In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “But No Cigar.”
I know that the original phrase came about from a scene in the oh so classic Annie Oakley film from the mid 1930’s. But I prefer to use the much more catchy “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”. That particular turn of phrase coming from a baseball pitcher in the mid 1960. Yes, I looked up the quote! I’m a bit of a baseball nerd, but not on that level!
There is a photo I keep squirreled away that anyone who would look at my phone would wonder why I bothered to scan it. The only other photos on there are of my daughter, her mother [eventually I get around to archiving those, but I’m not ready] and two women from my younger days. Both had great influence on who I became, charted a path for me when I was a kid. One I wrote about just days ago [ https://509majesty.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/last-phone-call/ ], but the other deserves a little time as well.
Remember that member of the opposite sex you were friends with in high school? The one who in quiet moments entered your mind while you dreamed of what she smelled like. Her name was Kristin and for the better part of my junior year in high school she was a dream, a brief reality, and later a regret due to being a dumb 17 year old boy. It’s easy to picture how you screw it up, so let’s stick with the dream/reality part!
It had been almost a full year since Patre had died and people were starting to tell me that maybe I should try being social with women. Nothing big, it wasn’t “Hey Lary, go sow those wild oats.” It was more along the route of why don’t you go to the movies with so-and-so. It was made easier when she made the first move. A simple phone call asking if I was alright after one of my idiot friends had wrapped his car around a tree with me in the backseat. It led to more phone calls and eventually going to dinner.
I got the girl a cat for Christmas! I don’t like the furry little things, I tend to step on them when walking around the house. Not intentionally, just used to bigger dogs! We had fun. She reminded me that I could still have feelings for someone without diminishing what I felt about Patre. It was a huge leap for me, in so many ways. But then I did something stupid.
It was just a birthday party we were both at. People sitting around their parent’s basement, drinking soda, eat pizza, nothing special. But then I let someone sit on my lap. My dumb boy brain thought, how could this look odd. I’m not hiding in a corner, we only have so many chairs; go ahead. WRONG!!! Monday morning the ax fell. Hadn’t even made it to home room before it took my head!
We didn’t talk for a week or so, but then there was this dance coming up. Then there was a party we both went to, followed by yet another event. The dance began. Are the together? Are they just hanging out until something else comes along? That went on until I started seeing someone seriously and she admitted to the same. OH well, I guess this will be the one photo from high school where my date was someone new.
Over the years we talked. Visited each other at college. When something was wrong in either family, she was the first person I spoke with, and she did the same. There was the night she was scared when she learned her parents were getting divorced. I drove hours to get to her, even leaving my date behind in the process. When my brother had an issue in college, she drove even longer to get to me and then sit in the car while I drove to help him.
My family always liked her. She was welcome at any point, even if I was on the other side of the country. With the advent of Facebook I looked once, but knew that it was a situation I never wanted Whitney to wonder about. Here was some woman she had never met, only had seen pictures of. The present was most important to me, not the past.
Was there ever a chance, maybe years ago but something always was in the way. And it probably was us, knowing better. knowing that the dance was fun. The knowledge that we would be there when the other needed it.
I moved to Florida and we talked a few times, but life again took its place. My 25th high school reunion is this year and I hope to see her, maybe her husband won’t mind if we danced one last time.