A girl like Mandy Spitzer is the type of girl who my Mom would say gives the milk away for free. The guys at school had different terms for it, of varying degrees of niceness. I think my favorite was, “Her lips just get bored kissing the same set every day,” which I liked because it made it seem like it wasn’t Mandy Spitzer’s fault, that it was just her damn lips, which weren’t something she could control. Maybe it was something like the Energizer Bunny and his inability to stop hitting his little white drum.
But if it was something like that, where does Mandy Spitzer keep her battery?
Lou Davidson, last Monday morning, told the eighth grade homeroom that kissing Mandy Spitzer is like making out with blackberry cobbler, which made me think of birds, and the way that the mama bird eats something and then throws it up in the baby bird mouths. Suddenly there’s the image of Mandy Spitzer biting into a freshly baked pie, chewing it up and then shoving her mouth onto Lou, and it makes me so sick that I have to leave home room.
Did I mention that I’m in love with Mandy Spitzer and I don’t think anybody – not Lou Davidson, not Gary Ferrerra, or Scooter Tompkins – should be kissing her at all? It should be me, it should be my lips that she’s energizer bunny-ing with. Lou tells me in secret that her lips are deeply colored because she squeezes blackberry juice onto them in the morning along with vaseline. It’s her own lipgloss that she invented and wants to get patented someday.
Like I said, I’m in love with Mandy Spitzer.
I asked my dad in a roundabout way what I should do if I’m in love with somebody, and he got flustered and ended up sitting down with me and showing a more animated, less informative version of the video we watched in health class about “Our Changing Bodies,” and then he asked me if I had any questions, and all I could say was no, so that was a colossal waste of time.
I thought about asking my younger sister, but she’s only seven, and even though she regales us with stories of her three boyfriends that she’s “juggling better than Bozo the Clown,” I know she’s just blowing smoke. I saw one of these so-called boyfriends touch her arm the other day and she was getting one of her friends to circle-circle-dot-dot like the poor boy had the plague. So, yeah. No one can help me with my Mandy Spitzer problem.
Mandy Spitzer has her two friends, Leesa Showfield and Nora Verinski. They sit at the same place for lunch every day and discuss the many shortcomings of our eighth grade class. What I do every day is walk by their table, compliment Leesa on her neckerchief or whatever, and Nora on her bangles, and then I walk on. I think it’s kind of mean, but it’s all I can think of to do – eventually, she’s going to have to come up and talk to me and ask why I’m being such a jerk. I’m ready for it. Here’s what I’m going to say.
“Mandy Spitzer, the reason why I compliment them is because they need as much bolstering as they can handle if they are going to be around someone who is as beautiful as you are every day. Plus, if I started complimenting you I would have to start from your toes and work my way all the way up to the space above your head which glows a little bit from your radiance. And that would take a while, and I wouldn’t get to eat my lunch and I know that Leesa and Nora would get real bored. So I just have to skip it every day. You understand, right?”
I never get the chance to say my speech, which is in its third draft by the way. I was going to talk about the ends of her hair at first, but I thought she might think that I thought she had split ends, so I skipped it and added that bit about how she glows. One day, Leesa and Nora came up to me and I thought I was going to get the thrashing of a lifetime with their fluorescent fake fingernails. Instead they said, “Mandy wants you to meet her by the blackberry bushes after school today,” with Leesa starting the sentence and Vera taking it to its fantastic orchestral finish.
“Oh, cool. Um, I hope I can make it,” I said.
“You can. Bring mints,” Vera said while Leesa was leaving, and they both giggled away.
After school. Today. A girl like Mandy Spitzer should give more time, she should know she deserves my brown Sunday school loafers, spit shined, my hair combed and gelled to one side and maybe even my clip-on tie, secreted away in a pocket during school, but brought out for the big moment.
And by the blackberry bushes! I replace my mama bird image with a better one: Mandy Spitzer has puckered her lips and is holding a just-ripened blackberry there, right at the symmetrical center of her mouth, and instead of going right in for the kiss, I press my lips up against that berry and we squeeze our mouths together, popping the little balloons of berry one by one so that juice drips down between us.
That day after school I wait and imagine different scenarios and wonder if there is a way that I can stretch this berry-scented makeout further, from eighth grade to high school, from high school to college, all the way across the expanse of time that Mandy Spitzer and I have to live. Because if you ever get to kiss a girl like Mandy Spitzer, you should try to keep kissing her for the rest of your life.