Mom wasn’t in any hurry to let poor Becky out of her corner. It was Sunday and on Sundays Mom and Dad had a routine that never changed and focused on doing as little as humanly possible without sprouting roots. That meant, Mom and Dad changed into their casual attire from their Sunday best and planted themselves on the couch in front of the television. Dad liked to watch these matinee programs that were black and white Japanese horror flicks. They usually featured a lizard the size of a skyscraper wreaking havoc while people the size of ants ran for their lives screaming and pointing at the giant lizard. The horror was the English language dubbing that featured total out of sync sound and lip movements.
I had no interest in the shows or sitting in front of the box and I can imagine it was even less interesting only hearing it from the corner behind the box. Mom probably forgot Becky was even there for a little bit cause she was so quiet. I felt pretty bad for my cousin, standing there in her underwear, red butt shining through her white panties and the whole of my family sitting on the couch with her in plain sight. Becky took it well though, not fidgeting, well not any more than you’d expect after standing through an entire one of Dad’s movies, commercials and all. It was during the credits, with the most awful music I’ve ever heard, that Mom finally dismissed Becky from the corner.
Mom put Becky through the usual post corner time wringer. As if anyone who just spent two hours in a corner with a sore bottom is going to come out of it saying anything other than exactly what Mom wanted to hear. Of course the lesson was learned, even if it wasn’t, and no it won’t happen again, until next time, and yes, foolish don’t even start to describe how I feel. Becky looked a lot more familiar in those few moments answering Mom’s absurd questions. I think it was the first time she looked really, truly vulnerable in my eyes. The embarrassed glow on her cheeks just made me feel guilty to boot.
I followed her down the hall, not right away, but about a minute or so later. I didn’t want Mom or Dad thinking I was trying to pester her. Her bedroom door was closed and I could hear sniffles on the other side. I guess she’d been too proud to really cry in front of me and my folks. The sound of it only hardened my resolve though. I raised up my hand and knocked on the door.
Becky shouted through the closed door. “Go away.”
I raised my voice so she could hear me through the door as well. “I feel bad.”
“You should,” she said. Her bed squeaked like she was twisting on the mattress.
“I’m sorry I walked in on you and I’m sorry you got spanked,” I said.
She said, “Being sorry don’t fix nothing.”
I nodded though she couldn’t see. “You’re right. I’ll knock next time, I swear. It really was an accident.”
“There isn’t going to be a next time,” she said.
I hoped she was right. The only thing left for me to do was to try to prove to her I was sincere and the best way to do that was to try and help her put the whole incident, spanking included, behind her. “I’m going to walk down to 7-Eleven and get a Slurpee. Want to come?”
For a moment I thought she wasn’t going to respond. All I could hear was the television and then her bed squeaked. She pulled open the door and I thought maybe I’d been wrong about her crying cause her eyes were clear and her cheeks were dry, but then I saw the box of tissues on her bed. She’d thrown on a summer dress and slipped into a pair of pink flip-flops since I’d last seen her and she was chewing on a fresh piece of grape gum.
“You paying?” she asked.
I smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll be a perfect gentleman for the rest of the day.”
We managed to walk all three blocks to the store without talking about her spanking or my bad manners. She wasn’t much used to the humid air or our hot sun and she was ready to drop by the time we walked inside the air conditioned convenience shop. The place was popular on hot days, specially the Slurpee machine. It was located behind the counter in those days and an underpaid clerk filled the cups. He usually did a better job for the girls and twice as good for the cute ones. And Becky was without a doubt one of the cute ones.
She went with cherry and I had cola flavor. Becky and I walked out laughing and slurping on our overfilled cups. Her lips got extra red real quick as did her tongue and I was so enjoying hanging out with my cousin I almost didn’t notice Diana Lancaster sitting in her car in the parking lot. I stopped laughing and waved at her, but she either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Diana pulled out of the parking lot so fast her tires squealed and a moment later she was gone.
“Who’s the belle?” Becky asked.
I shrugged not wanting to talk about such things with her. “Just somebody from school.”
Becky laughed and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “If she didn’t like you too, she wouldn’t have drove off like that for just seeing you with me.”
I supposed Becky was right. Back then, I wasn’t too good at sorting my own feelings and trying to figure out those of a girl was way out of my capabilities. Seeing Diana take off like that left me thinking she’d never speak to me and even though we’d never had nothing of a relationship, my heart felt a bit heavy at the thought we never would. Lucky for me, things didn’t exactly work out like I expected.