Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Taste of Summer

Some people crave chocolate.  I crave romance.  For me, its sweeter than sugar, more decadent than fine, french champagne and more satisfying than sex. 

I will never give up on, or outgrow my thirst for romance.  Nurturing, creatively invigorating, self indulgent - it fuels my intimacy, fluffs my daydreams and ignites slumbered fantasies.

It's time I record my compilation of quixotic sparks - if for no other reason then the pure joy of reliving them.

It was an unusually sticky summer.  The carefree kind that clings to you way past Labor Day.  It started innocently and ended with an unbridled ache.

His name was Peter.  He had wild auburn hair, freckles splashed across his nose, and an audible and visible gap between his front teeth.

We met on a small island not far from shore that included a boat house, platformed tents, an arts and craft building and an archery field.

He called me "Kid."  He was 2 years older and according to his calculations, 4 years wiser.

He taught me how to sail, how to skip rocks across a low tide and how to slip out of a tent in total darkness.

I in turn taught him how to dance, the rules to Truth or Dare, and the lyrics to James Taylor hits.

Because he was a CIT (councilor in training) we were allowed to roam, unsupervised, for hours.

His enveloping, interlocking fingers tickled my palm as he guided me along a broad stretch of beach and into a lush, wooded pathway that ran behind the boathouse, past the bonfire pit, to the desolate side of the island.

In anticipation of our first solo sail together, he reviewed the responsibilities of being his first mate while I mentally connecting the freckles on his forearms.

Because I didn't know what it was, I never saw it coming.

Veiled in the inherent beauty of a bellowing beech tree - the same tree he engraved our initials in -  he pulled a sun dried strip of braided rope from his back pocket, wrapped it twice around my arm, looped it through... and tugged.

"A double half hitch" he called it - a sailors trustworthy knot.  This is how we'd secure our vessel when the sunset commanded us to dock.

I waited until he noticed I wasn't watching and then I kissed him.

It was my first taste of sweet love. 

It was a quick peck - a bold move on my part.

His mouth dropped open and I laughed.

He let go of his knot and with both arms lifted me so that our eyes were perfectly in line.

"I love you" he said, so softly I didn't recognize his voice, "I will always love you." And then, with an ardent calling, he kissed me.  

As the days drifted into weeks, he filled my head with promises he couldn't keep. He told me - with the stylistic reverence of James Taylor teachings - I'd always be his best friend, I'd be first on his mind and that he'd be there whenever I called.

The change of seasons sent me home again, to my mothers keeping - back to wispy fields, mountain peaks and rolling valleys - while he guarded our glistening shore.

I would visit my father often during our first year apart and he was respectful of the bond first love brings.

The following summer, we rekindled our blaze with an ethereal, starry skied force.

We played until a cold, cruel wind carried me home again.

We played until his secret washed ashore. A spry, not so well behaved, winter, spring and fall friend bleed into my path.

I held onto my pain longer than a young girl should.  The salty, sting of summer seasoned my well groomed, wound.

Despite his deceit, or maybe because of it, we have remained close friends.

And to prove that the world circles in mystifying ways, my daughters first and still boyfriend is Peters first cousins son (pause to digest). 

Peter, or "Sergeant Pepper" as his insignia states, (name changed to protect his privacy) is now a police officer in a neighboring town.

I fantasize about him running my security company, with minimal pay, when he retires in less than 5 years time.

Poetic justice for a hearts first tear.

 fine art, photography, notebooks, collages, and illustrations by afiori

Art by Afiori

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

for reading and commenting




  1. What an interesting read! Can't believe you used my photographs for an entire story - how fun!

  2. I love being in love and the romance of it all! Great story!

  3. You should turn this into a romance novel, I want to see how it ends! Great story!

  4. This is lovely and so well written. Beautifully illustrated, too!

  5. That was absolutely beautiful and should be bound as a story!

  6. Thank you! the food every writer needs...

    gobbling it up :)))))

    I forwarded the post to "Sergeant Pepper" - he was pleased

  7. I agree....the illustrations are breathtaking! I found this artist during a semi wine induced buzz... Mr. Cooked was watching baseball and I was googling "romance" all the photo's looked so.... cheesy (not that theres anything wrong with cheese) and then....somehow, I found this amazing lady/ artist "afiordi" from Sweden no less - her work speaks to me...

    thank you afiordi!

  8. Exquisite writing! Young love is so full of romance - I've been trying to keep that flame going with my husband who has been my best friend and source of romance since I was 16.

  9. I loved the story!!! I was hanging on every word. Reminiscing about childhood romances are really fun. I was thinking the other day about how sweet kisses at age 13 were because they were innocent and had no pressure behind them.

