Catwoman and Batman

I’m not mad anymore, now that I think about it. I just wish she hadn’t led me on with such an elaborate plan. We were supposed to be movie stars. This is why Facebook should be blown to hell. I hadn’t thought about any of this till her name and her picture showed up. I waited on her. I followed through like she said. Twenty three years ago, today, June7, 1988, I sat in a blue Chevy S-10 pick up truck with everything to my blessed name in the back. It was the break of dawn, no later than 6:30 in the morning. It had gotten Georgia hot. I rolled the windows down, nibbled some beef jerky, swigged a hard bottled coke and waited. She never showed, so I went home. I guess I should explain.

I grew up in the sticks. The town was called Daily, Georgia, about 50 miles due north of Atlanta. Daddy sold farming supplies and equipment. Mama worked at the county tag office. There was nothing to do in the town. Everyone’s grandparents were farmers. Most kids’ parents were 9 to 5 types that made just enough money to get by. Sunday through Thursday, people were in their homes by 8 o’clock. Friday nights were about the high school football games. Saturdays were trouble. At least, that’s what my family called them. There were 7 places to eat, 6 places to drink, and two places to go to jail. My folks asked me to stay away from two of those three. For the most part, I did.

I went to high school in Daily. We were The Fightin’ Planets. I swear on a stack that’s true. Apparently the town was co-founded by a relative of one of the guys that first published the Superman comics in the 1930s. The football team’s uniforms were blue and red and yellow, just like the alien freak from Krypton. I played running back, poorly, all 4 years for Daily. I was more of a Batman guy.

Sophomore year at Daily High, I walked into my second period math class. I hated math. I hated class. I hated teachers. I hated Daily High. I didn’t hate the new girl. Catherine Johnson moved to town from Asheville, North Carolina. She had coal mine black hair, soft white skin with teeth that matched. Her eyes were like hazel or something. They changed all the time, like cat’s eyes. We liked each other and not much else. She told me to call her Cat. She was my partner in crime from day one; Catwoman to my Batman.

We did everything together. Calling us best friends is kind of an insult. We were more than that. Cat talked about three things; getting out of Daily, being an actress, and never being apart from me. I talked about Cat. Starting from the first day of our senior year we plotted our escape. We would graduate with grades good enough to go to college if we wanted. Then we would pack everything we had into my ’83 Chevy and drive to Los Angeles. We agreed to give double middle fingers to Daily while I drove with my knees.

The morning of graduation, we met at the edge of town, near our favorite spot, the statue of the Planet. It was the size of a Volkswagon; silver, and sat inside of a brown holder so you couldn’t touch it without falling off and breaking your neck. We’d sit out by the Planet on Friday and Saturday nights, picking out places on the globe where we’d travel once we were famous. That morning we finalized our deal. Then she did something she had never done before. She kissed me a lot different than she had before.

“I love you, Brandon Batman Wayne. I love you forever.”

I should have known right then that the whole thing was crap. I don’t remember telling her “I love you” back. That probably scared her away. Maybe she chickened out because her parents got wind of what was happening. I didn’t hear from Cat for over a year. By then I was in school for business, up north. She was somewhere down south taking fashion design.

There it was, on facebook. Her pictures, her life twenty three years later, and a friend request like nothing ever happened. Catwoman and Batman never got together in the comic books. Batman drove something a lot better than a pickup truck with a bad transmission that couldn’t have made it across Alabama. What was I thinking?

 I hit accept.

Things online always start out good. You say hello, you comment each other pictures, then you even exchange phone numbers and email addresses over private message. Most of the time, nothing comes from it. People grow up, get busy, and don’t ever take chances.

Cat was divorced. So was I. She had two pre-teen girls. I had one. In some ways, Cat changed a lot from high school. In others, she was stuck in time. She still dreamed big and talked bigger. The worst mistake I made was answering the phone.

“Hey my Brandon Wayne, I’ve missed you.”

I wish I could tell you I told her to go play with the Joker. Hearing her voice made my body feel warm and helpless. I was back to 1988 in that Chevy.

“Hey Cat, I can’t wait to see you at lunch.”

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