Thirteen years ago. Holy nutballs.
Thirteen years ago I had spent the night at my friend Christina’s house. We’d gone to the Homecoming game the night before. Afterward, someone had sprayed graffiti on her father, the pastor’s, church van. It said “cracker”. I remember I didn’t know what that meant, but I was too embarrassed to say so. I was 15 years old.
My date that night wasn’t the boy it was supposed to be. I broke up with that boy just handful of days before the dance. He was … well. He was weird. He is still weird. Like I didn’t go to the reunion because I didn’t want to have to see him ever again WEIRD.
You know who wasn’t weird? His friend. He was tall. SO tall. Pretty nerdy, but come on. I was in a magnet program for science and technology. And he made me laugh. I had never laughed like that.
And he made me laugh about the silliest things. Germs jumping from one place to another and the shocks on the school bus being no better than a wheel on a stick.
I guess you had to be there.
But he was going to be my date that night. I asked HIM to be my date. And I was terrified. But he said yes.
This was my first dance with a DATE. I had never danced with a boy before. (Not unless you count dancing with Dominic, the ring bearer at my cousin’s wedding when I was flower girl at 6-years-old. Which, well, if you count that, it sort of ruins the magic of my story, so go with it.)
He came to the door to pick me up, and my mother was instantly smitten. From that moment in time, all other boys I brought home would be measured against him. He brought me a corsage and we rode to the dance with other friends.
I will never forget the smells of that night — his cologne mixing in with high school gymnasium and helium balloons.
Thirteen years since our first date. We haven’t been together since then … we were only 15, after all. We broke up and dated a lot of other people, which is a story for another day. But my heart has never stopped belonging to that boy with the braces who danced with me to Boyz II Men in that stinky gymnasium.
Oh, but were we SEXY or what?