And did you know what I said then?
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Let me start this post off by saying I absolutely love my wife, I mean she's the best thing that's ever happened to me. However, as hard as it is to believe, I liked other girls. Shocking, I know.
July 3rd 1990 something...
So it was my neighbors semi on again usually off again 3rd of July party. The second I heard from my parents that they were having it, my response was an emphatic "no thank you!" Like hell I wanted to go socialize with people. After all, I had Starcraft and Doom to play.
At first I resisted. That was until the smell of the food hit me. Being a teenage boy, if there was one thing that could get me to go anywhere, that was food. So I reluctantly sauntered next door, avoiding the stares of my neighbors and nodded politely, half listening to whatever they were trying to say to me.
That's when I saw her. She was absolutely stunning with her long auburn hair, brown eyes and a smile that would light up the city of Cincinnati. Also, that last sentence, in hindsight was a complete mental infatuation coming from someone who'd apparently never seen a "pretty" girl before, so the bar was low to say the least.
I was sitting on the porch, halfway into my 3rd hot dog and she looked right at me. Okay, okay, she was probably looking at the grill but in that moment, it was me, me, me.
Now when I was younger, I was a completely, shy, introverted disaster. I wasn't very attractive, I was awkward and I certainly never talked to girls, nor did girls particularly want to talk to me. So I thought this girl was into me, for no other reason than she glanced up at the deck from the backyard and I happened to be there. In that moment I was in love and she was in love with me. Marriage would soon be a thing and we both would be living happily ever after in marital bliss. Then... she wanders off.
4 hot dogs, 3 cheeseburgers and about 5 cokes later...
I probably looked like a fat slob up on that deck, shoving my mouth full of food I didn't want and wasn't hungry for. What else was I supposed to do though? She had to come back eventually right?
Well she did. Not only did she come back but her and her friend that she was with asked if I wanted to hang out.
I can't remember what year this was but I can tell you, I was way too old to be playing tag and hide-go-in-seek, which was exactly what we did, along with a few other people. The thing was though, they could have told me that we were playing murder and I would've at least given it a shot.
Eventually it got dark and we all sat around in my neighbors front yard and holy mother of Christ and all that is magical in this world, this girl actually liked me. Well, her friend said she liked me. So we play this game of back and forth between the friend and the girl, back to me, back to her, back to the friend back to me before it's finally agreed that yes, both of us are into one another. Jesus things were so complicated back then.
The girl from Maine. I could live in Maine...
Hey, I like Maine. I mean now I like Maine. Back in 1990 something though, I'd only been to Maine on a camping vacation with my family when I was maybe 7. Now though after talking to this girl for a matter of 15 minutes I was ready to move. Maine was the place for me. She never said any of this and I'm sure she wasn't thinking any of this but I was ready to start the rest of my life, right then and there.
It's late now though and she suddenly tells me something.
"We're leaving tomorrow"
What the actual fuck! What the hell do you mean you're leaving tomorrow? You can't leave so soon. I love you. I say all of this in my head of course, not daring to express any emotion.
Suddenly, it happens. She leans over and kisses me.
"We have all day tomorrow though. I don't leave until late."
July 4th! Wimbledon and the waiting game
"I'll be outside in the morning. You'll see me. When you do, come outside"
Hell yeah I'll come outside! I say to myself. Now this was the days before cell phones and she was staying at her friends parents friends house so it wasn't like I could get a hold of her that way. My only option was to wait.
I get up at 6 am on July 4th. I would never in a million years have ever thought I'd be getting up at the ass crack of dawn a mere 16 hours earlier but here I was. I immediately go into the living room, sit on the couch, no one else in the world is up and stare like a goddamn creep out the window.
Six turns into seven. Seven to eight and eight to nine. Eventually my family gets up, wanders into the living room and wonders what the hell it is that I'm doing.
"Don't worry guys. Just sitting here being a stalker. Don't mind me"
I don't know who, I don't know why but someone in my house decides to turn the t.v. on and seeing as we didn't have cable and got maybe 3 stations, they decided to leave it on Wimbledon Tennis. Now I never had a problem with tennis really. Did I like tennis? No, not really but I didn't hate it either, it was more of an indifference. Sort of like, 'yeah look at the tar on that road'.
Anyways, my gaze had been a constant death stare where any semblance of movement outside brought overwhelming joy and then instant sadness. My attention was now between figuring out where the girl of my dreams was and why the hell they kept saying love on t.v. Were they mocking me?
It is now almost noon time. I've waited 6 hours now for her to come outside and nothing. Maybe it was something I said? Perhaps as the night had gone on, a horrible odor had arisen from my pores and she could never be with anyone who smelled like that. Maybe it was because I had eaten 5 hot dogs and 4 hamburgers and a pound an a half of potato salad. Maybe it was all a big joke.
Ya know what? Fuck Wimbledon.
Why the hell are they counting wrong? I finally realize that Love is actually zero! Why not just say zero? Why even bother saying ANYTHING!? Then it's 15, then 30 and what's next? FORTY!! Now all semblance of order is out the goddamn window! What happened to 45?? Who makes these rules? Why am I so angry?
The problem with t.v. back in those days was that unless you had cable, you were seriously stuck watching shit.
It's 1:30 and my day has been ruined. I've been duped and scammed and forced to watch a stupid tennis match from England. I'm seething at the screen. LOVE LOVE LOVE! There will be no stupid love! Love doesn't exist and tennis sucks!
Then... out of the corner of my eye, I see movement in my neighbors yard. It's the father, carrying bags out to the car. I sit and stare! They must have woken up late! Yes, of course! That was it! How could I be so stupid. They were tired and slept in. Phew. At least we had all afternoon to hang out and say goodbye.
Only, we didn't. I watched the father for 40 minutes packing the car, going in and out of the house, each time hoping and praying that the next time the door opened it would be her.
Eventually it was her. It was her leaving. I watched in horror from my living room as the girl of my teenage dreams, her friend and the parents got into the car, slowly backed away and drove away.
I sat back into the couch, defeated and looked slowly up at the t.v. screen.
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Shawn McGovern grew up on a farm 15 miles from Toledo OH. His life long dream is to one day visit that magical city and tell all of his friends about it.