Tyū Far
 
            A nū 2021 model Camaro red konvert۔abel spōrtskar wiθ it’s fōld۔abel top down drīv۔d intū Harding Midel·skūol park·landlot and slō۔d tū a stop.  Sit۔ing in θe drīv۔ōr's sēt, Jim Reed tiltlēn۔d down and kis۔d his swēthart Marē Lū Sanders, nesel۔d aganst his turkōis clothe۔t, muskyūlar xōlder.  Won ov his hand۔s grab۔d a hand۔ful ov her yelō hairs, soft and xōlder۔lenθ, anoθer hand kares۔d her soft rēr۔sīd, but, in θe publik plās, in θe top۔les kar, hē dār۔d not rēq around tū her būb۔s.  Xē, fēel۔ing his strong hand۔s kares۔ing her bodē az xē kis۔d hē, mōn۔d wiθ plejur.
            Bōθ wuz swēt sikstēn, bābē adults.
            Θā gāz۔d at ēq oθer's tan۔t fās۔s, intū ēq oθer's blū eyes.
            "I luv yū."
            "I luv yū."
            "Wil yū marē mē?" hē ask۔d xē.
            Xē laf۔d wiθ plejur.  "Wī dū alwās ask mē θat?  Yū no I alwās sā yes." 
            Hē finger۔d θe finger-ring θat hāng۔d on a silver qān around her nek, simbol ov θā's “gō۔ing stedē” – θā's publik rōmantik komitment.  "And yū promis not tū divors mē?" hē ask۔d ernest۔lē.
            "Yū alwās ad θat.  I wud never divors yū," His parent۔s had divors ōnlē twū yēr۔s prēvēus۔lē, and hē had witnes۔d θā's pāin.  "Mābē yōr parent۔s wil rē۔yūnīt somdā.  Yū sā۔d yourself θā iz friends agin."  At his rinkel۔ing brow xē fēel۔d simpaθetik.  "Not tyū lāt,” xē ad۔d hōpful۔lē.
            Jim xāk۔d his hed sad۔lē nō. 
            "Wī not?”
            "Mom and dad bōθ tel۔d mē.  Tyū manē things wuz say۔t."
            Marē Lū had ērhēr۔d θat bēfōr, but stil dint komprēhend.  "Wī dōnt θā mēr۔lē paq it up and kontinyū rāz۔ing θā's kid۔s?"  A kwarter-mūn dint gō bī wiθout xē and Jim argyū۔ing about somθin, but θā alwās kwik۔lē "māk۔d up" (rekonsīl۔d), wiq involv۔d lot۔s ov "māk۔ing out" (paxunat kis۔ing).  "Yū no," xē ad۔d.  "Alīk wē.  Fōrgiv and fōrget."
            "I dōnt komprēhend ēθer,” Jim admit۔d onest۔lē.  "Tyū muq water under θe brij, Mom sā۔d.  Dōnt māk sens."
            "If yū luv sombodē," Marē Lū kom۔d tū θe dēfens ov luv, "it dōnt mater wut iz sā۔d in θe hēt ov θe mōment."
            "Mī parent۔s sā۔d hōribel things tū ēq oθer nēr θe end."  Jim’s fōrhed rinkel۔d agin.  “Θā stil hurl bīt۔ing frāz۔s at ēq oθer in mī drēms."
            Marē Lū put۔d her hand on his hansom rektāngyūlar fās.  Xē had never ērhēr۔d her parent۔s uter krūel word۔s, alθō θā un۔agrē۔d about how muq xē xud studē, wut θā xud ōr xud not purqas, about θā's nāxun USA’s rēsent invāxun ov Arābēa.  Xē kud not imaj θat θā ever wud bē un۔kind tū ēq oθer.
            "Yū promis۔d not tū tel anēwon," Jim rēmīnd۔d xē.  Hē blām۔d bōθ his parent۔s fōr θā's divors, and fēel۔d axām۔d ov θā.  Θā's lak ov fōrgiv۔nes somhow bloq۔d his ōn karakter.  Marē Lū and Matt and a fyū oθer friends in hū hē had konfīd۔d had promis۔d not tū tel anēbodē.
