I got a letter in the mail this week from my daughter’s future college prompting me to talk to my daughter about sex, drugs, and alcohol. Yippee! We had a short discussion. My daughter responded to the conversation with the opening line…since we are all adults now…which always causes a stir of panic in my heart. I feel like I am the one that needs to ask all of the difficult questions, not answer them. Right!?!
I was on such a role that I decided to talk to my son too. He does have a girlfriend now… Besides if I wait until they are entering college, it is a bit too late to start having really uncomfortable conversations. My son ran off into his room in absolute mortification.
You see, kids, I was young once too. Even though it was 25 years and a day ago, I thought that my first love would last forever too.
I remember it being a hot summer day like today. I was going to spend the weekend at my friend Kristi’s house. But there was one problem, she had a car but she didn’t have her license. I had my license but I didn’t have a car. She decided to drive her mom’s old beater 45 minutes in the rain to pick me up anyway. The car broke down on the way. It was just a few months away from the last break down that would claim her mother’s life.
Kristi took the back roads to get to my house. She called me from a stranger’s phone to tell me that her car broke down. She was very afraid that she would get in trouble for not having her license. She decided to walk in the pouring rain to the closest house. Thankfully the stranger got her up and running again. But she would be late.
When she got to my house, I drove her mom’s car back to her house. Except we didn’t quite make it. The car broke down again in the pouring rain next to a church. Thankfully another friend of mine just happened to be on the road behind us. We abandoned the car in the church parking lot. Then she gave us a ride into town. We walked several blocks in the rain to find another ride, to find you.
You said you would love me forever on that stormy night…
I remember when you asked me to marry you. You wrote a poem on a sheet of beige paper. You burned the edges with your cigarette lighter to make it look old fashioned. I said yes as a star fell from heaven. A celestial sign that it would last forever. You drove your truck through the marsh as we laughed. You found an old ring that probably belonged to your older sister.
I remember when we first met. I was at a dance hall with an ex-boyfriend. We were going to give it another try, but he left me sitting alone to hang out with some other girls that only he knew. That upset you so much that you grabbed him and took him out in the parking lot to fight.
Still I was a fool to trust you, to give you my heart. You showed me a letter from another girl. She said something about feeling guilty when she found out you had a girlfriend. I was angry at the girl, but I wasn’t angry with you. I wrote her a letter back. I took out my dictionary and found ten words that I didn’t know and put them in the letter. I sure sounded smart. After that I still loved you. You took me away from the troubles at home and helped me enjoy my life.
Then all too quickly our time together came to an end. We broke up over the phone. I ran into you the next evening at the fast food restaurant when we were both out with friends. At first, I was happy to see you across the darkened parking lot. Then I saw the hickies on your neck. I slapped you across the face hard. How could you?
After that night, I gathered everything from our time together into a couple of boxes. Your warm sweater, the perfume you gave me for Christmas, the teddy bear, the homecoming ticket stubs, and every single picture of you.
I burned every reminder of you.
You see kids, I was young once like you.
Sometimes I shake my head at the silly things you do. Then I have to remind myself that I was once like you. I was young. I thought I had all of the answers too.
What did my parents know?? Where did the time go?