Sep 142010

by Gale Acuff

When Sunday School is over I leave with

the other children but say I forgot

something so that I can slip back inside

and talk to Miss Hooker alone. She’s our

teacher and a damn good one–darn, I mean.

I love her and I want to marry her

but I’m only 10 to her 25

or even more. So she’s already old

and won’t get any younger but neither

will I so it sort of balances out

even though I’m not good with numbers

–I flunked my last math quiz but God forgives

me even if my parents don’t. I love

Miss Hooker–when I’m old enough to date

I’ll ask her to the picture show and

she’ll say yes, I have faith she’ll say yes, and

then we’ll go have pizza, and chocolate

milkshakes for dessert, and then we’ll walk down

to the duck pond, behind the church, and see

if they sleep at night. We’ll hear them splashing

if not. Maybe the moon will be bright and

round and I won’t have to squint to see her

in the dark. On the other hand, if I

have to stand close to see her that will be

more romantic. I’ll look her in the eyes,

and she’ll tremble a little, but I won’t

say anything much except I love you

and Isn’t it a fine thing that we met

in Sunday School so many years ago

and Did you know I loved you even then?

And she’ll say Yes, but you were just a boy

but you’re certainly not now, no siree.

And I’ll say to her, I knew you were mine

from the moment you finished the story

of David and Goliath. You told it

as if you’d been right there watching it–wow.

And then I’ll kiss her and open my eyes

to see if she’s opened hers and if not

that’s a sure sign of love. Then I’ll ask her

Will you marry me, Miss Hooker? I’ll use

her first name, of course, whatever that is.

Or maybe I’ll say Baby or Sweetheart

and she can call me Honey or Darling.

Then we’ll get hitched and I’ll get a job or

go to college and then get a job but

either way we’ll have children, maybe ten

or twelve, and dogs and cats and fish and birds

and live in a big house in the country

and die. One of us will have to go first

–I’m not sure what’s best or fairest but I

don’t want to die and leave her alone but

then I don’t want her to die and leave me

alone. I’ll have to study about it.

When I get to the open door she’s still

sitting in her folding chair and looking

through her pocketbook like ladies do, like

they’ve lost something or maybe there’s treasure

at the bottom. When I clear my throat she

looks up. Oh, hello, Gale, she says. You want

something? Yes ma’am, I say: What hath God wrought?