(A mostly true tale with some name changes and deletions to protect the innocent and the not so innocent. Part one is here.)
The Boy made it home and into his bedroom without being seen. He stretched out on his bed in the dark listening to the Little River Band and coming up with a plan. It was too hot for a turtle neck and a band-aid could be explained but would never be able to cover the gigantic purple hickey on his neck. “A rash!” he thought and then realized his Mom, if she bought that, would have him to the doctor in a second and the string of explanations spiraled wildly out of control.
“Supper!” He heard his Mom call from upstairs.
The Boy stood up from his bed and walked out of his room. His heart was pounding in his ears as he imagined the reaction around the table to his neck tattoo. And then he remembered something he’d seen on a TV sitcom where one of the characters covered up a hickey with toothpaste. He went in, stood in front of the mirror and squeezed out some mint paste onto his finger. The Boy spread the mint green paste over his enormous hickey. He looked at it in the mirror. Nice. Now there was a light green swirl on his pale neck with a deep purple bruise underneath. “I’m so dead.” He thought and silently prayed for that blood clot he’d been afraid of earlier to get to his brain before he got to the table.
When the Boy sat down he counted about 6 beats of his heart before he heard the loud gasp escape his mother’s lips. He turned towards her hoping it had something to do with the green bean casserole being too hot rather than the hickey shining through the toothpaste concealer on his neck. Unfortunately the hickey was on the side of his neck that faced her side of the table and she was staring right at it, frozen in mid-pass of the casserole.
Each word was a sentence.
Now he had his Dad’s attention too even though his Dad couldn’t see the Mark of the Beast.
“What…?” his Dad asked.
“Show your father…” His Mom said.
The Boy turned his head and neck around for his Dad to see. His younger brother saw it and grinned at him. When the Boy finally met his Father’s eyes he saw them grow 4 sizes bigger than normal. He hoped his Dad knew what a hickey was even if his Mom didn’t because he did NOT want to have to explain how he’d gotten it.
“It’s a hickey…” the Boy mumbled to his Dad.
“We know what it is…” his Mother said, “how did you get it?”
Now the Boy was the one in shock. If she knew what it was how could she not know how he’d gotten it? He tried to think of how to explain it when his Dad jumped in. “Who gave it to you?”
And then the Boy saw an opportunity. He told a version of the truth. He was messing around with his friends and they were all over at the Girl’s place but her parent’s weren’t home and his friends thought it would be hilarious if they held him down and convinced the Girl to make a huge hickey on his neck to get them both in trouble. He kept trying to stop them but they’d been too strong and they’d done it. He and the Girl were innocent victims. He intentionally left out the part about how good the Girl had smelled as she left her mark.
“You could get a blood clot and die from that.” His mother said as she took a closer look at it.
“Tell your friends not to do it again.” His Dad said.
And supper went on, the case was closed. And the Boy believe there was a God who cared.
The next day at school the Boy told the Girl what had happened. He found out she was just as scared when he had left for home thinking her parents would be getting a call from his parents and she’d been working on her own explanation that involved an attempt to vacuum the house for her mom that went terribly wrong.
The mark, however, changed everything at school. The Boy and the Girl were now officially a couple and everyone knew it. The sheer size of the hickey was the stuff high school legends were made of and the Boy proudly wore his purple badge of coupleship until it turned yellow, then brown and finally faded away. And everyday, until it faded, he would feel his neck to see if he could feel any blood clots. He was in love but he didn’t want it to end tragically like Romeo and Juliet with the Girl discovering him dead from an aneurism and then picking up the business end of a vacuum hose and hickeying herself so she could stroke out and have her lifeless body collapse on top of his, joining the Boy and the Girl in death.
In between every class the Boy would run to meet the Girl coming out of her class and he would walk with her to her locker. They were inseperable and pretended to be at the airport every day where kissing in public is not only acceptable but expected. It wasn’t long before he suggested they move in together and he carried some of her books to his locker for the classes she had on that end of the building and he carried some of his books to her locker for the classes he had on that end of the building. The Boy was pretty sure that this was what being in love was all about and he was so busy staring into the Girl’s hazel eyes, smelling her hair and kissing her lips that he missed the storm clouds on the horizon.
To be continued.