Making it

Gareth Reeves

He taught me to say ‘blacks’ without blenching.
At his party I was the only white
but did my waspish best not to notice.
Though a student in my Freshman class,
he was seasoned. He showed me a thing or two.

‘You press this button and look
the antenna goes up,’ taking me for a ride
in his brand-new sports car which flew
along Skyline Boulevard. I bought his old car;
it looked like nothing on earth:

‘I’ve got to sell it quick
for the down payment on my new machine.
By the way, you’ll need this form,’
and he signs his wife’s name.
Next day she phones: ‘I want my car back, see’.

I blink and don’t see. A week later:
‘Keep it. I don’t care, now I’m shot of him.
Know what he said? – “Well, if you wanna send
Gareth to jail, receiver of stolen ...” ’
and it all comes out:

‘He ain’t what you’d call a family man.
Forgot about our baby once and it fell downstairs.
I told him he was kinda careless. He agreed.
Rented himself a love-nest on campus
and used my name as security –

‘Story of my life. Fell for him over and over.
After all, he’s charmin, you’d agree.
He even nicked some frat rat’s tie-pin
to prove he’d been to college. So we married.
Now I’m paying for the whole of his damn
                                                            education.’

Me lamely: ‘At least he’s made the best of it.
I mean the essays he did me were, well, rather
                                                                 good.’
‘Yeah, and you wanna know who wrote them?
Love works in a mysterious way,
as you would say.

‘Anyway,’ she ends, ‘it’s a fine auto.
May look a wreck but it sure goes.
It’ll get you all the way back to lil ol Englan.’