            "Yū alwās sā θat, silē."  Xē lift her hed and kis۔d hē on θe lip۔s.  Hē kis۔d her bak long and paxunat۔lē.
            Θen wiθ a burst ov raw māel enerjē hē jump۔d ōver θe xut۔y kar dōr onto θe pāvment, run۔d bēhīnd θe kar, and jerk۔d ōpen θe dōr on Marē Lū's sīd az xē finix۔d brux۔ing her hairs.  Xē dis۔board۔d grāxuslē, kārful not tū mus her red dres.  Hōld۔ing hand۔s, θā wēv۔d around park۔t cars tōward θe skūol, a θrē-flōr۔level۔ē yelō brik bild۔in.  A plezant brēz blō۔d akros θā's cheeks, tipikal springtīm weaθer in Delaware provins۔et on θe ēstern xōr ov kontinent Norθ Amerika.  Mōst ov θe ap θrē-θousand۔s stūdent۔s wuz alredē insīd -- θe park·landlot, ful ov kolorful cars, had almōst emptē۔d ov pēpel۔s.  Az θā walk۔d θā atrakt۔d θe atenxun ov stragel۔ōrs hed۔ing tōward skūol’s entrans.  Jim (tal, muskyūlar, wiθ a wīd mouθ and kīnd brown ī۔s, θat mōrnin wear۔ing a turkōis tēxirt abov a blū trouser) and Marē Lū (hū mōst konsider۔d byūtēful, wiθ hī qēk·bōn۔s, larj blū eyes, an infekxus wīd smīl, and xāp۔lē in her red dres) wuz rēgard۔t az among Harding Midel·skūol’s prēmō couples. 
            Jim sā۔d, "Tūnīt after diner lets park bī θe river and māk out."
            Fōr a hartbēt θā's ī·bal۔s lok۔d.  Xē turn۔d awā and frown۔d, prētend۔ing tū un۔aprūv.
            A klok in θe hal xō۔d 8:09 ōklok.  "Θe lāt bel wil ring anē minut," Marē Lū warn۔d, tug۔ing on her man's arm.  Xē hāt۔d walk۔ing in lāt, bēing scold۔t bī mises Rikter wīel θe guys gawk۔d at her bodē. 
            Θā run۔d down θe almōst emptē hal.  At θe end, wen θā part۔d, θā tuq۔d hand۔s.  "Tūnīt," hē sā۔d.
            Xē detekt۔d lust in his gāz.  "Iz yū gō۔ing tū drīv mē hōm from skūol?" xē ask۔d tū bē sertin.
            "Hav I not evrē dā sins wē hav bēn gō۔ing stedē?"
            Θe bel ring۔d.  Marē Lū dax۔d awā.  Jim turn۔d tū watq her, nōtis۔ing her xāp۔ē butok۔s and θe wā her blond hairs swing۔d bak and fōrθ wiθ ēq step.  Hē kud not wāt tū put his hand۔s on her bodē agin.
*
            Marē Lū dart۔d intū rūm 106, θankful xē wuz among θrē oθer lāt arīv۔ōrs, and walk۔d tū her rēr sēt.  Alθō xē luv۔d nātūr, xē fēel۔d nō interest in bīolojē – ōr in anē ov her skūol lernkūōrs۔s.  Wut xē līk۔d about skūol wuz it’s sōxal aspekt۔s, espexal۔lē bēing wiθ Jim.  Θe ōvalbal games wuz espexal۔lē eksīt۔ē – Jim wuz a sōkal end, hū run۔d out and kaq۔d θe bal and somtīm۔s skōr۔d touchdowns – but θat yēr’s sēson wuz finix۔d, and xē fēel۔d nō interest in basketbal.  After θe kom۔ing sumer vākāxun, won mōr yēr ov midel·skūol, θen xē hōp۔d tū marē Jim.
