Out of the back door and I'm free. I make a bee line to the garden to loose myself in the raspberry patch. It seemed like such a big place when I was five. I sneak up and down the rows looking for the darkest sweetest berries.
I grew up in a very old neighborhood. A canopy of maple trees and chestnut trees shadded the sidwalks from the summer sun. Each house had a narrow yard that was all fenced in. Our fence was white with horizontal boards and that made it fun to climb on. At the back of the back yard was the garden. And on the left side of the garden was the raspberry patch. Beyond the garden the fence bordered the alley. The alley was the dark interior of the block. That was where all of the interesting things happened, especially when the garbage truck came.
After I ate my fill of raspberries I climbed the fence to sit, take in the warm morning sun, and check out the alley action. From across the alley she came. She was the picture of five year old beauty with her short cropped blonde hair. I'll never forget the first words she spoke to me as she looked up at me from the alley floor. "What are you doing little boy?" What? I thought... Did she just call me little boy? "Nothin." I said. "What's your name?" she asked. "Donald." I said.
"My name's Kathy, you wanna play?" "Ok." I said. And off we went down the alley. She lived across the alley in an upstairs apartment. She took me around the corner on the sidewalk. I could go anywhere on the block, I just couldn't cross the street. There was a row of bushes that went along the sidewalk along Hickory street. They had these things on them that looked like green beans, and inside of them were things that looked like peas. Kathy showed me these and so we started to eat them. They weren't bad, but not as good as the raspberries, but not bad.
It wasn't long before we had enough beans and peas, and I took her back to the raspberry patch for desert. After that, it wasn't long before we fell in love. We met each morning, ate raspberries and beans, held hands and hugged and kissed. Life was good, and I was content.
After a few days I took her to the back door to meet my mom. Mom took a picture as she thought we were cute. Then Kathy took me to meet her mom. I'll never forget that. The apartment they lived in had this big long stairway that went up from the alley. It was quite a climb. I'd always looked at those stairs from my position on the fence but never thought I'd be going up them. We went in the kitchen and the radio was playing. I met her mom. My gosh she was a big woman. After a few awkward moments of her looking down at me, and me looking up at her, Kathy led me by the hand out the back door, and down the stairs we went.
Then one day Kathy was gone. I still remember her blonde hair. I remember the taste of the beans the smell of the alley, and how warm the summer sun felt as I held her in my arms.