I was 13 the summer my fathers pole barn was constructed by the gaggle of Amish men from Lancaster County. It was a sticky hot July week that it went up and I was old enough to be titillated by the young tan shirtless boys with muscles and straw hats and suspenders.
I would stand and stare into the sun like a freak and smile at them.
I practiced sultry in my gravel driveway, channeling Audrey Hepburn or some slip of a girl who was beautiful in the summer light that streamed through the forest canopy of our property.
A little fairy princess that the Amish boys stole glances at... really I was 40 lbs overweight with new acne. I was a fright, but I had the strange ability to think myself beautiful.
It is called inflated confidence or narcissism or something and I don't know where I picked it up, but I still have a bunch of it leftover from childhood thank God.
The barn went up entirely too quickly for my own taste. Those damn Amish are speedy and efficient. They came every single day. I looked for my mom's nerve pills that she was always went on about, but could only find Pamprin and Tylenol. I made a plan to corner the youngest Amish and talk to him the last day of barn erection.
I waited like the stalker I would eventually become in college and when I saw him alone by our water pump I pounced.
"Hello there," I said smiling and squinting into the mid day sun, holding my chunky arm above my head.
"You guys are good, almost done huh?" I said.
"So, where do you live?" I prodded.
It was like having a conversation with a 5 year old.
He had no social skills and I was getting annoyed that
he was obviously not undressing me with his Amish eyes.
"So, do you go to school?" I sighed.
Close up I could see that he was not really at all going to fit into my fantasy.
This memory is awful and yet so necessary to the backdrop of my American rural childhood experience.