Jennifer Holcomb became my obsession that summer.
I think for a while I hid it fairly well but I was captivated. In no time I memorized the angles of her face and the slightest dimples that appeared when she was amused enough to display her toothpaste commercial worthy smile…especially cool when it was prompted by something I said. I probably counted a million times the slightest amount of freckles on the top of her shoulders which were typically hidden by the flow of her soft brown hair that was naturally highlighted by a summer spent under the Carolina sun. My favorite look was when she was preoccupied with some menial task and she brushed one side of the length over then tucked it behind her left ear. That move alone got my heart racing. I casually found out she had a boyfriend back home…not what I wanted to hear at all. And though it made sense that she was taken, all I could think was if she were mine I’d want every chance possible to be near her or at least a nightly phone call to tell her I love her and just to hear her sweet lyrical voice. She was a perfect combination of beauty and cool too. She was just as comfortable in her skin whether peeling labels from beer bottles with some of us guys or discussing the latest gossip with her best girlfriends who by the way all enjoyed taking shots at the egos of the guys surrounding them for sport…I wasn’t spared either . But then there were the occasional opportunities I had for real conversation with her when we took walks along the beach or the occasional meals at Shelle’s Grille which became our version of home cooked food when we got burned out on peanut butter sandwiches and soft drinks. The typical diet that our vibrant and athletic teenage bodies could endure.
Jennifer was as refreshing as the moist seaside breeze and as comforting as the consistency of the waves of the Atlantic. She was an only child and later I discovered her most striking physical features were inherited from her mother. Her parents were far from rich but she definitely did not go without. She was the first girl I’d met that owned a Sahara edition Jeep Wrangler which was white with a tan canvas soft top and a slight lift which became our main means of transportation and was always on the verge of exceeding maximum occupancy. The stereo sucked however but that didn’t matter because the sights and sounds of the Harleys growling, low riders bouncing and the blare of mounted speakers around the pavilion were more than enough entertainment. I also remember how good it felt watching her from the passenger seat and occasionally our arms would brush against each other or she would laugh and grab my arm when I pretended to be the announcer on the nonexistent radio and commented about the people crowding the sidewalks as we slowly rolled by them on the main strip which now looked like more like we were in a parade of some sort.
When no one else was watching I took a picture or two with my cell phone camera. I also saved a few more incriminating photos of some of our glassy eyed red cheeked partying moments too but those are stored away for safe keeping and will only resurface should the occasion arise I ever need to blackmail anyone. 🙂