Kindred Spirits

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I drove past the charred remains of the house down the road from where I grew up, the result of a fire in the modest dwelling that had been vacant since the passing of the last owner a few years back, and I felt the same mixture of sadness and sweet memories I had experienced when learning of the demise of the woman who had lived there while I was growing up.

It was over thirty years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday…

***

It was only the first of July and already I was bored out of my gourd. While it hadn’t reached the point that I wished I was back in high school, I sensed by the end of August I wouldn’t mind beginning classes at the local community college which had admitted me, ignoring my mediocre grades in exchange for the money they would get from my school loan.

I needed to get a job but in the very sleepy town of Argyle, New York the pickings were even slimmer than they had been in past summers, so even though the businesses still operating took my resume and smiled, I knew they went into the circular file before I made it to the parking lot.

Bored and lonely was why I was sitting on my porch this day in search of something to do. Being a skinny and admittedly dorky kid with few friends I had few options so I strolled down the street in hopes that somebody needed their lawn mowed, something I had done for a few of the older folks in the past.

One of those old folks probably wasn’t that old, but when you’re 18 people in their fifties seem ancient, and when you’ve had a tough life you tend to look like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet.

That’s a phrase my mother uses sometimes to describe herself, and while since Dad took off she had lost a lot of her glow, the phrase fit Gail Peacock much better. Mrs. Peacock seems to be as hopeless as I was, which is why I have to admit that I liked her. A lot. I guess you could say I had a crush on her for quite a while.

Maybe it started when I wiped out on my bike one day a while back. I had taken most of the skin off my knee and elbow and Mrs. Peacock ran out of her house and insisted on cleaning my wounds and putting band-aids on me.

Whatever it was, I had it bad for Mrs. Peacock, but that was something that I would never admit to anybody because the lady had a bad reputation. It wasn’t because she had done anything wrong, but I think that she was one of those people who attracted abuse. I know that kind of person because that was me back in 1981.

Mrs. Peacock’s name was part of it, although I stopped trying to make witty remarks about pea and cock in sixth grade. Some of my classmates however, still thought the name Peacock was hilarious even in high school, writing lame things on the toilet stall walls for her to see.

How would she see that? Simple. Gail Peacock was the custodian at our little high school, coming in when school was just about let out to clean the place. It must have been thrilling to scrub your name off toilet stall walls, and some guys even offered her suggestions on what they wanted her to do, or making dubious claims like “Gail Peacock sucked the pee out of my cock here last night.”

I guess there had been a Mr. Peacock at one time but apparently he flew the coop, leaving her alone in her drab little bungalow which was even more shabby then our own. That left her to fend for herself and that included doing a dirty janitorial job that many looked down upon.

Adding to Mrs. Peacock’s woes was the fact that she wasn’t very pretty, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say she was the hideous horse-faced hag a lot of guys said she was, even as probably her biggest fan I had to admit she wasn’t beautiful in any traditional sense.

Mrs. Peacock had sort of a horse face in a way, with a big toothy grin that I don’t think many people other than yours truly saw, and her nose was a little big. I thought she looked a lot like Shelley Duvall who had just been in The Shining and Popeye, and when I went to see the movie with a classmate I suggested that resemblance.

“You make that sound like that’s a good thing,” Andy said to me as I quickly regretted opening my mouth. “You look at Olive Oyl and Mrs. Pisscock and you won’t get a boner for a month.”

Why she attracted such venomous reactions from people would have made sense if she was mean or miserable, but she wasn’t, at least so far as I knew. She was always pleasant even when she had a right not to be, but it had little effect. She drew abuse like a magnet.

I remember one Halloween when we all went trick or treating and stopped at her house. Since it was a Saturday she was home, which meant her house wouldn’t get egged and vandalized like it did when she was at work.

She was handing out apples, passing them through the bottom part of her screen door where she had removed the glass. That was a clever idea, I had thought, but most of the group I was in didn’t like the idea of an apple any more than they liked the custodian so they threw them back into her illegal bahis house after she had turned away.

I thought that was pretty lame, so much so that I decided I had enough of Halloween for that year. Sticking around after the rest of the hyenas went on their way, I stayed on the porch and tapped on the door just to make sure Mrs. Peacock saw that I had my apple and wasn’t part of that.