  10. Is it just me or is James better with age!

  11. ohhhh THANK YOU :)

    QUESTION... after reading this..."Mr. Cooked" (the husband) didn't understand how Sergeant Pepper deceived his first love.

    is it obvious to the reader that he cheated?

  12. Shannon, What a wonderful account of a young girl's first love. There are some incredibly vivid phrases and sentences in there... made me smile, writer to writer. Your passion and spirit come through, and they are so inviting!

  13. ahhhhh Thank you Katie! :))) see, I'm smiling right back at you!

  14. Sister, that is so pure and simple and beautifully written. You are good & getting better!! I wait for your latest posting.
    Only bad thing is that your writing takes up so much of your time that I don't see you much anymore. Gotta get our nails done, drink some wine. So proud of your sticking to your passion.
    One of these days we'll all be able to say we knew her before her first book was published!!
    xo Mairead

  15. Ah...sweet baby James...and summer of 1977 and incredible memories of letters and long distance phone calls connecting across the miles while away at different universities. What woman does not love romance?!

    James sounds truer now...

  16. I agree James sounds truer.... more connected to himself, his music and living

    Long distance love... remembering his kiss...the excitement of hearing his voice...again..... ummmm so sweet! okay, I'm going to write another one, this one is about my favorite birthday present. and why we should expect romance.

  17. Thx for defining "truer"...that's exactly what I took me a couple of minutes thinking about the differences I heard in the music until the right word I was searching for came into mind... :)

  18. Eloquently said and illustrated! I love James Taylor. Just heard him and Carley Simmons (x-wife) just came out with a new CD.! I loved her music too, so should be good. Always look forward to your post (=

  19. Romance and new love is so sweet! It's a beautiful post and I'm glad I was able to read it!

    Happy SITS Saturday!

  20. James and Carley doing a CD? I had no idea! I will certainly look for it.

    Kerry used to sing sweet baby james to jackson...

    thank you everyone for commenting - this story really means a lot to me.

    much, much, appreciation! ((((monkeyME)))))))

  21. Your story brought back some beautiful memories for me of summer camp and summer loves. Evocative and poetic, just lovely.

  22. This story reads like poetry to me. I kept re-reading it because of the imagery, and the emotions your words evoked. That thrill and nervousness, the hopeful anticipation every young girl experiences (or should experience!) comes out in your words. Beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing it, More more!!

  23. This was just lovely. Choosing afiori's works to intersperse with the writing was genius.

    If you're wondering still, it was perfectly clear to me he'd cheated.

  24. And yes, JT has gotten better with age!

  25. What a warm love story, sprinkled with wonderful photos and afiori's works. I, also, have known great love, and you nailed it. I'm glad I found you on Writer's Forum!

  26. Beautifully written tale of first love. Love the illustrations you chose. And James Taylor was the perfect choice to set the time reference. I really enjoyed this! Kathy

  27. like my memory! :)))) thank you for reading and commenting! really, really crave and appreciate it. also, special thanks to WOW readers and followers.

  28. Afiori's work really is beautiful and I was thrilled when I stumbled upon her. Image googling pictures is half the fun for me - but "romance" was not an easy picture to find - lots of cheesy stuff. and then (somehow) I found her blog and was amazed how easily her work fit in - as though I wrote the story around her pictures. I was so attracted to them - perhaps because to me they represented simple, innocent, pure ....honesty.

  29. Great always!!
    as for the tree question on my blog i am myself not too sure about it but if you have a thing for trees you will definitely love this...

    Mystical Banayan Tree...

    and yes thanks a lot for your encouraging comments.they always bring a smile on my face:)

  30. What a wonderful story of romance! And to have experienced it at such a young age...I guess I'm still waiting for my tale to tell.

  31. Love James Taylor and romance. Great story, GM

  32. Dawn - it will bite you when you least expect it :)

    I agree Chicken's Consigliere - James and romance go hand in hand...

    Thank you both for commenting.

  33. Wonderful story! Ah, sweet summer love!

  34. Ahhh...romance...and young love. Beautifully written! Made me wax nostalgic for my younger, more innocent days as well.

  35. Once again my friend beeeeeeeeeeautifully written illustrated and so understood first loves hmmmmmmmmmmmmm oh the still blown away from each of your entries i say quit your day job and write you are truely amazing..talented and of course always entertaining....luv the one about Marks plaid pants.....lmao

  36. Mmm--things do come around full circle eventually. We want the ones that loved us/hurt us to come back into our life even for a brief second and we want them to want us and we want to no longer want them. No?

    Love this song.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison