-Mission Viejo High School, 1999-
I was exhausted. Somehow I had scrounged enough cohesive thought on my most recent Algebra 2 exam and pulled off a B. The class was the bane of my academic life, an inescapable ding against my otherwise 4.0 GPA. I was getting tutored, studying like a maniac, and otherwise trying my best to scrape together good grades. A B was essentially the best I could do and probably used up the rest of my luck for the next few weeks. I was convinced that the class was completely useless in the long run anyways and couldn't understand the purpose of being beaten over the head with the derivative of a cosecant.
(By the way, to any readers out there who are in high school: Unless you plan to go to college for mathematics or engineering, you will never use Algebra 2, Calculus, or Trigonometry. Ever. At most, you will end up using the basics of Geometry and Algebra 1. Just thought I would confirm this ever-present high school complaint for you.)
As I made my way to the quad I spotted my friend, Tiffany. Her back was towards me but I could make out her tan skin, her short but bouncy curls like thick, winding ribbons, and her varsity jacket.
Tiffany and I were friends who had met in marching band. I was the only male flute player in the woodwind section and she one of the color guard girls. We were good friends who spent a lot of time together; she would teach me to spin her color guard flag, sending it soaring high into the air at dizzying speeds. I loved the kaleidoscopic spin of the colors and the pata-pata-pata-pap of the fabric as it fought against the whipping air. I taught her the basics of the flute and helped her with her English homework, and how to best memorize passages from her literature assignments.
Like any friends we also had out own secret set of inside jokes and private rituals. This included phonetically writing out any Japanese word in English, referring to ourselves "Bot Hitches", and me smacking her ass till it felt like a pincushion for her.
At some point, I don't recall why, I began greeting her by getting a good running start and then smacking her butt with as much force as I could muster. She would yelp. I would laugh. She wouldn't be able to sit down for a good ten minutes. Que sera, and such. She, in turn and in revenge, would try to get a running start and surprise me by smacking me upside the head. I would curse. She would laugh. I would vow my own revenge and nurse my aching head. It was the circle of smacking life.
These mini-concussions happened frequently for me. Suddenly, it dawned on me; maybe the reason I was having trouble in Algebra 2 wasn't because I was crappy at math, but because of Tiffany pounding my skull all the time. It had to be the case. I was too smart to be having trouble with High School classes, of all things.
Given, it was specious reasoning at best, but it was good enough for me. I took off running.
500 meters. My sprint was already gaining speed. 450 meters. I was going to make her butt pay in spades for my B. 400 meters. Dear God, please. Please, don't let her turn around. 300 meters. 250 meters. I was a freight train that was going to absolutely destroy her. 200 meters. I pray those people she's talking to don't warn her. 150 meters. I stretched back my arm and opened my palm. 100 meters. 50 meters. I am going to crush her like the hand of God.
Gravity, my quicksilver speed, and every single muscle in my arm and shoulder work in unison to focus all their energy into a single point. The impact of my hand on her butt sounds like the snap of a whip. It. is. epic. Nearby conversations stop at the sound. People turn to stare. I'm pretty sure I may have broken a small bone in my hand, but it is worth it. I hear her scream louder than she ever has and it pleases me so.
A few meters out after I've slowed down I begin to turn around and gloat, "Holy hell, I got you go-"
"WHAT THE HELL!?" screams the girl who is, horribly, terribly not Tiffany.
"Oh. Oh God." I am aghast. My eyes are wide as dinner plates and my jaw drops so low that birds could roost in my mouth. I have made a dreadful mistake; one that could easily get me expelled. "I am so incredibly sorry."
"What is wrong with you?!" Not Tiffany is understandably pissed off. She looks at me like I'm some kind of neighborhood crazy maniac that her parents have told her to avoid. Her friends are now getting up and gathering around her. My utter beat down is probably unavoidable.
"I am so, so, so sorry! I thought you were my friend, Tiffany, from behind. You guys look exactly alike from the back! Honest to God! I swear! I would never do that to a stranger! It's why I was smiling when I turned around! I thought you were her! We do this thing to each other all the time!"
She analyzes me and considers what I've said. Her posse is awaiting the go-ahead to mash me into a fine paste. I am dreading my future.