“I’m sorry they did that,” I told her, and she gave me a sad smile and thanked me for that.

“Boys will be boys,” she lamented, her long and lean body slumping a little as she shrugged her shoulders.

Come to think of it, maybe me not being part of the pack and doing things like that to people helped make me the social leper that I became around the neighborhood kids, but that was alright by me.

So on that day when I neared Mrs. Peacock’s house I kicked at the gravel when I saw that either she or somebody else had beat me to it because it had been mowed somewhat recently. I was going to keep going down the road when I saw Mrs. Peacock was in her backyard so I decided to drop by and ask her to keep me in mind to mow in the future.

Mrs. Peacock didn’t see me coming as she knelt at the edge of a little garden burrowing away at some weeds, and I have to be honest and admit that I approached as quietly as I could because she looked really sexy bent over like that, at least in my eyes.

Mrs. Peacock was wearing a summery dress that was a lot more colorful that the drab things she usually wore, or the custodian’s uniform which gave her an androgynous look.

The sleeveless dress showed a lot of Mrs. Peacock’s very slender shoulders which were as richly freckled as her arms and face were, something I was quite fond of, but in the position she was in there was a lot revealed as the front of the dress bowed down.

The first and most obvious thing was that Mrs. Peacock was not wearing a bra, and until that moment I didn’t even know if she needed one because she seemed to me rather small on top, but there was something there alright and it was right there in front of me.

Right below her prominent collarbone where her light tan ended, hung the third live pair of breasts I had ever seen and really one pair didn’t count because they were my Mom’s (accidentally). Hanging was the right word to describe Mrs. Peacock’s bosom because the unsupported breasts looked like pale skinny tubes swaying inside the dress, and I could even see most of the rose colored areolas that seemed to cover the entire ends of her tits.

I could have and likely would have stayed there all day staring at her banana boobs but she must have sensed my presence because she looked up, startled, and she could immediately see what I was staring at because she put her hand up to the scoop-neck of the dress while she straightened up.

“Elliot,” she said as she squinted up and recognized me.

“Sorry Mrs. Peacock. I didn’t mean to scare you,” I told her while trying to look anywhere but at her chest, but then she added something else to the occasion.

“No, you just startled me a little. Must have been deep in thought,” she said as she raised her arm so she could shield her eyes from the sun as she looked up at me.

Mrs. Peacock said something else after that but I didn’t catch it because my mind was distracted as my eyes went to her slender arm, first noticing how pale and smooth the inside of her limb was compared to the freckled and slightly tanned other half, but then my eyes went further and I learned that just as I had figured, Mrs. Peacock was a natural redhead.

You see Mrs. Peacock had hair under her arms. Not a thick bush like a lot of guys, just a little spray that sprouted from the deep recess of her armpit and the fine hairs seemed to flutter in the breeze – or maybe I was breathing that hard to cause it.

In any event, the only female I had ever seen with unshaven armpits was our town’s only hippie Carol Reid, a girl a couple years ahead of me in school who wore clothes riddled with peace signs and who flaunted her armpit hair without a care. Guys all made fun of her, except when they were desperately trying to go out with her, but I loved her rebellious attitude and found her sexy, although I kept that to myself for obvious reasons.

Mrs. Peacock though? She wasn’t a hippie. Her condition was probably due to the fact wasn’t expecting some horny pervert to sneak up on her in her backyard and catch her unshaven and bra-less like this.

So after I told her I had just was walking around the neighborhood seeing if anybody needed their lawn mowed or anything, she told me she wished I had come by earlier that week because she had done it herself.

“My back doesn’t like mowing,” Mrs. Peacock said as she struggled to her feet, giving me another look at a view that would be replaying in my mind as I abused myself in the shower later.

She contorted her back after rising, and as I watched her breasts press against the fabric somewhere illegal bahis siteleri down near her waist there was something of mine pressing into clothing as if trying to burst out, and to my chagrin I think Mrs. Peacock noticed it although she didn’t leer or comment.

