For those who know me and know this blog exists (Hi BM! Hey CMD!), this will be somewhat of a trip down memory lane. It's a recitation of an extremely formative event in my life, and one that stands out in my mind as clear and powerful, even after all these years.
I'd had exactly 2 dates in my whole entire life up to the time I went to college; both turned out relatively badly. The first was to my Homecoming dance my freshman year, and will be the topic of a future post. Let's just say that when your date asks you 2 days later if you would mind if he went steady with another girl, it's not a date that you care to recall too often. The funny part was that the girl he asked to steady with was also a tall blonde with blue eyes, but was, undoubtedly, a better dancer than I was. The second date was after my senior year ended and was with a guy who was the older (college age! WOO!) brother of a classmate, and to this day I'm not sure why he asked me out. He didn't make the same mistake twice, shall we say.
I was completely nervous around "boys," didn't know what to do with them, had never really kissed one, and felt that any guy that wanted to go out with me must be either blind or addled or stupid. For this reason I was stunned when, during my freshman year of college at band camp, the tall nice-looking baritone sax player asked me out during a stairwell party and we went the the mixer in the basement and drank adulterated punch, then went up to the mountains and sucked face for a while. When he asked "now that I've got me a freshman, what am I supposed to do with her?", I suppose I should have come up with something more original than "what do you want to do with her?", because that way lay trouble in which I was not interested and I was soon dumped for the tall, blond (pattern, much?) trumpet player that "put out." OK, she WAS striking-looking, and for sure had a more, well, knowledgeable way with the boyz.
I still wasn't clued in about boys, guys, dudes, whatever, even with the vast experience or 2 dates and one short-term boyfriend. Almost all of them made me nervous. But the extra-special nerve-wracker was Sam. He was the very definition of tall, dark, and handsome, and he made my knees turn to water and my mouth go dry. He made me MORE confused than any other guy ever had, and he was unavoidable because not only was he in marching band too, but he was in my section and therefore marched close to me, sat close to me in practice, etc. etc. I didn't know what to do around him, couldn't look in his eyes for the way it made me feel inside. I WANTED him, and didn't know how to make that happen.
As fate would have it, there were a bunch of us who became friends, and soon we all spent time hanging out in the dorms eating bagels and playing backgammon and only SOME of us wanting to sink into the floor whenever Sam looked their way. My friends didn't seem affected by him; I couldn't see how that was possible.
Yes, I will get to the kissing bit, pretties, just be patient.
So, freshman year went by, and I dated a couple of other guys, and really REALLY kissed one and liked it. We kissed whole lot - on the quad, in the dorm lobby, in his room, in his loft....and didn't go any further than kissin' and gropin'. He was a fabulous kisser, and made my spine tingle every time he touched me. He had "IT," friends, and I dated him all through summer and we made plans to see one another come the start of school and take up where we left off.
But, before I could see Kissing Guy, sophomore year band camp arrived. With band camp came all my good friends and Sam. That year; however, I wasn't as afraid to be around him (thanks, Kissing Guy, for the confidence!), I could hold my own in conversation, and almost didn't really mind it when he sat next to me one night in my dorm room at the end of band camp week and drank rum and cokes with me and my suitemates while we listened to the 8-track blurrily beat out some 80's thrash music. I liked the thrill I got in the small of my back and the pit of my stomach from being near him, and the 3 drinks hadn't hurt either.
Then, after Sweet finished "Ballroom Blitz" for like the 8th time, Sam and I were somehow alone in the room. I felt like a signal had been passed and all those people that had been in the room just LEFT me all alone there with Sam, and my confidence immediately drained out though the base of my spine. Good God, I thought, why is he so CLOSE to me? Why is he LOOKING at me like that? Why is the door closed? And what did he just say? Did he just ask me to be his GIRLFRIEND?? Girlfriend?Me??
So, I cleverly say "I, I , I, I guess so, sure, Sam, that would be great."
And then, he says, "you know, when people agree to date they usually seal it with a kiss," and I say something savvy like "oh," and he leans in and presses his impossibly warm, soft, pliable, moustache-prickly lips against mine and my world goes black and I'm flying for a moment until I, with all the grace of a water buffalo, pull back and say "oh" again. He gets up and says "I guess I'd better go now," and I say "OK" (nice riff there, Tiff!), and he leaves.
I sit there, stunned, on the couch made of extra box springs, while my friends come pouring into my room asking "What happened? Why did he leave?" and I describe the whole thing. My friend (Hi BM!) says "and you let him GO????" with drips of incredulousness clotting the phrase and I answer "oh.....sure" through my tingling lips. This is not, apparently, acceptable to her (God bless her), and she calls Sam at his room and tells him to meet me at the railroad tracks that bisect campus. She tells me to get up, because I need to finish what I started, or some words to that effect. I'm not thinking very cleary, you understand.
As we near the tracks, I see him in his painter's pants and oxford shirt, posture straight and looking like he'd just stepped off the cover of a magazine. In the amber glow of a streetlight, he waits for me. I walk to him, escorted by my VERY supportive friend, and I think she says something like "now do it properly" and leaves us. Nothing more is said, but once our lips meet for the second time that night there is MUCH communicating going on as we explore the wonderful world of enraptured kissing (well, I was enraptured, anyway). I can't believe I'm kissing Sam, I can't believe he's kissing me, that he'd come back for me, that he WANTED to kiss me, that this is real and he is warm against me in the late August night, this handsome man with the perfect lips and liquid eyes and firm hands. Our hips touch, then press, our mouths explore one another and our hands go places that just a few hours ago would have seemed unthinkable. Every once in a while I open my eyes to look at him, so close I can't really focus, and then sigh back into the marvel that is "kissing Sam."
Still, to this day, I get a little tingle when I think about it.
That night made me realize that maybe I wasn't so bad after all. That maybe the guys who liked me weren't addled or stupid. That maybe there was something good about me, after all, and I wasn't an awkward bonehead loser loudmouth like I thought I was. Maybe, maybe not. But it was a start.