EVELYN AND CLANCY 4-EVER by Kim Catanzarite
First printed in moonShine review.
She said it all the time. Into his ear. Into his mouth. Sliding down the trunk of his body. You and me. You and me forever.
Clancy didn’t mind. As long as no one else heard, what did it matter? Down here, in the depths of his basement
bedroom, he loved her too. At least he thought he did. He wanted to be with her. He liked her on top of him. She didn’t
annoy him the way girlfriends in his past had.
His mother liked her because she didn’t call the house so much.
And because she would be leaving for college soon, and now he wanted college too. His mother liked that he wanted college.
and me forever," Evelyn whispered.
Clancy didn’t say it back, and she bit his bottom lip, not hard, just
a nibble. He laughed. She liked him to laugh. She pulled off his shirt and slid her hands over his chest. The rough fabric
of the couch grated against his skin.
He didn’t mind so much about the red lipstick letters sprawled across
his back windshield: Evelyn+Clancy 4-EVER. He thought it was funny until he drove up to school and the guys started shouting
“Clevelyn” and “Hey, Mr. Evelyn!” By the end of the day, he staggered back to his car, weary with
humiliation. Joe, the biggest offender, stopped in his mustang before pulling away. “Hey man, you know we’re just
jealous, right?” And Clancy remembered how it was before he and Evelyn got together. How the guys talked about what
they’d do to her in a dark room. They were jealous. All of them. Because she was hot. And she loved him. And none of
them, including Clancy, could figure out why.
He would have washed the car during free period but he had an appointment
with his guidance counselor. He would have done it after school, but Evelyn asked for a ride to her theater meeting, and after
that, he got to the pizza place just in time to make the first delivery. When his shift ended, he had to pick Evelyn back
up, and now it was well into the night. He’d wash the car in the morning, before first period. Hopefully his mother
would let it slide, but he doubted it. She went all zombie gray on him when she first read the lipstick words. Standing in
the kitchen, gazing out the back window, the coffee cup slipped right out of her hand. And after she’d finished mopping
the spill, her lips remained that strange colorless color. “What’s that about?” she asked.
“Tell me you didn’t elope.” It was the same tired tone she’d used on his dad:
disappointment incarnate. “Promise me you’re not married.”
He turned his best smile on her. “Geez,
Mom, what’s in that coffee you’re drinking?”
“You better not sneak off one day, Clancy. I swear
“I wouldn’t,” he said. “I won’t.”
“You are only seventeen.”
if he needed reminding. “I know that.”
She straightened the neck of her blouse and pulled at her skirt,
looking as uncomfortable as ever. She wasn’t business material, but once Dad left, she had no choice. “I like
Evelyn fine,” she went on. “She’s been a good influence, to say the least, but … ” she shook
her head, “… marriage at your age would be a mistake, believe me—”
“Evelyn got carried
away, all right? Yesterday was our six-month anniversary.”
This, he could see, did not make Mom any happier.
see you tonight.” She reached for her keys, her mind obviously stuck in some darker place. With her new job, there was
never much time for conversation and that often proved beneficial for him.
And now, here he was with Evelyn in his
finished basement of a bedroom, his mother at some chick-flick with her divorced friends, and Evelyn whispering as usual,
You and me forever, her words riding over his brain like a cold breeze, numbing the grassy terrain as it came and went.
liked kissing her. Sometimes he kissed her all night, falling in and out of sleep in spells. He was lucky. She was not a prude.
If she wanted to do other things, they did other things. She loved him. And she had so many extra-curriculars, he seldom had
to choose between time with the guys and time with her. The forever stuff didn’t bother him. He felt no pressure. None
of his friends were getting married—most of them didn’t even have steady girlfriends—and his mother would
kill him if he so much as bought Evelyn a necklace, let alone a ring.
He entered that dreamy phase that took over around
this time each night—sleepy and comfortable and warmed by the beer they shared. He imagined this was what it was like
to be married. Working all day, then meeting back up at night for a cocktail. Lounging on the couch in front of a soundless
television that flickered in and out like candlelight. Soon he’d have to break free of it—wake himself so he could
drive her across town, delivered by 12:30.