            In her qār, after brux۔ing her hairs, xē tāk۔d out her nōtbōok and pen, sō az tū apēr stūdēus, but insted ov tāk۔ing nōt۔s az mises Rikter, a bārel-xāp۔ē mid۔āj۔ē woman, drōn۔d on about plant part۔s, xē dūdel۔d:  draw۔ing hart۔s pēs۔t bī ārō۔s, simbol۔s ov rōmantik luv.  Xē had a talent fōr kram۔ing fōr eksam۔s – rēd۔ing θe skūol·bōok θe prēvēus ēvnin, memorīz۔ing enuf tū rēgurjitāt facts θe nekst dā fōr a C (averaj) skōr.
            Wen θe bel ring۔d, xē wuz won ov θe first out ov her qār.  If xē hurē۔d, xē kud sē Jim on his wā tū maθ – ēven θat litel enkounter wud bē enuf tū sustān her θrū histōrē lernklas.  Among hōrd۔s ov stūdent۔s mūv۔ing in bōθ directions, xē manūver۔d tū θe stār·wā, θen up θe stār۔s, along anoθer koridor – in tīm tū sē Jim and her best frend Joyce Lān – pritē in her nū blū dres – stand۔ing bī a drink۔ing fountin xār۔ing a laf.  Aprōq۔ing θā, Marē Lū ask۔d xarp۔lē, “Wut iz sō hūmorus?” – imēdēat۔lē rēgret۔ing her tōn.
            “Ō, hā, Marē Lū,” Jim grēt۔d xē. 
            “Tyū komplikāt۔d tū eksplān,” Joyce anser۔d wiθ a frend۔ē smīl.  “Tel yū at lunq۔tīm.”
            “Kant bē lāt fōr maθ,” Jim sā۔d.
            Sarkastik۔lē Marē Lū ad۔d, “Tīm now fōr yū twū tū tēr yōrself۔s apart.”
            Jim wēv۔d gōodbī and hurē۔d awā.
            Hurē۔ing along θe koridor, Marē Lū’s hart bēt۔d wiθ emōxun.  Joyce, alθō her best frend, wuz kāpabel ov stēl۔ing Jim if xē kud, Marē Lū suspekt۔d.  Θe θrē often pāl around tūgeθer.  Joyce, not az pritē, had slīt۔bē big۔er būb۔s, and Jim wuz būb krāzē.
            Round۔ing θe kōrner, xē kom۔d fās tū fās wiθ θe nū gal, Beneficent Flowers, rēsent۔lē transfer۔d tū Harding from anoθer midel·skūol in sitē Wilmington – θe rūmor wuz θat xē had bēn ekspel۔d fōr “un۔proper bēhāvyōr”.  Beneficent – top hevē, wiθ a tīnē bodēwāst and hips, and almōst noθin fōr a rump – wuz intervyū۔ing θe ōvalbal tēm az though tū desīd wiq gī tū pik, obvēus۔lē konsern۔les az tū hū alredē had galfrend۔s and hū had not.  Marē Lū and Joyce and mōst ov θe gals θā no۔d konsider۔d Beneficent a slut, θe wā xē walk۔d – and gals wiθ gīfrend۔s fēr۔d xē.  Marē Lū sīd step θe nūkomōrm and kontinyū۔d on her wā.
            In histōrē lernklas, az teach۔ort Blumenthal enθūzēastik۔lē detāil۔d θe stratējē ov an ānxent armē, Marē Lū in her rēr sēt rēgret۔d her koment tū Jim and Joyce.  Impetūositē wuz expect۔t ov a byūtēful woman, but θer wuz a limit.  Jim un۔aprūv۔d ov her jelous۔nes.  Gregarēus, hē enjōē۔d his popyūlaritē wiθ bōθ genders.  Manē gals want۔d hē – a hansom ōvalbal star wiθ a kar – and hē obvēus۔lē enjōē۔d θā's flirtāxun۔s, alīk – xē rēmīnd۔d herself, fret۔ing in histōrē lernklas – anē man wud.  Yet dur θe fīv monθ۔s θā had bēn gō۔ing stedē hē had alwās bēn fāθful tū xē, and xē trust۔d hē tū rēmān sō. 
