He always had that look, eyes burning like a hurricane.
He called me "Sister Golden Hair Surprise." It was exciting to know a guy liked me enough to give me a pet name. I wasn't even sure what it meant. Later, when I found out it was just a line from a song, I forgave him. I didn't even tell him I knew the truth.
We walked together to an old park near my apartment complex. He carried a book about the Bolsheviks around with him. He had borrowed it from the public library. I snuck a look at the due date and told him it was already three weeks late. He refused to let me return it.
"Are you a revolutionary?" he asked me.
"I think so," I said
I wasn't really sure what it meant to be a revolutionary. I figured it was kind of like a rebel. I told my mom she could stick it when she told me to help her fold and put away the clothes. Of course, that always got me grounded and I ended up folding the clothes anyway. Sometimes during math class, I chewed gum while doodling his name on my folder. Then I stuck the chewed gum under the chair in a big wad. I was fairly certain that was something rebels did.
I knew there were two kinds of rebels; revolutionaries and something called counterrevolutionaries. I wasn't certain which kind I was, but aimed to find out. The only thing I knew about the Bolsheviks was what I had learned from watching Dr. Zhivago at a friend's house. This didn't help much though because I didn't pay attention to anything but the romantic parts.
The next time I saw him he wasn't carrying the Bolshevik book.
He sat in one of the swings and lit a pipe he had borrowed from his father. It smelled like vanilla. He didn't say anything. He just stared at the ground and dug at the pebbles with his feet.
"Aren't you going to ask me?"
"Ask me what?" he said
"Aren't you going to ask me if I'm a revolutionary?"
He looked at me like I was crazy
"No. Actually I was going to ask you if you would be my girlfriend."
I told him yes.
I think I might have told him I loved him too.
We never really went anywhere. We would walk to the park and I would listen to him talk about each one of his new interests, as it tumbled around in his head. Each new spark like a new revolution in my heart.
BIO: Melanie Browne's poetry can be found at various online journals including Madswirl, Commonline, and Houston Literary Review. She has poetry and fiction forthcoming in Word Riot,Yellow Mama, Writers' Bloc (Rutgers), and 34th Parallel. She is a co-editor at Leaf Garden Press. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children.