Evelyn sighed in his ear. She was so soft and pillow-like in so many places,
sometimes he forgot she was there. "You and me forever," she breathed the words, and then, as if woken by a sudden
knock at the door, her body stiffened, and she pushed up, rising from the foundation of his chest. “You never say it
back.” The drowsiness had gone from her eyes, and he could see that she’d arrived at some distasteful conclusion.
“What’s wrong?” he said.
She shivered and collapsed on top of him. He jiggled her in a playful
manner. “Baby, baby… What’s up?”
“I’m leaving for college soon.”
“What are you going to do?”
He shrugged, though it was difficult with her on top
of him. “Take classes. Get good grades so I can transfer—”
“Are you really? Or are you just
“I really am.”
“And you’ll visit. Like, every weekend.”
snuggled closer to him, arranging his arms around her as if they were the arms of a sweater or the corners of an afghan. He
doubted he’d see her every weekend. Maybe once a month. It was a long ride to her school, and his job at the pizzeria
didn’t pay enough as it was. Certainly not enough to cover that kind of gas money. Besides, he worked weekends. She
He kissed her. And felt her up. And pulled off her clothes and tried to be passionate without becoming too
excited and losing it early. Once it happened before he got the condom unwrapped, but that was a testament to how hot she
was. Since then, he’d learned that concentrating on baseball or hockey, replaying crucial game moments in his mind,
proved a reliable way to preserve his dignity. In the meantime, he did his best to apply the right amount of pressure—not
too soft or slow, not too hard or fast—to bring about Evelyn’s subtle moan of satisfaction before reveling in
a few free-wheeling seconds of his own elation.
The clock said 12:15. And then 12:25. Still, they remained entwined
on the couch. Naked and unmoving. It wasn’t like Evelyn to ignore curfew. “I better take you home,” he whispered.
She withdrew herself from him. Arms, legs, boobs. Pulled on her underwear, strapped her bra. A preoccupied expression
robbed some of the pretty from her face. He drew up his pants, poked his head through the neck of his shirt. Then slipped
on sneakers and started up the stairs. If something were the matter, she’d have to bring it up.
she said, and he stopped right there and held tight to the banister.
“You and me forever.”
turned and smiled.
She continued to stare. “Right?"
He could not simply go on his way. She was waiting.
She’d been waiting for a long time. “Definitely,” he said and passed her a look of confidence that came
from a part of himself that he’d never tapped into before.
Outside, the cool air felt damp on his skin. They hurried
to the car. His mom must have stopped for a drink with her friends. He hadn’t left a note. If she got home before he
did, she’d know where he was. He started the car, pulled away. He didn’t feel like talking. Evelyn wrapped her
arms around his neck. Her satisfaction filled the car with a warm, humid fog. She didn’t say anything, just hugged him
and nuzzled his neck and ran her fingers through his hair. He pulled into her parents’ drive, and she planted a kiss
on his lips. “I love you so much,” she said.
The motor idled as he watched her climb the front steps, skipping
like a little girl. She hesitated under the porch light to blow a kiss before disappearing inside.
He threw it into
reverse and peered through the lipstick message on the rear windshield. He did not feel happy—or proud. He did not want
to go to college and doubted he could make the grades necessary to join Evelyn at hers. She was an undeserved prize, something
he could not live up to.
Back at home, he parked behind his mother’s car and went into the garage to gather the
pail, a sponge, and a bottle of cleanser. He felt her eyes on him, watching from the kitchen window as he pulled the hose
from the side of the house and sprayed water over the top of the car. It took some scrubbing to remove the lipstick, but nothing
he couldn’t handle. He felt relieved as the swells of water carried Evelyn’s words away.
When he was through,
he slipped in the side door and paused there.
“You didn’t have to do it tonight,” his mother called,
the glow of the stove light backing her words with a soft, unconditional tone.
“Yeah, I did,” he said, and
then he took the stairs down to his bedroom.
He could break up with her in the morning or break up with her next year.
Either way, they would not be forever. And that was fine with him. Nothing was forever. Not love. Not marriage. Not even life.
So why did she say it? You and me forever did not exist. If she said it even once more, he would have to punch something.
He couldn’t stand to hear those idiotic words again. And how dare she write them on his car? What an embarrassment!
He would break up with her in the morning. He never said they would be forever, and he didn’t care how hot she
was. He wouldn’t visit her at college or join her there any time soon. She was stupid and naïve to think so—and
he knew better. He was only seventeen, but he knew better.