            Az θe teach۔ort, an ōld man wear۔ing a sūtset and nektī, blab۔d about a war, Marē Lū ōpen۔d her nōtbōok, pul۔d of θe kap ov her pen, rīt۔d, "Dēr Jim," θink۔d, and kontinyū۔d, “I no yū dōnt līk Joyce.”  In tēn parlans “līk” mēn۔d “rōmantik۔lē atrakt۔d tū”.  “I dōnt no wī I sā۔d wut I dū۔d.  I hōp yū iz·not ānger۔ē.  Θink۔ing about yū…”  After her misstep xē nēd۔d tū ad a hōok.  “…tūnīt.”  Xē draw۔d a hart, pierce۔t bī cupid’s ārō, θen fōld۔d θe leter and put۔d it in her bōok·bag – az tēq۔ōr Blumenthal walk۔d tōward xē.  “Misē Sanders,” hē sā۔d tū xē, “List θe term۔s ov θe trētē end۔ing World War Won.”
            Marē Lū bit۔d her lip.  “Dōnt atak anē mōr,” hē ges۔d outloud, tū giggles.
            "Nekst tīm pā atenxun," teach۔ort Blumenthal skōld۔d xē, az Marē Lū fēel۔d her fās bēkum hot, θus pink.
*
            Wen fīnal۔lē θe bel ring۔d, Marē Lū, bōok·bag in hand, skurē۔d out θe dōr, and hurē۔d along θe inkrēs۔lē krowd۔ē koridor.  Jim wud not bē ekspekt۔ing xē – sō xē wud surpriz hē, slip θe luv leter in his pocket, and gō bak θe wā xē kom۔d.
            Minutes lāter xē spotnōtis۔d hē, tal۔er θan mōst stūdent۔s, his hansom fās lōok۔ing down and grin۔ing.  Nēr۔er, xē rēalīz۔d θat θe objekt ov his amyūzment wuz nun oθer θan Beneficent.
            Her instink wuz tū rux fōrward and konfront θā, wiq xē imēdēat۔lē konsider۔d un۔wīz.  Insted xē kwikduk۔d intū a dōr·wā out ov θe flō ov stūdent۔s, and watq۔d θā.  Beneficent’s teknēk, raθer θan aprōq her target and fawn ōver hē alīk sō manē oθer gals wiθ Jim, wuz tū rēmān kōē, stand θer alīk a pēs ov jūs۔ē animalmēt, her eksprexun sulen, fān۔ing at best mīld interest, wīel guys salīvāt۔d ōver her hyūj būb۔s bulj۔ing from her bōē۔ix xāp.  Jim wuz tāk۔ing θe bāt:  lēr۔ing at xē alīk a starv۔ing man at a sizel۔ing kow·slīs. 
            Θink۔d Marē Lū, ‘Θis iz serēus.’  Man۔s wuz vixūal, xē no۔d from ekspērēans.  Az though θā had nō imajināxun, a glimps at provōkativ skin, and θā rēakt۔d alīk mous۔s spotnōtis۔ing qēz.
            Beneficent lōok۔d awā az though distrakt۔d, giv۔ing Jim θe opertūnitē tū gāp at her būb۔s, jut۔ing out ov her wīt blous non۔button۔t won buton lō۔er θan sōxal۔lē aksept۔abel, a sīlent invītāxun tū pēklōok.  His lustful eksprexun Marē Lū no۔d ōnlē tyū well.
            Marē Lū fēel۔d rāj.  Her impuls wuz pouns alīk a helkat.  But, justintīm, a strong۔er instink prēvāl۔d:  beter not pūx yōr man ōver θe edj.
            Θe koridor wuz emptē۔ing, θus Marē Lū rēvers۔d direkxun and, az θe bel ring۔d, enter۔d her Hōm Economics lernklas.
*
            Jim, arīv۔ing lāt fōr jim lernklas, wuz imēdēat۔lē kid۔d bī his frend Matt Kōok, huskē, alsō on θe ōvalbal tēm, a fulbak (gard۔ōr).  “I nōtis۔d yū salīvāt۔ing ōver θat nū gal,” Matt koment۔d.   In θe krowd۔ē lok۔ōr rūm, θe bang۔ing ov metal lok۔ōrs az guys qānj۔d klōz and xū۔s.
