Gimme Everything You Got - Iva-Marie Palmer


The first day I ever gave a shit about soccer was September 4, 1979—the day that Mr. McMann showed up at Powell Park High. You know those moments when everything changes almost at once, like some kind of wave rolls over a room and whatever you had been doing gets washed away as it dawns on everyone that something way bigger is taking place? It was like that.

It wasn’t even like Bobby McMann turned the tide on a particularly boring day. It had been eventful as hell. There’d been tryouts for The Sound of Music in third period. Every girl I knew was bonkers for the movie—the Rialto had brought it back for a special engagement that summer. I’d gone to see it with my best friends, Tina Warner and Candace (sometimes Candy) Trillo, who’d loved it. I was bored. Everyone in it was too nice (except the Nazis, of course).

I hadn’t tried out for the play, but Tina and I had gone to watch Candace give it a go. Candace wanted a part because she was forever on boyfriend lookout, and school plays always seemed to yield a few new couples. She’d told me I should have auditioned because I was almost seventeen and no one had ever touched my breasts. They were small and unevenly sized, though the slightly bigger right one had a Farrah Fawcett quality to it. I wasn’t opposed to them being touched, but I’d never gone to even one school play starring a guy I’d be eager to have doing the honors. Anyway, despite Candace’s spirited performance, Tina and I had our money on Peggy Darnell getting to be Maria because during the auditions, while she was spinning, Julie Andrews–style, her giant, braless, totally symmetrical boobs had busted out of her top, to the delight of our drama teacher.

“Julie Andrews was totally flat in the movie,” someone at the end of our cafeteria table was saying. I couldn’t see who through the mess of smushed paper bags and trays and girls leaning forward so other girls could help them with their hair. We messed with our hair at lunch a lot, in ways our mothers would say was unsanitary. But our cafeteria was a large gymnasium with long tables rolled out in the center for lunch periods, and the room smelled like sweat and feet, so what was a little hairstyling?

“Doesn’t matter—Mr. Doberton is a total perv,” I said knowingly, and took a sip of my Yoo-hoo. I practiced my knowing looks in the mirror sometimes, because I liked hiding how little I actually knew. “He’s probably writing ‘Peggy’s jiggly tits’ on the cast sheet next to ‘Maria’ right now.”

Our table became a laugh chamber. And it was precisely in the middle of that laughter that Bobby McMann opened the double doors to the cafeteria.

At 12:07 p.m., all concerns about who’d been overshadowed by D-cups became moot.

You know those Coke commercials where you see the bubbles pouring mesmerizingly over ice and the liquid ripples like it’s dancing and your mouth gets dry and all you want is a Coke? Even if you’ve never had a Coke, or you’ve just had one?

In a way, I’d just had one. Sort of.

Before I tell you any more about Bobby McMann, whose name I didn’t even know yet, I should explain. See, sometimes, something will stir me up. On that day, it was the back of Alex Noti’s head in fourth-period physics. His neck looked really nice: strong but not too ropy, with his light hair cut in a clean line just below his earlobes. And since he didn’t turn around (Alex Noti’s face would ruin everything), I imagined his neck was Paul Newman’s. The Long, Hot Summer Paul Newman. My weird urge was to lick that line of hair. Fantasy Paul Newman did not think I was weird. His skin was warm and he shuddered as he turned around to see me. Then Paul Newman’s lips were near mine, not even kissing, just breathing into my mouth like he wanted to kiss me, and wanted to get it exactly right. That idea of Paul Newman created this not-bad . . . stirring at my fulcrum (it’s a physics word for the thing a lever sits on, but I think it sounds like a nice way to say “crotch”). I crossed my legs and had to fight off getting too carried away. I know from past at-school daydreams that taking it too far means walking around all day feeling