"Fine. Whatever. Ow, Jesus," she rubs her ass and looks at me. "I believe you, but for fuck's sake be sure it's her next time?" She is understandably pissed, but forgiving and, thank god, believes me. I crumple like an old piece of tissue paper under her withering stare and promise to be more careful. I bow, literally, I preform a small bow out of respect towards her kindness in pardoning me as I back away from her.
"Never again. And, yes, uh, so very sorry."
-Six Months Later.-
I come to a dead stop seconds later and enjoy the high pitched squeal I've elicited with my mighty palm, which I have dubbed Mjölnir, Destroyer of Worlds and Tiffany's Buttcheeks.
I smugly turn around, "Take tha-"
I've once again confused Not Tiffany with Tiffany. "Oh for... look, really, same as last time. Honestly. Simple mistake. Really, from behind you guys are nearly identical."
She just looks at me in disbelief. She is obviously not going to buy this, truth or not.
Then, as if I've won the lottery, fortune smiles on me. Behind her I see Actual Tiffany, she has observed the entire thing and, knowing about my previous mix-up, knows exactly what's just gone down and cannot control her laughter. "See! Look! That's the person I meant to get! Right there!" I point her out. Not Tiffany looks over to see Actual Tiffany laughing, slapping her own tuckus and generally having a ball at my stupidity, shit luck, and lack of forethought.
"I guess you guys do look quite a bit alike," says one of her friends. I could kiss this guy for his kind concession.
I apologize again, formerly introduce myself, and bring Not Tiffany to meet Actual Tiffany. We all have a laugh about it. However, behind it I am mortified. My only wish is for the universe to show me some mercy and send a tiny meteorite careening to Earth and that it hit me square in head and vaporize me on the spot.
-Today. About Four Hours Ago.-
Blackberries have finally appeared at the Farmers Market and their arrival announces the coming close of an entirely too short and oddly weathered spring. It's blazing outside and I'm determined to make sorbet.
The berries practically burst at the touch. Picking one up sends tiny streams of dark indigo juice trickling down my fingers. I have to rush to lick the sweet rivulets off my fingers and pop the berries in my mouth. They're tart and jammy. Perfect.
As I stand there trying to use those faltering bits of high school math I do recall to figure out how many baskets I need I feel a hand slip around under my shirt. An open palm glides across the stomach and, due to my wearing very low hanging jeans, a few fingers began to feel dangerously close to my everything else.
"Hey there, mister," says a smiling voice thick with lust and the obvious insinuation that there has been a previous romp in the bedroom.
With someone else.
I turn around quickly so that the arm is now wrapped around my waist and hand pressed firmly against the curve of my back. "Why, hello," I say in my chipperest voice, allowing the smile on my face to communicate a lifetime's worth of revulsion and sarcasm, "it's nice to meet you, too. Though, usually, I prefer dinner first before second base."
The man is in shock. He would be cute if he didn't look like he was about to impolde from utter dread and panic. His skin is as red as the strawberries in his market bag.
"Oh! Oh my God! I thought you were someone else from behind!!! I'm so sorry!" he flusters as he speaks and is understandably fretting.
"Lucky someone else. It's fine. Honest mistake." I smile and tell his that I've done the same thing before. He needn't worry. I look back at the blackberry vendor, pay for some baskets and head on my way home. I'm delighted by the ordeal, actually. It's nice to know I still look good.
Mistakenly, at least.
This end of spring sorbet is delightful way to use up any extra blackberries you might have. The flavor is juicy, winey, and in no way reserved. The rosewater adds a floral flavor that mingles eloquently with the berries. A bit of honey and lemon round everything out. It's a sorbet simply too good to pass up.
I add corn syrup to my sorbet. It prevents it from getting too hard in the freezer if you plan to store it.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
5 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, rinsed and dried
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup (optional)
1. Place the blackberries, rosewater, sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and corn syrup if using in a large bowl. Stir to coat blackberries with the sugar. Mash with a potato masher.
2. Put the mash into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
3. Place a sieve over a large bowl and working in batches, press the mixture through the sieve, using a rubber spatula to catch the pulp and seeds.
4. Chill the mixture for at least an hour in the fridge. Then process following the directions of your ice cream maker.