            Jim grin۔d bak, dīal۔ing his lokōd.
            “Not a gī in θis skūol hū wud·not want som ov θat,” Matt sā۔d.  Θā qānj۔d xirt۔s, pul۔d on shorts, and stūp۔d tū tī shoelaces.  “Kil۔ōr būb۔s.  And θe wā xē walk۔s – bend۔d fōrward – az though a kōk botel stuf۔d up her snaq.” 
            “Pyūr sekūalitē,” Jim agrē۔d.
            “Sombodē wil get xē.  Xē apēr tū bē māk۔ing her qōis.  Yū iz in kontenxun, from θe lōok ov it.”
            “I alredē hav a galfrend,” Jim sā۔d, az θā walk۔d onto θe basketbal spōrtkōrt.
*
            Fīnal۔lē, lunq pērēod.  Marē Lū, bēkuz ov kitqen dūtē۔s in Hōm Economics lernklas, enter۔d θe nōiz۔ē kafetērēa lāt.  Chairs at θe āt rō۔s ov long tābel۔s arān۔d in fīv kolum۔s wuz mōst۔bē ful.  A hum ov konversāxun and θe klik۔ing ov ūtensil۔s on dix۔s.  Wīel xē wāt۔d in θe kyū fōr qēz nūdel۔s and krēm spinaq, xē spotnōtis۔d Jim, bēsīd θe vākant sēt hē alwās sāv۔d fōr xē, sit۔ing oposit Joyce and his frend Matt.
            Sūn xē jōin۔d θā, wiθ a frend۔ē “helō”, set۔d her trā nekst tū Jim’s.  “Bad mē,” xē reprimand۔d herself, rub۔ing Jim’s xōlder and smīl۔ing at Joyce.
            “Bētwēn lernklas۔s wē wuz diskus۔ing Pat’s rōmantik dilema,” Joyce eksplān۔d, refer۔ing tū a myūtūal frend.
            Jim skwēz۔d his galfrend’s hand.  Θe skwabel finix۔d, hē fēel۔d a surj ov seksyūal atrakxun.  Hē turn۔d tū xē.  “Iz wē stil on fōr tūnīt?”
            Plāful۔lē xē pūx۔d hē awā.  "Kant yū θink ov anēθin but seks?"
            "Nō," hē anser۔d, grin۔ing.  Θen hē and Matt rēsūm۔d a konversāxun about basketbal.
            Θe fōur wuz partwā θrū θā's haf-pārfrūt after۔mēal·trēt wen hū xud aprōq θā's tābel, oposit Jim and Marē Lū, but Beneficent Flowers, stink۔ing wiθ qēp perfyūm.
            "Helō, Jim."  Xē wēv۔d from akros θe tābel.
            "Helō, Beneficent," Jim anser۔d, tred۔ing θe līn bētwēn frend۔ēnes tōward Beneficent wiθout sēm۔ing ōver۔lē sō tū Mā Lou.
            "Ō, Jim, I fōrget۔d tū tel yū somθin," Beneficent kontinyū۔d, ignor۔ing his galfrend az if xē wuz ār.  Az xē bend۔d fōrward, tiltlēn۔ing ōver θe tābel tōward hē, her blous fal۔d ōpen, rēvēl۔ing her būb۔s, ekspand۔d bī gravitē, dangel۔ing from her qest, down tū her lās۔ē blak bra.  Xē rēq۔d won hand bēhīnd Jim's nek, and wisper۔d somθin intū his ēr.
            Marē Lū stēm۔d.  Θe nūkomōrm had deklār۔d war.  “Get yōr būb۔s out ov mī fās, yū hōr!" xē warn۔d in a loud vōis.  Ōnlē her awār۔nes θat suden۔lē evrēbodē in θe kafetērēa had stop۔d talk۔ing prēvent۔d xē from grab۔ing her arogant opōnent bī her hairs and pul۔ing her fās down۔ward intū her nūdel dix.