“Well, it was nice to see you again,” I said as I prepared to leave, having made a fool of myself in front of a female once again.

“Wait Elliot,” Mrs. Peacock said, and after I paused she told me she might have something I could do.

“The garage,” she explained. “There’s bunch of junk in there that – well, let’s just say that I’ve meant to get hauled out of here for years. If you would like to, you can drag all that junk to the curb so I can have it taken out of here. I don’t know if that’s something you would…”

“Yes!” I said very energetically, and when she asked about how much I wanted I told her to just give me whatever she wanted because I was happy to have something to do.

What I should have said that I’ll do it for free if you wear that dress around me because I was captivated by this new side of the custodian I thought I knew.

The thought crossed my mind that if I ever told any of my supposed friends about how I could get a hard on looking at Mrs. Peacock and describing what I had seen that was the cause of my excitement, I not only would have been ridiculed but maybe run out of town.

She described the job to me and it seemed so simple that even I couldn’t screw it up. All I had to do was take the stuff out onto the driveway, and then she would either direct it to the end of the driveway or have me stack it neatly back in the corner of the garage.

There was a lot of crap in there though, enough to make putting a car in there impossible. I didn’t know how long this would take but I didn’t care. I would bring a few things out, odd pieces of furniture, boxes and even a rusty old bike, and every 10 minutes or so when there was a good sized pile of stuff she would come over.

When she wasn’t with me telling me the fate of the stuff, she would be back on her knees in the garden. Either way was great. I could see her swaying breasts from the driveway as she knelt, and then when she would come over and point either to the curb or the garage, affording me countless views of her underarms.

It occurred to me that one of the reasons I was attracted to Mrs. Peacock was that she was sort of like two people in one. I knew very well the androgynous woman in the drab uniform doing janitorial work and she was okay that way, but this person in the bright summery dress who had smiled so often today was so pretty and feminine, with breasts and everything. She was a woman.

I’ll admit that woman with hair under her arms might not seem feminine to many these days, but the wisps of hair were so fine and sparse that it looked cute. And maybe her breasts didn’t stick out straight like young women’s did, but that didn’t matter. I was willing to bet that if the guys at school saw her like this they would change their tunes.

Then again, they probably wouldn’t. Some people are just natural pinatas, I figured, and while I wasn’t quite one yet, I was close enough to know what being the fly instead of the windshield was like.

On one of my trips into the garage I paused to get a glimpse of Mrs. Peacock through a dirty window, and was startled when she appeared behind me with a couple of glasses of ice tea.

I was a little flustered because she probably knew I was taking a peek at her, and as I gratefully took the cold drink and nearly drained it I tried to look at my employer’s eyes instead of elsewhere.

“It’s a warm one today,” Mrs. Peacock declared as she wiped her brow with the back of her hand, clearing sweat I couldn’t see. “You must be dying in here.”

“No, I’m fine,” I said even though my shirt was pretty much plastered to my back. “You don’t look like it bothers you. You look fresh as a daisy.”

I cringed inside at my lame attempt at a compliment, but at least it was better that saying something like she didn’t look so hot, or she looked like the heat didn’t bother her because her underarm hair wasn’t stuck to her skin like mine probably was. Hers still fluttered in the breeze when it blew.

I was quite capable of verbal gaffes around females, so I actually counted that as a victory of sorts when she smiled and thanked me for the compliment so I doubled down and said, “Boy Mrs. Peacock, that’s a real pretty dress you have on.”

“Oh this?” Mrs. Peacock replied, probably thinking I was a second rate Eddie Haskell groveling up to her. “It’s something I picked up at the variety store in town. It’s cool in the summer.”

The exclamation point was when she shook her head a bit and ran her hand through her scalp, and the look she gave me when I tried and failed not to look at the burnt orange spray she was exposing as if to see if what she probably suspected was correct.

“You won’t be able to finish today, canlı bahis siteleri that’s for sure Elliot,” Mrs. Peacock said after we finished our drinks and she looked at the accumulation of decades of a life remaining. “Would you like maybe work another hour or so and finish up tomorrow?”

“Sure,” I replied and as I looked at the mounting pile of stuff that was going to be tossed I added, “I bet half of that stuff will be gone by morning. There’s some decent stuff out there.”

