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Boys of Summer

Rumble Fish

Holiday romances always seemed to happen over a long hot summer. Lazy days at the beach, pool parties, stolen kisses in the back row of the cinema and those inevitable good-byes at the end with promises to keep in touch. That summer Lucie accomplished three things: she celebrated her nineteenth birthday, she grew out a particularly bad haircut, and she lost her virginity to an American boy named Chet.

Chet was twenty-two and taking a break from his University studies and a relationship with a high school sweetheart which had started to turn sour. He had only been in Australia for two weeks when he first saw Lucie leaning against a wall in a nightclub, Vodka and Tonic in one hand, the other hand tucked neatly into the pocket of her jeans.

By the end of that night, their first night together, Lucie had learned almost everything she needed to know about Chet. How his parents met and fell in love to the sounds of “Chet Baker Sings” at a friend’s dinner party and decided there and then they would name their first son “Chet”; how he collected maps as a child and dreamed of sailing around the world with his pet Canary named Jerry; how he started a band in his early teens and his fellow band mates sacked him for never turning up to band practice; how he woke up one Friday morning with the sudden urge to travel so he deferred his University studies for a year, booked himself on the next flight to Australia and called his high school sweetheart from the airport boarding lounge to tell her he wouldn’t be able to make it to their engagement party the next day.

On their third night together Lucie told Chet she was a virgin. She put it down to the fact she was the late bloomer among her circle of friends and past romances with boys of Summer had never amounted to anything more than those stolen kisses in the back row of the cinema. Chet told Lucie he had only slept with two girls, his high school sweetheart and a girl from his Psychology class when he and his sweetheart were on a “break”.

On their fifth night together Lucie and Chet had sex. For Lucie it wasn’t the life changing event she had expected it would be, nor was it the most awful and anxiety ridden experience her friends had told her it would be. Afterwards Lucie and Chet looked at each other, howled with laughter, got dressed and went out dancing.

On their last night together Lucie and Chet ate pasta and drank a bottle of Chianti in their favourite Italian restaurant. Chet admitted to Lucie he wasn’t really named after Chet Baker, his parents had simply named him after an Uncle and they probably didn’t even know who Chet Baker was. Lucie told him she preferred the more romantic version of the story. They exchanged keepsakes to remember each other by, Lucie’s silver star key ring for Chet and Chet’s Bowie T-shirt for Lucie. They kissed briefly and said goodbye.

Three weeks later Lucie received a postcard from Chet. He was staying with relatives in New Zealand. He said he missed her. She never heard from him again.

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