That Friday, Scott came to the B&N so we could work on our English project. We were supposed to present two poems of our choice in two different ways. Some groups were doing skits, some songs, things along those lines. We decided that for Dickinson, we would go old school and simply recite the poem. ("Easy and guarantees an A, a classic," according to Scott.) Our next poem, Scott chose. He brought it to school that Wednesday, telling me that it was versatile, and could be interpreted many ways. It was called "The Elephant is Slow to Mate" by D.H. Lawrence.
The elephant, the huge old beast,
is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
and drink and browse
and dash in panic through the brake
of forest with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake
together, without a word.
So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
hiding their fire.
Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
for the full repast.
They do not snatch, they do not tear;
their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near, more near
Till they touch in flood.
"So, how should we present this to the class in a way that doesn't seem dirty?" Scott asked me that night at the B&N.
"I don't think it sounds dirty, exactly. It's just exaggerating the meaning of understood love..."I considered my answer and smiled, "I think."
"You think, hmm?" he replied just as a two boys who looked about a year older than me walked up to the counter, shoving Scott out of the way. One boy had blond hair and the other was wearing a Beevis and Butthead t-shirt. The blonde one walked to the front of the counter.
"Sor--ry," I heard Scott mumble sarcastically to himself.
The boy didn't pay any attention to him, but instead he gazed up at me, with adoring eyes. I saw Scott twitch.
"Hey," he said in a deep voice.
"Hi," I said back. He stared at me without saying a word.
"UM, can I take your order?"
"What? Oh sure. Hmm...what do you recommend?"
"The cran-apple smoothie is a favorite of mine." I said.
"Not much of a smoothie guy, you know?"
"Ok--ay well, how about coffee, it's a classic, everybody loves coffee."
This guy just shook his head.
"Actually, I was thinking that maybe I could get your number? Maybe have coffee sometime you're not working?"
"Uhh..." I looked nervously up at Scott, for some reason I
thought I should check with him first.
"Big brother in the way, huh? NO problem," this pervy guy seemed to notice my hesitence, "I'll have her home by eight so you can have her in bed by nine. Unless I, i mean we, decide to do it. Sound peachy?"
"Actually, no. How bout you lay off my sister and go lay your sick perverted ways on some other girl! Sound plumy?" Scott (whom apparently was my brother) had suddenly become very protective, I wasn't happy so much as I was surprised that he came to my defense so quickly.
The jerk turned to me.
"I think you can make your own decisions, can't you? You're a big girl," he turned to his friend, "Especially in some places, you know what I mean?"
If Scott had been angry before he was ready to burst into flames now.
"Get out. If you ever say anything to her again I swear you won't see the light of day again."
"Wow, really amazing comeback, never heard that one before."
Scott looked like he was ready to slug him.
"Okay, okay, I'm gone," he said and then turned to me tipping an imaginary bowler hat, "Good day, Madame."
And he left with his friend.
And then I felt a sudden rush of admiration for Scott.
Our eyes met and I told him, "Thanks big brother."
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