            Kwik۔lē Beneficent strāten۔d and, stil wiθout glans۔ing at Marē Lū, frown۔d az though ofend۔d bī θe ruf langwij.  "Sē yū lāter, Jim," xē sā۔d wiθ a slī smīl, and slink۔d seduktiv۔lē awā.
            Θe kafetērēa erupt۔d wiθ konversāxun.  Beneficent Flowers, after stalk۔ing θe best lōok۔ing man۔s dur an entīr monθ, had apārant۔lē māk۔d her qōis.  Marē Lū, hū mōst gals envē۔d, wuz bēing push۔t out ov θe piktūr – wiq manē les atraktiv woman۔s in θe kafetērēa welkom۔d wiθ non۔disgiz۔t glē.  Her publik hyūmilēāxun had alredē bēgin۔d.
            Mā Lou’s rāj had not dim۔d.  Xē turn۔d tū Jim.  “Wut dū۔d xē wisper?” xē demand۔d.
            “Noθin impōrtant,” Jim anser۔d onest۔lē, but hē rēzent۔d her tōn, and wuz awār ov θe publik atenxun.   Infakt, Beneficent had wisper۔d θat after skūol xē wud bē at Buster’s, in downtown Wilmington, a popyūlar hangout fōr midel·skūol stūdent۔s θat serv۔d līt snacks.  Θat his galfrend had publik۔lē lābel۔d θe target ov her jelous۔nes a prostitūt, wen nun ov θe rūmor۔s swirl۔ing around xē had sujest۔d θat xē had ever rēsēv۔d monē fōr seks, furθer pēv۔d hē.
            "Wut θe hel dū۔d xē mēn bī, sē yū lāter?” Marē Lū kontinyū۔d hot۔lē.
            Jim xrug۔d, fēel۔ing hiself senter stāj.  Bī dē۔sks pērēod θe insident wud bē blurt۔t al ōver θe skūol.  Hē wuz not sombodē tū bē intimidate۔t – bī anēbodē.  Hē had rēmān۔d fāθful tū Marē Lū dur θā's ap haf yēr ov rōmdāt۔ing, and hē rēzent۔d her suspixun.  Θen hē nōtis۔d in her fās, burē۔d bēhīnd her ānger, hyūmilēāxun, and hē fēel۔d a wāv ov simpaθē. "Hā lōok, I dōnt blām yū fōr bēing jelous.  But enuf iz enuf.  Yū iz mī stedē.   Iz it mī fault I atrakt gals?  Dōnt worē about it."
            “Wut iz I supōs۔d tū dū, stand around wīel xē flaunt herself in front ov yū az yōr eyes bulj out ov θā's soket۔s?”
            Lafter from al around.
            Jim frown۔d.  Xē had never gon sō far az tū insult hē in publik.  "Kārful," hē warn۔d xē.
            Wut Marē Lū want۔d – ekspekt۔d – wuz his publik rēpyūdēāxun ov θe sekspot hū wuz pūx۔ing herself intū his – θā's – līf.  But klēr۔lē xē wud not bē get۔ing θat.  In her konfyūz۔ē non۔sekyūr mīnd θe non۔speak۔able had alredē okur۔d:  in publik, bī implī۔ing θat hē wud sēkret۔lē mēt xē lāter, hē had sīdlīn۔d xē fōr θe skūol slut.  Xē fēel۔d krāzē wiθ jelous۔nes.  Xē want۔d tū lax bak at hē, punix hē fōr bētrā۔ing her luv, get rēvenj fōr her publik tōrtur.
            "Yū wil end up alīk yōr parent۔s," xē publisitē predikt۔d.  "Divors."
            A kolektiv "ō" ēmit۔d from lisen۔ōrs.
            "Wut iz yū sā۔ing?" Jim lōokstārl۔d at xē az though hē sē۔d a gōst.
            "Θe trūθ.  And now yū iz gō۔ing tū θrō mē ōver."
            In θe nōiz۔ē kafetērēa, a mōment ov sīlens.  Θen loud qater.
            Marē Lū, sē۔ing his hurt eksprexun, no۔d xē had sā۔d tyū muq.  Xē had never sē۔d hē sō:  az though xē had drīv۔d a spēr θrū his hart.
