Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

How I Met My Muse, Part IV: Homecoming

October 1979

I had put off telling my parents that I had a date for the Homecoming Dance because I thought I would be in trouble. There seemed to be an unwritten/unspoken (perhaps imaginary) rule against me liking girls, thus, I generally didn’t bring up the subject around them. It was a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

            So I was surprised beyond belief that when I did announce that I was going to the big dance with a girl – the very night before the event, mind you – they reacted rationally.

            “You will need to get her a corsage,” my mother announced, “I’ll pick one up tomorrow. What color is her dress?”

            Of course, I didn’t know. Maria and I were too new to this dating thing for me to even think to ask or her to know to tell me. I had managed to get tickets without an inordinate amount of guidance, and all I knew I was supposed to meet her in front of school at 7 pm. Otherwise, I was pretty much clueless about dating protocol. I was glad my mom was being cool because I really needed help.

 

            The following evening, my mother painstakingly explained that the corsage could be pinned to her dress or she could wear it on her wrist. I had some anxiety about pinning it on Maria, which is surprising considering I had exhibited no other misgivings about pawing all over her during the few weeks we had known each other.

            Mother ironed my clothes – most likely laughable 70’s apparel, if I’m not mistaken – and had my father fetch me one of his belts.

            In hindsight, that evening is significant in that it was perhaps our last “Cleaver Moment,” meaning we were functioning as a normal, loving and supportive nuclear family unit. My parents would be separated a within a few months and later divorced. But that night, there was no fighting, no lawyers, no police, no step parents, no searching Beaver for contraband – no drama. It was just two parents helping their socially inept son prepare for his first Big Dance.

            “So how do you know this girl?” my mother asked. . . .

 

           I remember hearing Chilliwack’s Fly at Night on the radio as my father drove me into the city to school. I was feeling good and surprising relaxed. When we arrived, I spotted Maria sitting on a bench and directed him there. He gave me a few bucks and some change and told me to call him when I was ready to be picked up.

            “Goodbye Beave. Have a goodtime!”

            “Thanks dad.”

            It did not even occur to me to introduce my date to my father. He lingered on the lot for a moment in his truck as she and I greeted each other, then drove off into the night.

            Maria looked stunning in a little BLUE dress that clung tightly to all 95 lbs. of her curvelets. High heels gave her a long, lithe look, which was a sexy departure from her day-to-day squeaky-clean image. I presented her with the corsage, with which she was pleased, and she immediately slid it over her wrist. That monumental problem was rather easily solved. 

            Inside we found that the gym had been converted to a party hall, with a band set up in one end, rows of tables in the other and a dance floor situated between. With freshman grossly underrepresented, my date and I took seats by familiar, friendly faces.

            Maria steered me through the next crisis – dancing. Being a fan of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent and Rush, I considered Top 40 below me and dancing outright frightening. Nevertheless, I went along with it to please her. I simply followed her lead the best I could, and it wasn’t that bad. She was within her element as the band played Styx, Journey and Kansas, and she was totally at ease. Maria exuded an air of sophistication and worldliness. After all, she had been to Europe the preceding summer!

            Sadly, we were quite a mismatched couple. She had previously attended a school for kid geniuses, spoke fluent French, painted with oils, played piano and took school seriously.

            In contrast, I was a blue-collar mutt who had never traveled outside of the state where we lived. Although I had experienced academic success in the past, I was working far below my potential by the time I was in high school. My crowd was known to drive illegally, shoplift on occasion, sneak into movies and drink stolen liquor. Furthermore, I hated Catholic school, its rigorous curriculum, the dress code and the high behavioral expectations. I wanted nothing more than to either transfer back to public school or get kicked out of this one.

            But tonight, we were just two goofy kids at their first high school dance.

           The band played a slow song, at which time I held Maria closely, my lips assuming their familiar position all over her face.

            Before long, she was on my lap at one of the tables in a dark corner of the gym. I hesitate to elaborate on what was going on because, technically, that would be considered kiddie porn. In retrospect, I am surprised that the faculty didn’t turn a hose on us.

            Then it happened. Maria whispered three frightening words into my left ear: “I love you.”

            I was taken aback, but not entirely surprised. The writing was on the wall. My immediate thoughts were along the lines of “somebody needs to have a talk with this girl.” After all, love was for grown ups who wanted to get married or sixth graders who get a crush on somebody only to have their hearts ripped out a week later. I was young, but not entirely naïve. I certainly wasn’t going there this time!

            So I ignored her and carried on with the groping and lingual calisthenics.

           Then a moment later, as if it weren’t awkward enough the first time, she said it again! I responded by telling her I wanted to go to bed with her. Her reply was something along the lines of: “As IF!”

            By the time the dance let out, I was so drained by the evenings hormonal overload that a teacher actually thought I was drunk. “I’m p-p-perfectly sober,” I stammered as I staggered out the door with Maria on my arm.

            “You had better not be driving!” he warned.

            Maria’s mother was waiting in the lot to pick her up. I uncomfortably kissed her goodnight within the obtrusive illumination of her mother’s headlights. Like I had done earlier, Maria failed to introduce me to her chauffering parent.

            As I awaited my father’s arrival, I sat in Dairy Queen eating burgers, contently reflecting upon the evening’s events. I was densely unaware that Maria had some serious misgivings about the very same experience. Moreover, my family’s “Cleaver Moment” would soon pass and life in Mayfield would never be the same. It would be quite a few years before I would attend another high school dance.

to be continued

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