I am a late bloomer. A late, late bloomer. By the end of high school, my statistics in the romance department were deplorable:
Crushes – 16
Dates – 6
Kisses – 2
Boyfriends – 0
The summer after graduation my world changed. At the graduation party, Rick (not his real name) kissed me. A week later as I came off a shift at my summer job, Rick was waiting for me. I liked him. We started going out.
Before all that, I’d developed a substantial crush on another boy named Pelle. We’d met in a community college poetry class that I took my final semester of high school. On the first day he read a love poem. To his girlfriend. For some reason that didn’t discourage me from getting to know him (flirting, actually). After several weeks I learned that his girlfriend lived 400 miles away. (yes!) And then one day, he invited me to go sailing. The whole time we were together, we had a blast—laughing and talking and being silly.
Nothing “happened” on my date with Pelle. He didn’t ask me out again right away. While I waited for him to make the next move, Rick asked me to be his girlfriend, and I accepted. Rick and I enjoyed each other, but I couldn’t help comparing him to Pelle. Unfavorably. Then Rick told me that he planned to break up with me at the end of the summer because long distance relationships don’t work.
That was not a good move for him.
One evening Pelle appeared on my doorstep to return a sweater I’d left on his sailing dinghy. And to ask me out on a lunar eclipse viewing date. Oo la la. But one of my closest friends was staying the night, so I turned him down. When he left, I felt I'd blown my last chance.
A few days later Rick told me he wanted to have sex before the summer ended. Before our pre-determined break up, naturally.
Worst. Move. Ever.
Luckily Pelle persisted. Not long after, he invited me on a drive to an overlook. As we gazed at the shimmering lights together (swoon), he still didn’t try to kiss me.
Was I wrong to go out with him without telling Rick? Yes. Did I worry about it? No.
Finally the turning point arrived. Pelle and I spent a romantic evening together in San Francisco. At the end he hinted that he would break up with his girlfriend. I hinted I’d do the same.
Now Pelle and I are married. Our son is 16, one year younger than I was in the above story.