I Called Her Arrabee

[I transcribed this from an MP3 file; it's an excerpt from a much longer file that is available at Monkees.net, called "Mike Nesmith Diary (Part 2)". I had to guess at the spelling of the proper names. As far as I know this story was written by Mike Nesmith sometime in the mid-1960s.]

I called her Arrabee. So did most of her other friends, I think. It was short for Arrabella, Arrabella Crown. The name sort of went with her, too. I don't remember a lot about her, now, about the way she looked, I mean. I just remember that she looked like her name was Arrabee, or something like that. She was blonde, not real blonde ­ she had kind of the blonde that you're sure is natural, you know. And she wore her hair the way blonde girls should wear their hair, about shoulder length and simple. I guess it would come close to being a pageboy style more than anything else.

She had emerald eyes. They weren't green, they were emerald. Well, actually not the kind of emerald you think of ­ I mean, they weren't like a jewel or anything, they were like a new, empty, clean 7-Up bottle when you hold it up to the sun, or like Mennen Skin Bracer or something. That kind of emerald. Blonde hair and those emerald eyes. And if that wasn't enough, she had a suntan that wasn't really a suntan at all but a natural skin color. All this makes Arrabee sound like she was a complete dreamboat or something but she really wasn't. I remember a buddy and I decided one day that Arrabee was clean-cut. That's really the only word.

When I met Arrabee I was in some sort of thespian meeting at school and since I knew a great deal about acting and all I was being supremely cool that day. You know how you act when you're in your own habitat. Anyway, Arrabee was there and I saw her and started showing off and impressed her, as far as I could tell. That Friday we went out.

I really liked Arrabee, the more I knew her. That Friday we talked and talked after some dopey dance in the gym, and I felt real comfortable with her, somehow. I wanted to kiss her that night, I remember, but I didn't. She had class, and I was afraid of messing everything up if I tried to kiss her on the first date. But I sure wanted to. I remember I said to her in the car that I thought we'd better go before I kissed her. It's the kind of remark you make just to see what the girl will do, you know. She wasn't shocked or anything, but I figured that I'd better play it safe, so I shook her hand and winked and borrowed a little power from thinking how it would be the next time.

It was a while after that that I asked her out again, two or three weeks, I remember. But we didn't go anywhere that night, anywhere really important - to a football game, I think. And when we got to the door she started acting funny and I knew something was wrong. I talked for a while on the front porch, feeling the situation out and all, and by the time the conversation hadn't gone too far I knew that things were fouled up. She said she had a fever blister or something stupid and I almost laughed, but it wasn't really that funny. Anyway, I didn't kiss her. Oh, I mean, I went ahead and tried, but she was pretty set, and so I didn't make a scene. I just left, said goodnight, and winked.

About this time I started hanging around with a bunch of kids from the choir at school. We were all pretty unpopular, I guess. I had maintained some degree of social prominence around school, but it never was for real. And then these kids came along and I felt like I belonged to them, or something. There was Franklin Ricky who smoked London Dock and was best friends with Scott Ridley who really didn't like Virginia Webb who was always trying to make friends with Jan Rankin who drove a '57 Chevrolet she let me drive. You know, one of those kind of cliques. There were a bunch more.

We were always skipping school and pooling our money and buying some stuff from the delicatessen. Then we'd go to this huge old abandoned house with rolling lawns and a private lake and have a party on the shore of this lake. Or we'd all get together and have a party at my house. There were about 15 or 16 of us altogether.

It was getting pretty cold and I still remember the frost on the inside of the car windows from Franklin's London Dock and the way leaves sound when they're dry. Every time it gets cold I think of that time.

Well, anyway, one night we decided that we should have a party that weekend at my house. I asked Arrabee to go. I don't know why. Arrabee really wasn't one of those type people. She was terribly popular, a cheerleader and all, a much sought-after date, and I wasn't even sure she'd fit in with my little group. But I'd been dating her some and felt like I just wanted her to come. You know.

When Friday came around, snow was forecast, and sure enough, about noon huge puffs of white snow sauntered down and seemed to sort of nest along the ground. In Dallas this was something of a rarity and we were all pretty excited about it. By nightfall the ground was covered with this white pelt and it was really great to see. But the coolest part of the evening was the moon. How it could be snowing like it was and have such a moon was amazing to me.

Arrabee that night had on a white full-length cashmere coat and it was very soft as I helped her into the car. Everything smelled like an Eskimo pie. And I knew that I'd have a terrific time that night. And I did. Arrabee meshed quite smoothly into that little society, considering, and I fell more in love with her as the evening wore on.

It didn't seem to make any difference that I'd never been able to kiss her good-night or anything even though I wanted to all the time, even though she had shunned every time I'd asked her or tried to kiss her. Everything was just real great all of a sudden. And I thought Arrabee was cool beyond words.

We left the party about 11:30, I guess; I know it was early. One thing we usually never did was drink and so I had all my faculties. When we stepped outside to go, and I saw the snow, and the moon, and felt the air, and smelt her white cashmere coat, and I felt like I should yell or something. It was terrific, and it was all there, and all at the same time.

I had to drive home slow, because of the roads and all. We talked on the way home, about nothing, really. The headlights of the car made the snow look like falling carnations, and made the road look clean and new and fresh.

When we got to the door we both stood there in the snow and looked at each other. I knew that Arrabee wanted me to kiss her. I knew it as sure as the world. I knew she wanted me to put my arms around her white cashmere coat and pull her close to me, and kiss her gently, and everything. I knew it.

And I looked at Arrabee, and I just said goodnight, and winked, like I always had, and walked away. And the snow crunched under the tires of the car, and the moon was shining, and everything smelled like an Eskimo pie.

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