Thursday, February 9, 2012

I can't go on if I'm on my own.

Age 14.
Austin, Texas.
Chicago concert.
My two older sisters and myself.
And my boyfriend Dylan (who was somewhere in the crowd, but not with us)

I went there today.

I was on my way to Wal-Mart to purchase crayons and conversation hearts for little son's class, when Chicago's "Will You Still Love Me" came on the radio. It took me back 26 years.

My two older sisters and myself went to that concert in my dad's powder blue Chevy Luv pick up truck with the woven seat covers. It was awesome. I got a concert t-shirt that I'm pretty sure I wore at least once a week til 1990.

My very first ever real boyfriend, Dylan, was there. And, since dating was not an option for me until the age of 16, we did not go together. But it was so romantic knowing that he was there, somewhere, in that crowd of people.

My sisters liked to make fun of Dylan and me. I was a good 2 inches taller than he was. And he lived in a town called Pflugerville, 30 minutes away. And really, we only got to see each other at mutual (youth activities) on Wednesday nights. And we only really got to be together once a month at the Stake youth dances. But, we were a couple.

We met at my first Stake dance. He asked me to dance. And we danced a lot of slow songs. Plus the last dance. Last dances were important back then. Are they still? They made a statement, kind of like a miner staking his claim. And so, when I saw him at mutual the next Wednesday he got my phone number and programmed it into his calculator watch. I thought that was so cool.

We talked on the phone whenever either of us had saved up enough babysitting money to pay our parents for the phone bill. And he came to my basketball games whenever our school played against his. And he would watch me sit on the bench for most of the game. Pretty sure he was impressed.

But, we wrote letters. And he would spray his with cologne. And sometimes it made me sick to my stomach when he signed them with "I love you." Once he included a practical joke in one of his letters. Inside the letter was a small manila envelope labeled "Rattlesnake Eggs" and when it was opened, it made something rattle and jump out. Really, it was only a paper clip twisted up in a rubber band so that as it was opened it unwound and rattled against the side of the envelope. And scared people. Such a sweet gesture.

In one letter he included his football picture. 7th grade football players are pretty small. But I thought he was so handsome.

For Valentine's Day he gave me a beautiful sterling silver bracelet. It smelled like him. Until it didn't anymore. And then, it smelled like me. And pretty soon after that, I started feeling like I was being bad for having a boyfriend. So, I broke up with him. And gave him back the bracelet.

But this Chicago song I heard today, it was our song. And it told me I can't go on if I'm on my own. And somehow I still found the strength to break things off. Because I felt guilty for having a boyfriend before I was 16.

I wonder if he still loved me for the rest of his life-- like the song said. And I wonder if he is still going on.

Pretty sure he is. Because I am.

I just wish I would have kept the bracelet.


laurie said...

THe minute I read your title, the tune was right there with the words. Funny how that happens. Oh the cologne, the calls, the last dances, the cheap jewelry...don't ya miss those days? NOT!! I bet you were quite the heartbreaker. Ü

uniquelynat said...

oh the things you just never pick up on when you are "one of the little kids". i am still learning things about you older sisters. the name dylan, i knew....the story behind him, i never did...until today. :)

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