Joel, Joel, Joel...
Joel was a farmhand, working for Old Man Montgomery on Derryland Drive for the summer.
He had dark brown, farmer-tanned arms. He has an upper body of an athlete, his shoulder muscles were solid and permanently flexed. He had a broad chest, with just the right amount of thick, black chest hair that flattened and clung to his sweat-soaked skin. His middle section, my favorite, was thick--he, by far, was not thin. There was "meat on his bones" as my Granny liked to say.
He enjoyed sports but preferred to draw. Nothing specific, just simple things like birds, food....tables. Whatever he saw, given the time, he drew with excellent detail.
His smile was coffee-creamer white; each tooth in it's place, straight as a stick. His canine teeth, on the top portion of his mouth as well as the bottom, were abnormally large. This trait, he informed me, he inherited from his father--a stranger, as far as he knew.
Rumor around town was that he was thinking about going off to college at some point. None of that was told to me personally, just hear-say. As far as I knew, he was happy with his job as a farmhand--he said manual labor was just that manual and he, by far, was all man.
I think, in his own little way, he knew how hard I was crushing on him. He went out of his way to ask me only every other day when I planned on marrying him. Of course, he was joking and I would laugh and reply:
"Anyday now." Of course...jokingly.
He'd just turned 19 when I hit 17. It was now a big no-no for him to be seen with me in public. Our small town of Chesterton, NC was pretty strict on folks about that kind of stuff. No PDA, no inappropriate flirting ("fanny smacks, fanny grabbing"...pretty much anything to do with a "fanny."), and certainly no fraternizing with the under age.
Mr.Montgomery had always been a giving man--he'd been letting me stay on his farm in his spare building. It wasn't any bigger than an apartment bedroom. He'd rigged some pipes in through the floor of the house; one to a toilet bowl and one to an old bathtub. My makeshift home was complete; toilet, tub, bed, mini-fridge, and dresser.
Around April, Mr.Montgomery went a little north to Virginia to visit some family. He always stayed the month and always put Joel in charge. Joel tried his hardest to have my little home set up before it got hot. He set up 9 or 10 different sized fans he'd pulled out of Mr.Montgomery's pool house, setting them up at various angles before opening the two windows in my living room/bathroom/bedroom.