            Hē stand۔d and, wiθout tāk۔ing his trā, walk۔d from θe krowd۔ē rūm, awār ov al eyes upon hē.  His hart wuz pound۔ing.  His mīnd, az hē hurē۔d θrū θe koridor tōward θe eksit dōr and θe park·landlot, kēp۔d ekō۔ing her word۔s, ‘Divors.’
            "Līten up, man."  From Matt, hū had run۔d after hē. 
            Tūgeθer θā pūx۔d ōpen θe dubel glas doors.  Outsīd, warm۔er, and brēz۔ē. 
            Jim wuz almōst in tēr۔s.  “How kud xē dū θat tū mē.  I luv۔d xē, trust۔d xē!”
            Matt put۔d his hevē hand on Jim’s xōlder.  “Nevermīnd.”
            “Now θe entīr skūol no.”       
            “Divors iz nōlonger a big dēal, θēz days.”  Wen Jim dint rēspond, Matt ad۔d, “Mī mom divors θrē tīm۔s, and lōok how I turn۔d out.
            Jim, his fās striken, turn۔d tū lōok at hē, fīnal۔lē rēturn۔ing his frend’s grin.  “Θat iz wut I·iz afrād ov,” hē jōk۔d.
*
            After lunq pērēod, Marē Lū, in jim lernklas, wuz fil۔d wiθ aprehensiv rēgret.  Θe ōrganīz۔d aktivitē wuz fēld hokē, wiq xē hāt۔d, alīk al spōrt۔s.  Her best frend Joyce wuz in sōsēolojē.  Xē had nō qōis but tū dis۔burden herself tū Connie, alsō a frend, hū xē had erlē۔er nōtis۔d in θe kafetērēa.  Connie, not pritē enuf tū bē envēūs, alsō hāt۔d spōrt۔s – θā had θat in komon.
            “Wī dū۔d I sā θat?’ Marē Lū lament۔d. “Hē wil never fōrgiv mē.  I kan fēel it.”
            “Yū dōnt no θat fōr xur,” kounsil۔d Connie, bēfōr run۔ing after θe bal.
            Prēvēus۔lē Marē Lū had asūm۔d θat θe slut۔ē nūkomōrm dū۔d not hav a brān in her hed, but it okur۔d tū xē θat xē, Marē Lū, xē had bēn manipyūlāt۔t.  In won masterful plōē θe outsīdōrm had ekstrakt۔d her qōis ov gīfrend from his stedē.
            ‘I·iz sō stūpid,’ Marē Lū bax۔d herself, and, ‘far wors, un۔lōyal’.  Xē rēmember۔d θā's konversāxun θat sām mōrnin about luv and fōrgiv۔nes, and hōp۔d.
            Fān۔ing kramp۔s, xē rētrēt۔d tū a sīdlīn, and sit۔d on a benq, her hed in her hand۔s.  Θe θot ov Beneficent az Jim’s galfrend wuz tyū muq tū endur.  Bēsīds los ov Jim, θe publik hyūmilēāxun…  Xē wud nēd tū kwit skūol, ēven komit sūisīd if xē kud sumon θe kouraj.
            Xē dū۔d not ekspekt tū sē Jim dur afternūn lernklas۔s – hē’s wuz on θird flōr۔level, xē's on first.
            After jim, xē had tīprīt۔ing, wār stūdent۔s wuz test۔d agin θen agin fōr spēd and akyūrasē – θus mersēful۔lē her mīnd wuz okyūpī۔d.  But subsekwent studē pērēod, dur wiq xē had plan۔d tū memorīz how tū spel ten۔s ov word۔s, wuz tōrturus, her mūd osilāt۔ing bētwēn hōp and fēr.  Θen England۔ēz, dur wiq xē flunk۔d θe spel۔ing eksam and dint ēven kār.  Θe fīnal bel rēverberāt۔d in her bodē alīk an ēlektrik xok.
