Sunshine, a six-pack of beer, and a swimmin’ hole.
It’s not like Zack and his friends didn’t have a chlorinated, public pool a few blocks from their houses in town, but the newly discovered swimmin’ hole some ten miles out of town was much more entertaining. The Lil’ Wolf Hole was hidden from the World by a thick grove of trees, just a muddied dirt path away from a busy highway and what they considered normal.
The waters were calm and cool, a trout stream dammed by nature and by locals to a depth of nine or ten feet. A limestone wall at the back of the pool allowed for the adventurous few to dive into the waters some ten to twenty feet below.
There was an impromptu garbage can with a plastic liner, hanging from the side of a tree. Here was a safe haven of rock and dirt and freshwater. And the neighbors wanted to keep it that way.
The locals would often bring their children, their dogs, and themselves to the waters to bathe and become refreshed. For the townie teens, there were several life lessons to be learned during their days spent at the swimmin’ hole…
Canned beer floats. Bottles of beer break and cause serious injury. You can throw a can of beer to a friend some twenty feet away in the swimmin’ hole, and the can will just splash, then float, and your friend will say “Thanks”.
People other than the Freak Squad in high school smoked funny cigarettes.
Old drunkards like sardines on saltines.
Always take along bars of Ivory soap if you plan on bathing in a stream. Same concept as the canned beer. Ivory floats.
The rumble of a vehicle entering the secluded parking lot in the trees had all of the heads of the swimmin’ hole turning in that direction. Moments later, four people emerged from the woods and the muddied path.
It was an older high-school friend, Douglas, his younger brother, and two young women. After ten minutes of light-hearted banter between the newly arrived and the beer-drinking teens in the water, two things became apparent to Zack.
First-off, the girls were sisters from Chicago, visiting their cousins for a week, and Douglas and his brother were showing the city girls what ‘country life’ was all about.
Secondly, floatin’ about in a trout stream, with the cool waters splashing against his chin, Zack became oblivious to the conversations of the others, instead fixated on one of the two sisters.
She was beautiful. She had appeared to him as a simple, pure, nymph of the woods. An elegant, yet petite version of Pocahontas. Long straight brown hair framed her soft eyes , her skin, already darkened by the summer’s sun, was clad in a turquoise tank top, cut-off blue jean shorts, a pair of brown leather sandals had led her down the muddied path.
Normally a cocky extrovert, Zack instead bobbed around in the water and just watched. The vision of her, standing on the banks, with a forest of green in the background, was something that he didn’t want to interrupt.
On the way back to town, Nick’s truck stopped at their friend Randy’s house. There were rumors that there was extra BBQ’d chicken quarters from that day’s church fundraiser, Randy’s Dad having been one of the pitmasters.
As friends milled about in the driveway, exchanging stories and jokes and chicken quarters, Douglas and his pickup truck came pulling down the drive, his brother and cousins still in tow.
And it was at that point, as the truck came to a halt, that the eyes of Zack and Pocahontas finally met. When all the world stops spinning and surroundings become a haze. They looked at one another, but did not speak out loud, their eyes, while locked together, asked and answered questions, and shared feelings of lust and curiosity and happiness.
Once again, the trucks parted ways, and chicken was had for dinner.
Later that evening, there was the bi-weekly party at Zack’s friend’s family cabin. The cabin was a simple structure, set in the woods back in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere. An old gasoline-powered generator powered the three lightbulbs and a stereo which cranked out the party’s music.
In near complete darkness, just outside of the cabin’s backdoor, Zack’s friend Steve grabbed him by the shoulder.
“Hey man, that girl is here! The one from the Wolf Hole.”
“And? I wish”
There were dozens of teens milling about the property. To the point of being annoying to Zack at the moment. Needing a moment of quiet, he headed out into the darkness, then took a right around the corner of the cabin.
Where he suddenly came face to face with his Pocahontas.
They didn’t speak, just looked into each others eyes. His right hand reached out to caress her left cheek, and then they kissed.
Their lips had barely parted when her sister came giggling down the lawn.
“Hey! Come on! Douglas is leaving. He’s already in the truck!”
And she left, hand in hand, with her sister.
She did pause once and turned and shared a smile with Zack.
And then she was gone.
And he never knew her name.