I was a senior in high school and had never attended one of my school dances. I told friends that I wanted to go but only with a date--still never taking any personal initiative to fulfill my wish. One of my friends decided to play matchmaker, asking me that question familiar to school hallways across the nation, "Would you say yes if he asked you?" And so it came to pass that F asked me to Homecoming.
I came down the stairs that night into my parents' entry in a new dress, hair and makeup done. My mom swears she heard him whisper "Wow" at my appearance and then look around to see who said it. From there we went to his house for more pictures and to meet up with another couple. Dinner followed and then the dance--all in all a very typical high school dance experience complete with an awkward slow dance.
While we had a nice time, I never expected that it was anything more than two friends attending an event together. I clearly discovered that his perspective was different starting that following Monday. F met me at the end of my classes and literally tried to carry my books to my next class. I soon began racing out of my classes as soon as they were finished, rushing far enough that he wouldn't be able to catch me. I was a coward and never discussed my feelings with him. I never considered it a relationship and I never gave him a chance.
After our ill-fated pseudo-relationship, F and I slowly built a friendship out of the awkwardness and hurt feelings. Actually, more accurately, he made all the moves to become my friend and I warily accepted his gestures, never trusting that his motives were to be my friend and not a result of any feelings he still had for me.
Years later we were IMing one another from our respective college campuses, just a few hours apart. I was telling him some story about D, a man I started dating the spring after our aborted relationship. He reciprocated in kind, and his comment about his first love made me wonder if it was me.
What does that month of 1996 look like from his perspective?