been complete rot, but she believed this, and it made her heart soar.

Sailor Boy was from Pennsylvania, USA. He told them his hometown, which was located near an Amish community. He was 20, studying science at university. His manners were impeccable; he was clever and funny and charming. He took both Belly and Jelly on a tour of the Tall Ship, and he asked a friend to take a photo of him with Jelly. Altogether Sailor Boy spent about four hours with Belly and Jelly. He never once laid a hand on either girl. He gave each girl a commemorative silver coin from his ship.

Jelly thought about Sailor Boy for months afterwards. She felt so sad that she could never get to know him - he had been like a mirage, a glimpse of something amazing that had disappeared before she could reach it. Mostly, she was not sure she would ever meet someone as honest and good and true as Sailor Boy had seemed to her that night.

For some reason, she has kept that coin to this day. Perhaps it's just a fond memory she wants to preserve. Or perhaps it's to remember that longing, that wondering about the future..... to remind her to always cherish her real-life love - a man who is honest and good and true to the core.
(Fatty - that's you!)


Heather said...

What a great story, Jelly!

See? You need to come to the states and look for Sailor Boy. I am pretty sure he is in Texas. ;-)

John Cowart said...

I've forgotten the name of the poet, but I remember his words:

Of all the sad words
Of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these,
It might have been...

Cherish dreams, live reality.

Motherkitty said...

He's probably bald, married 25 years with six kids, potbelly, living in a crummy house out in the country somewhere.

But, in your mind, he will always be 20 years old with dark hair, beautiful, and a sweet person. That's what memory and youth are all about -- memories full of yearning and a sense of "what if . . ." and "if only . . ."

You can't live your life surrounded by regrets because you have already met the man of your dreams. The result: a wonderful marriage to a great guy (albeit mutant toenail and errant headbobbing) and two beautiful, perfect children. What more could you ask for?

But, as you grow older, you will have your sweet dreams of days gone by and that coin will always remind you of how beautiful you were in your youth, friendship, and tall ships in a harbor on a New Year's Eve.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to cry...

donna y said...

Memories like these are so're probably better off not knowing.

Alipurr said...

That was a great true story. Thank you for sharing. I found myself reading faster to see how it would end. I am sure that guy has nice memories of that day too, wherever he is. It is really sweet that he was a gentleman.

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