*
            After frexen۔ing her fās and brux۔ing her hairs in θe lādē’s rūm, xē hurē۔d out tū θe park·landlot tōward Jim’s red top۔les kar.  Xē spotnōtis۔d his tal figyūr alredē aprōq۔ing it, sō xē run۔d fōrward.
            “Jim!” xē kal۔d out.
            Wen hē ērhēr۔d her vōis, hē fēel۔d dred.  Hē had hōp۔d tū depart wiθout sē۔ing xē.  Hē hāt۔d argyū۔ing.  Θer sēm۔d noθin tū sā.
            “Jim, darlin, I·iz sō sorē,” xē kal۔d tū hē.  Rēq۔ing hē, az hē stand۔d bī θe kar dōr, xē slip۔d her arm around his bodēwāst θe wā hē līk۔d.  “I dōnt no wut kompel۔d mē tū sā θat.  Jelous rāj.  I luv yū.  Plēz fōrgiv mē.”
            “I fōrgiv yū,” hē rēplī۔d.  But his vōis wuz dedpan.
            “Θank good۔nes!” xē eksklām۔d, ignor۔ing his tōn.  Xē hug۔d hē.
            But hē dint embrās xē.  "I fōrgiv yū, but how kan I fōrget?"
            "Θā wuz mēr word۔s."  Xē trī۔d tū minimīz θā.
            "Pāinful word۔s, wiq bētrā۔d mī trust.  Wons spēk۔d, yū kant tāk word۔s bak."  Hē mūv۔d awā.  “I must gō now,” hē sā۔d.
            Xē pul۔d bak and lōok۔d up at his fās, warmθ۔les.  “Yū iz·not drīv۔ing mē hōm?”
            “Not tūdā,” hē rēplī۔d, θink۔ing – in līn wiθ his θot۔s al θat afternūn – ‘ōr ever’.
            Xē wāt۔d, az though fōr her eksekyūxun۔ōr tū bēgin.
            “It iz nō yūs,” hē eksplān۔d.
            “I sē.”  Xē nod۔d.  “Alīk yōr parent۔s,” xē kud not help ad۔ing.
            Hē nod۔d rēgretful۔lē.  “I ges sō.
            “Tyū muq water under θe brij,” xē put۔d word۔s in his mouθ.
            Hē nod۔d.  “Argyūment۔s iz aksept۔abel, but yū go۔d tyū far.”
            Θe fīnalitē ov his word۔s, despīt her premonitions, xok۔d xē.  Xē rēmān۔d spēq۔les.  Θen xē nōtis۔d hē lōok۔ing down at her qest.  “I supōs yū want yōr finger·ring bak.”
            Wiθout lōok at xē, hē rēplī۔d, “Yes.”
            "Sō our rēlāxunxip hav kom tū θis," xē sā۔d.  Az xē fidel۔d wiθ θe qān around her nek, tēr۔s fōrm۔d in her eyes.
            Hē wāt۔d in sīlens.
            Xē θrō۔d his finger·ring intū θe rēr sēt ov his kar, and bēgin۔d sob9ing.
            Hē rēmān۔d stōik.  “Now I no how mom and dad fēel۔d.”  Hē ad۔d, “Nōlonger wil I blām θā fōr θā's divors.”
            Xē bēgin۔d krī۔ing non۔kontrōl۔ablē, loud۔lē, but, hē fēel۔d, θat wuz her problem, not his.  Hē pul۔d ōpen his kar dōr, step insīd, bang۔d θe dōr xut۔d, and start۔d θe enjin,
            Marē Lū, red-fās۔ē, tēr۔s strēm۔ing down her cheeks, step rēr۔ward.
            Θe kar akselerāt۔d fōrward, hed۔d tōward θe park·landlot eksit.  Jim’s hart bēt۔d wiθ emōxun.  Atlēst, hē komfort۔d hiself, hē had rēfrān۔d from uter۔ing part۔ing krūeltē۔s tū his fōrmer galfrend.
            Θen, on impuls, insted ov turn۔ing rītsīd۔ward tōward his hōm, hē stēr۔d θe kar leftsīd۔ward, tōward downtown, in θe direkxun ov Buster’s.
*         *         *
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