“Time to get rid of that past life. Better somebody gets to use it than see it ending up in the dump,” Mrs. Peacock said as she shielded her eyes from the sun and looked out while I got another glorious look at her underarm and a bonus peek at the very white side of her breast from the gaping of the armhole.

“And I’ll make sure not to wear this dress again tomorrow,” she added in a tone that confused me, not angry or kidding. “Seems to be rather distracting.”

Omigod. Busted cold.

“Wait – Mrs. Peacock,” I said as she started to turn around and go back to the garden, and when she stopped I babbled.

“I’m sorry I keep looking at you. It’s just that you look so different like this. I see you all the time in your uniform and you don’t look – I’m mean you look nice and all but like this – you look like the ladies my Mom has over for Bridge in your pretty dress – and you’ve been smiling a lot and everything and you look so different like somebody else all together.”

I think it was even more disjointed than that, but after I ran out of words and air I concluded with, “I just meant to say that you look really especially nice in that dress,” but I started to say “sexy” and changed it to “especially” very awkwardly.

“I guess I just explained why I didn’t go to the prom,” I mumbled. “Not too good around girls.”

Mrs. Peacock looked dazzled by my ramblings and had no problem figuring out that I almost called her sexy, but she recovered and when she gathered that there was to be no punchline she said, “Thank you Elliot.”

She turned to walk away and I started back to work, but she suddenly ducked back around the wall and said, “Elliot? If you would like to stay I would love to make you supper. I know your mother is probably expecting you and you likely have other plans…”

“No that’s okay,” I said. “Thanks anyway.”

Mrs. Peacock nodded and looked a little sad, but that was nothing like the way I felt. I had said no. What the hell was wrong with me? I’m a picky eater so always turned down offers from friends to eat at their places, but this was different. I could spend more time with her and I had said no?

That wasn’t the first time I had panicked around a girl. I still remember turning down an invitation to play spin the bottle with Becky Chambers back in first grade, even refusing her offer to teach me after I said I didn’t know how. This was something that I would regret just as long as I had that last blunder.

“Mrs. Peacock!” I sort of yelled as I tore around to catch her back near her garden, and when I did I said, “Don’t know why I said that. I’d love to have supper with you.”

“Wonderful. You can call your mother to let her know you’ll be late,” Mrs. Peacock responded, smiling again as he headed inside. “How do burgers and fries sound?”

“Fantastic!” was my answer, and since that was on my short list of things I liked, that made it perfect.

I went back in the garage really full of myself, and I almost couldn’t wait to be able to tell the few friends I had that I had eaten dinner at a woman’s house, almost like a date. They would ask who it was and I would say Mrs. Peacock, and they would laugh like hyenas. I would tell them they were wrong. The Mrs. Peacock I had dinner with was cute and smiling and sexy.

That would make them laugh even harder, I concluded. I decided that this would be my secret. Screw them.

***

“This is incredible,” I gushed across the table at my hostess, and that wasn’t a lie because not only was the burger good, Mrs. Peacock had made real french fries, cutting fresh potatoes by hand and frying them. “Really. These french fries are the best ever.”

“I believe you honey. I thought I made too much but for a skinny little fellow you can sure put food away,” Mrs. Peacock said. “Haven’t made a meal for a fellow in quite a while. What grade are you going into this year?”

“Grade?” I asked between chomps of golden brown spuds. “I’m going to college this fall.”

“College?” she said, and it occurred to me there was no reason for her to know anything about me because I was just another kid, albeit one that said hello instead of cracking wise. “You must be..”

“Eighteen. Yes, so I’ll miss seeing you to at school everyday,” I told her.

“You wouldn’t be seeing me anyway Elliot,” I was informed. “I retired last month when I turned 62.”

“62?”

“I know. I feel as ancient as I look.”

“No Mrs. Peacock, I mean I didn’t think you were old enough to retire,” I said honestly. “I thought you were like my mother’s age. Like 50 maybe?”

“Now you mister!” Mrs. Peacock scolded me as she wagged her finger at me, but with a smile on her face. “This is the fellow that claims he’s no good around women?”

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