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NOVEMBER 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 11



By the Side of the Sea | Holly Day

Étude | Vasilis Afxentiou
Past harms torture the music and the love of a young woman


Measure of Distance | Sheldon A. Miller

CLIFFORD WATERS, PH.D., a marriage and family counselor of 20 years, is a contributing writer for Renaissance Online. He lives in Alta Loma, California.


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The door connecting Linda's room to the bathroom was closed, but I could hear the muffled sound of water being run in the tub. If she came out. I'd have had it. Mom would have skinned me alive.

Her room smelled of roses. On her bed lay a pretty dress with large pink and gray flowers on it, a slip, bra and panties. I felt a warm, happy excitement .

I walked across the hardwood floor, conscious of each sound. I knelt at the bathroom door. Through the keyhole I saw Linda as she was climbing into the tub. Naked. Trembling, face flushed, I backed away.

My legs went out from under me. Thump.

Recovered, I again pressed my eye to the keyhole. Her long black hair glistened against her white skin. She was slowly washing her left breast. The girl of my dreams.

Linda stepped out of the bathtub and stood to towel off.

Just then, I heard the front door venetian blinds rattle. I just knew it was Mom. What was I doing! I lept to the bedroom door, tugging at my pants. I had grown a tent pole.

Outside the bedroom I grabbed a magazine and plopped down in a chair at the dining room table.

"Hello. What are you doing indoors? Well I never! Go and bring in the groceries. Be careful with the bag that has the carton of eggs on top."

"Okay." I sat staring at the magazine.

"Well, come on. You'd think your bottom was glued to that chair."

"Okay, okay. Just a minute. I want to finish reading this first."

"No. There's butter and milk to bring in. I don't want them to sit in that hot car. Get a move on."

I squirmed away and, holding the magazine in front of me, ran to the car,

Dumping the magazine, I picked up two grocery bags and walked inside, holding the bags down low.

"Now what was that all about? Your face is flushed. Are you feeling poorly?"

"I haven't been feeling so good." Mom pressed her palm against my forehead.

"You put those bags on the kitchen table, then get straight to bed. I'll be in to take your temperature as soon as I store the groceries."

As I climbed between the cool sheets, my thoughts were of beautiful Linda. I wondered if she would wait and marry me when I was old enough.

Caught in my reverie, I rolled over on my side and gazed out my bedroom window. There, walking from our front door was my Linda. Beside her, her date for the evening: Uncle Arnold.

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