by Randy Reynolds

I had heard that preacher’s daughters were “fast” –which sounded ominous—and I would never have gone into the woods with one, but Diane was not, technically, a preacher’s daughter. She was a preacher's granddaughter. Her granddad was preaching a revival for us and Diane was spending the summer with him and her grandma, traveling from church to church throughout the South. I never got around to asking why her parents had sent her away for the summer, but it couldn’t have been anything bad. She was too pretty to have done anything bad.

She lured me into the woods behind the parsonage, leaned against a tree, arched her back, held out her hands and pulled me closer. Her kiss was different from the smack on the cheek my mom gave me each night after prayers. Diane’s lips made no sound and she didn’t kiss me on the cheek. The only thing that kept me from fainting was a whiff of her perfume.

Afterward, she just stood there against the tree, eyes closed, lips slightly parted. I leaned in to kiss her again with my head bent to the right, but couldn’t get the proper angle. I backed up and tried from the left but that didn’t give me a clear shot either.

She opened her eyes, “Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“You’re standing on Tippy’s grave,” I said.

She jumped away from the tree. “Who’s Tippy?”

“My dog.”

I pointed to a carving on the tree: ‘TIPPY – A GOOD DOG – 1963’.

“He got hit by a car,” I said. “Now I know how he felt.”

She smiled, proud of her accomplishment.