Well, naturally, I fell in love with my own mother first. But since my dad was the jealous type, it was out of the question.
But--ha ha ha--there were others! There was Alice's mother. Dudley's mother. Billy's mother. Beautiful, desirable women. I didn't know what desirable meant then, but that's what they were. I guess I must have been about seven or eight when I first began to want these women seriously. They were tall--of course they were tall. Anyone over five feet was a giant to the squirt I was. They had lovely skin and lickstipped lips and earrings and they smelled wonderful and they had pretty legs and they had breasts.
I wanted them in the worst way. God knew what he was doing when he invented perfume and the brassiere. Not to mention earrings and fingernail polish and Tidewater, Virginia voices that asked me how I was doing in school. But God was also mean, because he didn't give me one of these beautiful mothers for myself. Whenever I saw them--whether it was at my house or at their kids' house--I felt like had been put in the San Quentin of love. There was an invisible chain link fence between me and them.
And what really drove me out of mind my was the question I asked myself: Why couldn't I have them, or at least one of them? I appreciated them! I admired them! I found them beautiful! I loved them!!!
Oh the scenarios I played out in my mind!
"Miz Kouri, do you like baseball cards?"
"Why...how did you know, Richie???!!"
"Oh, I don't know. Take off your shirt!"
"Why of course I will, Richie!!!"
"Miz Thompson, I can lift a chair all by myself!"
"My goodness, Richie, let me kiss you on the lips while I hold you against my chest!"
"Miz Winston, you're really pretty for a mom."
"Richie, I'm leaving my husband. Come inside the bedroom! Quick!"
I never told my friends how much I was in love with their mothers. I thought maybe they might take it the wrong way. I don't know. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe they were in love with my mother as much as I was in love with theirs.
That just wouldn't have been right, though.