We attended the same church. He was the son of a preacher man who loved to walk on the wild side. Yes, he was a “bad boy.” I mean as bad as you can get growing up in the suburbs. He had flirted with me numerous times, but I had paid him no mind. I was at the end of my freshman year, he is junior year, so he seemed sooo old to me. But he was oh so fine. And all the girls loved him. For realz. You remember how it was back then. Anyway. One Friday we got to talking while at a youth function at the church. As we left, I making my way home, he on his way to the go-go club because for him the night was still young, he said to me, “is your number in the church directory?” “Yes,” I said. “I’ma call you.” I didn’t believe him. That was Friday. He called me that Sunday. My older cousin who lived with us answered the phone. “You wanna speak to who,” she asked quizzically. I knew instantly that it was him. We spoke on the phone that Sunday night about who knows what – school, parents, why the sky is blue. And we kept right on talking, for the next few days, months, a year. And somewhere in there we were official boyfriend and girlfriend. And I was in love. And damn I still remember this twelve years later. Ask anyone, Rum Punch don’t remember nathin.
But with him I remember conversations until dawn. Dates to the movies and “fancy” chain restaurants. Sneaking around to see him because I knew my mom would think that he was too old for me. Reading my writing to him. Kissing him in his car. Cutting school and waiting for him to pick me up because he had a half day schedule. Accusations of cheating and silent treatment. A sweet birthday card he gave me that I have now lost. Dreams of being together forever and ever and ever. Him telling me that he loved me. Me saying it back. Him breaking my heart. Me being crushed. But always enthralled with him.
Over the years we would lose touch with one another, see each other again, and fall right back into each other’s arms. I knew that it would never work. He was not right for me. We belonged to two entirely different worlds. I could never come down to his and he wouldn’t dare come up to mine. But I couldn’t quite shake him because whenever he looked at me, really looked at me with that come hither look in his eyes, I would melt and become 15 years old all over again. And maybe he too was transported back to that time we had been together, so many years ago.
Even as I had other boyfriends, suitors, lovers, there was always something about him. I was still connected to him. And I feel that in some way I always will be. Maybe it’s because at 15, love was just a word and that yummy/soft feeling you got when that person was around you. It was pure. Simple. Not what it becomes as you get older. Tainted. Filled with conditions. Suspicious. Scary. Uncertain. Difficult. Weighed down with baggage. Brewing with needs, expectations and hopes. The definition expands and contracts, depending on who you ask, how you feel, where you been, where you trying to go, what kinda love you want, thus making things more and more complicated.
But, shit at fifteen, it was easy. That boy, who is now a man, was delicious and dangerous. Being with him was fulfilling and free. It was beautiful and plain. It was a girl giving her heart away for the first time, without knowing all the consequences that come with that. The price that has to be paid. The lessons that have to be learned. A girl with her heart in her hand, her hand extended to him, happily/foolishly/effortlessly giving it to him. Expecting and needing little in return. And oh so content with what she received. Ahhh to first loves!
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!