Back in the ‘80’s, I very briefly dated a boy three years older than me but it didn’t work out. He had no patience for my parents’ list of How To Date My Daughter rules and after just three weeks, he cut me loose. But we lived a block apart so avoiding each other was logistically difficult. Though my heart was shredded, I refused to hide my face and continued my routine. In a school yard across the street, I skated or played handball and at the hamburger place down the block, I ate or fed quarters into the video game machines.
By the summer before tenth grade, I’d caught the eye of another guy – the first guy's best friend. He was tall and hilarious and decent and I loved spending time with him. We went to the beach, to the movies, to the arcade and had so much fun.
But there was a problem that loomed on the horizon. He was seventeen and had already graduated high school. He had plans to move to California for a job with an aircraft manufacturer. We started hanging out in July, when hot and hazy days were long and endless. September felt like it was centuries away. You know that old saying, time flies when you’re having fun – hell, it’s never had as big an impact on me as it did that summer. Suddenly, I blinked and it was the first day of school. He was packing, looking for roommates and checking airline fares.
I was miserable. I was in love. I was fifteen.
The week before he was supposed to leave, he came over to say goodbye, I thought. But he hung his head and told me his job fell through. There wouldn’t be a California trip. He told me he didn’t know what he was going to do next and I barely heard him because I was too busy silently cheering. He eventually decided to attend school in New Jersey to obtain his FAA power plant license (he already had one license; the second one would qualify him for airline employment.)
I didn’t know it then but he was miserable, too. And he was in love. And he stayed for me.
We were married the year I turned twenty and are still together. It’s been twenty-seven years now. Time really does fly.