"Domesticated, frippish, freakin', fops," Julian said, "Look at 'em all."
"Would you shut up and let me be for a while," Caroline replied.
Sunlight fell upon her toasted limbs like golden butter. A couple guys and a woman each from their places on the parkland green eyed her.
Julian seethed, "But look at 'em all. Just like pets or children of Uncle Sam. Not one of them suffers any real hardship."
Caroline held her tongue. Perhaps given no reply he would quiet down. Doesn't he ever have fun, she thought. Perhaps I should ditch him for one of those frisbee players. That one is so graceful, and smiling. Yellow sun pouring down on him, at the wheel of an old car. He smiles at me. The road winds on ahead. The sea crashes on the coast below. We find a beach, picnic at sunset. Pines whistle green in the wind. We drink wine. He holds my face tenderly....
"What a bunch of limp wristed frisbee freaks..."
"Julian!" she snapped her dream interrupted. "I came here to have a good time."
"Why don't we go somewhere else then?"
"Why don't you?" she threatened coolly.
The frisbee landed nearby. Caroline broke Julian's consternated gaze and got up with an easy smile. She threw the frisbee back to its owners- a strong, clean glide hitting her target. Naturally they invited her to play.
Julian watched them with a bitter lump stuck in his throat. Caroline knew his pride was too big for him to swallow and join them. Julian sat in the grass itching and mad, chest constricted with anger. Caroline played with her men laughing, having a good time. Julian watched her breasts move in her half shirt until he had to leave.
"Domesticated fops...," he began lamely and walked off like a whipped dog. Another one slipped through my fingers, he thought. Only the night before we had kissed. A sweet, honey melting, heart flutter....
Julian cringed uncontrollably. Then it stopped. I was limp. The swelling ceased, and I was left tense, deflated. She laughed, said it was nothing. Just relax. But I.... His mind went black. He walked like a shadow too heavy for the noon sun. He walked up F street, across Covell, and into the sea of houses where he lived with his parents. The lawn needed mowing.
"Julian! Where have you been? You were supposed to fix up the yard."
What am I doing living at home? I'm in college now. Oh. There's the mower. What's with the electric mower. What a waste. When I have my own place I'll let it grow wild. Man this thing is loud. Like a thundering herd trodding a grassland underfoot. PAIN.
"My toe," he screamed, "Fucking machine!"
Julian thrust the lawn mower forward into the bushes. The tip of his right shoe was mangled and red with blood. He crumpled into a fetal position and nursed his foot in the grass. The lawnmower sputtered and died chewing up its own cord amidst the rosemary and zinnias.
Julian's father found him crying and paralyzed on the lawn.
"Samantha," he called, "Bring me some gauze."
Stewart removed Julian's shoe. Inside was a red sticky mess. Two toe tips fell out. Julian whined.
"Will I walk again, dad?" he asked in a tragic tone.
"Yes," said Stewart.
Samantha arrived with the gauze. Seeing the bloody flesh she decided not to scold Julian.
"I'll get some ice and neosporin," she said.
In his own way Julian felt significant, uplifted by pain in a suburban apotheosis. I will walk with a limp. I'll bear a scar. More than most suburban fops. Its like a hunter's wound. Like a lion bite. I'll limp. But what will Caroline think?
Julian's parents took care of his foot.