“THE VAN’S IN THE FAR LOT!”
“HUH?! Oh, YEAH! COOL!”
We have to shout for days after the Rush concert.
It is 1981. The night is warm and our ears are ringing. We laughingly proclaim, with the arrogance of youth, that we will probably wake up deaf, comments that are greeted, hilariously, with “what?” and “huh?” and other manner of wit.
I have bought a tee-shirt. I am careful with my money, and my having spent some is not lost on my sister.
“You bought a tee-shirt? Since when?”
“Since just now. Shut up.”
Karen laughs, a tinkling sound. Images of fairies in trees leading people astray comes to mind. She is two years younger than I am. Slender, with thick brown hair and big brown eyes, Karen is the girl that you are surprised to find is as sharp as she is pretty.
I twirl my tee-shirt above my head, smiling. Not-so-secretly in love with Geddy Lee, I have taken up the bass in the last year in the belief that somehow he will hear of this and want to meet me.
I am picturing the two of us, eight full strings of Great White North-ness, when the tee-shirt is yanked from my hand and a black- shirted blur of a thief goes streaking by me.
“Hey!” I scream. I take off after him, abandoning the others.
I may have lettered in cross-country, but I am not fast. How many rows did I run down? How many cars did he dodge in and out of? I keep my eye on the man with the tee-shirt…
“He has my tee-shirt! He stole my tee-shirt!” People turn to look but don’t step in.
“Pearl!” I hear Karen behind me.
“He stole my tee-shirt, Karen!" I am outraged. It's mine! I paid for it! "He stole my tee-shirt!”
And just like that, Karen shoots by me, legs and arms pumping. Smaller, lighter, Karen is a sprinter.
“HEY,” she barks. In sleek moves I can see to this day, she steadily gains on him, launches herself into the air –
She lands on his back. He whirls around, batting at her, as she wraps her legs around his waist, uses her fists to beat him about the head as she screams into his ears.
"No one” punch “steals” slap “from my sister!”
The last slap catches him across the eyes. Too late, he bends forward to protect himself. She jumps off his back and picks the tee-shirt up from where he has dropped it.
She tosses it to me.
“Come to Coon Rapids some time,” she sneers at him, delivering a parting blow with both hands to his ears, “I dare ya.”
And then we run, laughing and triumphant, to the far end of the parking lot.
Where the van is waiting.
That Summer: Part Four
23 minutes ago