Fortunately, Carol was not a shrinking violet. She always entered the room bubbly and eager to meet everyone. Being free and easy came naturally. Cindy was the serious one. Perhaps that allowed Carol to shine.
But there were those blue days, the days when Carol felt she was walking a tightrope, telling herself not to look down. On those days, she would lie on one corner of her bed and hold Mr. Snug close to her chest. Mr. Snug was her one stuffed animal from her childhood.
She would look at her hands, the hands everyone liked, but started seeing them as lost opportunity. ‘How does someone become a hand model anyway?’ she thought. ‘No one ever walked into the malt shop where I was sitting and said “Hey darling. Great hands! I’m going to make you a star.”’
The one malt shop pickup she had was Private First Class Johnny Monroe in Killeen, Texas. PFC Monroe was Carol’s first big romance. She was sixteen and he was eighteen. Johnny, the soldier, was a big-time man of the world to Carol. He would take her on motorcycle rides. They would stop out in the country. He played a harmonica and made up songs about her. God, how she loved Johnny.
It was on one of those trips, in the flat, wide Texas countryside as the sun set that Carol lost her virginity to PFC Johnny Monroe. He placed a gray blanket over the Texas sand. Carol still remembers the red and black crosshatch pattern to this day. That, and how tender PFC Johnny Monroe had been.
Her friend Maureen lost her virginity before Carol ever met Johnny. She told Carol how it kind of hurt and that she was glad to get it over with. Not so, thought Carol. Johnny was so slow and tender. When she first cried out in pain, Johnny paused and kissed her lightly on her cheek. “It’s OK,” he said softly close to her ear. It continued, and it was OK. It was wonderful.
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