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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Que Sera. By John von Daler

                    My puberty dreams played out like a version of "Moby Dick" written by a man who never had seen a whale. As I paced the slippery and wobbly deck of my subconscious, young women sailed in and out of my arms in vaguely erotic patterns. But I had no sense of what to do with them.

           My cousin, Ann, arrived with her family at our house in Tulsa the summer of my twelfth year. I had never seen her before. She had short, tom-boy blond hair and wore cut-off jeans and white t-shirts. Something about her made all my vague dreams concrete and realizeable and made me fall in love with her immediately and utterly.

           My #memories of her are dim, not I think because almost sixty years have passed, but more because I never really had control of my own consciousness in her presence. She might as well have been wrapped in seven, alluring veils.

           Still we managed to run and play like the almost-children that we were, I trying to show my masculine prowess; she flirting in that instinctive, innocent way of a girl becoming a woman, trying out her new-found talents one by one on the only male in sight.

          And of course I was touched by her every sally, disguised as they were by playing and teasing. As for my own forays, I only remember one afternoon at the movies. We had been allowed to attend Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with Doris Day. I think it was during the song "Que Sera, Sera" that I attempted to circle my arm first on the back of her seat and much, much later down onto her soft, small shoulders. Or perhaps I chose the movie's grand climax (the concert in which a percussionist crashes his cymbols together thereby covering up the sound of the murderous gunshot) to camouflage my arm awkwardly falling into place.

          When she and her family left, I remember wandering around our house blindly, like a winged dove about to die. Someone saved me by yelling, "Your room's a mess! Get in there and clean it up!"

          As I sullenly picked up the toys and papers that were scattered around my bedroom, I heard the melody of "Que Sera, Sera" in my head. Falling asleep that night, my dreams had become just slightly more tangible: now I knew what it was like to put my arm around a woman. Now the whaler had seen his first whale. Que sera, sera.

You could
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at my whale of a book.
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