First Loves

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Old photos stir long lost memories of a first dance, first kiss and first love.

Submitted: January 27, 2011

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Submitted: January 27, 2011

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First Loves
© 2002 Greg Nabors
 
Cleaning out the closet was never one of my favorite past times but there I was, doing just that. On the shelf, back in the corner, next to the blankets and the seldom worn caps I saw a box. Printed on the end with a black marker was one descriptive word – pics.
I can recall putting the box there a few years ago but my memory of it’s contents has long ago faded. I pull the box down, sit on the bed and pull back the lid.
There on top were black and white photos of me at a much younger age. I dug deeper. More photos revealed various events in my life I had long ago forgotten. Strangely enough though, as I pulled each photo out and gazed into the past, I could recall every aspect of the picture immediately; where it was taken, why and even who took the photo.
Then, there it was, near the very bottom of the pile. A black and white, five by seven of a young boy dressed in a white sport coat with a bow tie and hair fixed just so with a little dab of Brylcreem. On his arm was a slightly chubby but endowed young girl in her strapless evening gown. It was the seventh grade dance and she was my first date and first love.
A dance was planned to celebrate our move from elementary to high school. We called it a prom of sorts, complete with formal dresses for girls and suits with ties for boys. I had known Gail all through school. The sweet-and-sour type, she could be as loving as any angel, but God help you if you got her riled. She was pretty, though not ravishing, and developed enough that I took notice.
I was a typical shy boy, tall for my age, skinny and unsure of what I was doing and oblivious to what the girls expected. While I pondered whom to invite to this dance, Gail knew exactly what she wanted, as verified by a giggling crowd of girls awaiting me at school one morning.
“Gail left you a note,” they sang in that irritating Greg-has-a-girlfriend tone.
I slid my books onto their storage shelf under the seat of my desk and picked up the envelope.
The girls hovered.
 “Ooh, that smells good, doesn’t it Greg?”
“Aw geeze” I thought to myself.
“Go ahead! Open it!” the hoverers shouted. "Yea, open it!”
With trembling hands I turned it over, and there, over the seal, was the biggest set of red lip prints I’d ever seen. I blushed.
“Dang!” I thought. “King Kong’s lips ain’t that big.”
By now the crowd gathered around my desk included my friend Danny, who poked me, teasing, “Go ahead, Romeo. Read it.”
After the perfume and the lips, I wasn’t sure what to expect from inside. Scrunching over to prevent goggling eyes from getting a peek, I cautiously removed the note and started reading.
Dearest Greg,
I guess you have heard about the dance. I want you to take me to the dance. You know that you are a very special boy to me and that I like you. If you want to take me to the dance tell me by the water fountain outside my classroom. I have already picked out a strapless dress that I like. I hope you will too. Let me know soon.
Love,Gail
There. I had a date if I wanted, which I did, and a chance to hold a reasonably pretty girl in my arms while we danced the night away. My mind raced forward to the night of the dance. Daddy would probably drive us. I would need to get a corsage to pin onto her dress. I would have to shine my...wait a minute! What did that note say?
I quickly unfolded the note and reread it.
Strapless! My mind reeled with embarrassing scenarios. That meant I would have to pin the flower on her, her… I mean I would have to put my hands on... I mean near
Gulp.
After the initial teasing and my embarrassment subsided, I looked forward to the dance. And that night, while my mind conjured images of my first romantic interlude, I donned my white coat, bow tie and oxford shoes. Mother took pictures and Daddy gave advice. With corsage in hand, butterflies in my stomach and chauffeur at the wheel, I headed for Gail’s house.
As we arrived, I reviewed my daddy’s advice. Be polite, hold open doors, and, above all, treat her like I wanted my sister treated. That last bit of advice seemed a bit extreme, so I decided to treat her like a lady instead. As I went toward the door, my father called out to me.
“Hold up a minute son. Let me get the movie camera.”
“Movie camera!” I thought, rolling my eyes.
Wondering how I could possibly pin that corsage to Gail's dress without getting slapped, I began wishing Mother had never given Dad that camera last Christmas.
With Daddy B. DeMille’s camera rolling, I rang the doorbell. Gail’s mother answered the door and invited me in; DeMille followed. We waited patiently together while she went to get my date.
I was awestruck when Gail entered the room. She was beautiful, her hair adorned with a floral Tiara, and her makeup impeccable. She wore the pale yellow strapless dress she’d warned me about. I stood there staring; she stood there smiling. She didn’t speak, but simply stood there, smiling.
“Oh, uh, you’re very pretty tonight.” I stammered.
Aw geeze...like she’s a dog the rest of the time?
Remembering the corsage, I thrust it toward her, hoping against the odds-- 
“Would you pin it on for me?” she asked with a grin.
I approached her with the corsage, my eyes surveying the only things that seemed to be supporting that beautiful dress. I began to sweat; profusely. With trembling hands, I reached toward the traditional floral location.
“Gail, why don’t you let him pin it on your shawl?” her mother said, saving me from embarrassment and her daughter from being mauled while I pinned the corsage. Gail positioned the shawl and I placed the first pin through it and the corsage, careful not to touch forbidden fruit. As I reached for the second pin, the weight of the corsage pulled the light shawl from Gail's shoulder. She repositioned the flower. Peering under the shawl, I pinned the second pin--straight onto her faultless bare white shoulder. She let out a little squeak and giggled as she rubbed the point of the pinprick.
This would have been the perfect time for Daddy DeMille to scream “Cut.” But Daddy continued filming, knowing full well how my sentiments would change in the coming years.
After several futile attempts to pin the flower to the shawl, Gail and her mother left the room and returned with the corsage pinned neatly to the dress. I escorted her to the car and offered an apology for Daddy and his camera. She, being the lady she was, assured me that, though embarrassing, it was quite all right and that she couldn’t wait to see the movies later. I have to admit I couldn’t wait either. I wanted to see if that film could capture the true colors of my face that night.
Daddy dropped us at the school, where Danny and I spied each other immediately. He was holding hands with one of the hoverers. We both smiled. With my arm around Gail’s waist, I presented the tickets and we proceeded inside. Streamers, aluminum stars and a large smiling moon decorated the school auditorium. The band played the latest hits and the wallflowers were in full bloom, boys along one side, girls on the other. The band started playing something slow. Gail looked at me expectantly.
“So, do you wanna dance, or what?” I asked. At that point I was beginning to think of “or what” as preferable.
Gail took my hand as we walked onto the dance floor. I placed my right arm on her waist and as I took her left hand, I tried desperately to remember the box step our teacher had taught us. But Gail pulled me toward her and placed her head on my shoulder. With her breasts pressed firmly against my chest. I knew she could feel my heart pounding.
We both laughed when my untrained feet landed on her toes and we staggered, trying desperately to maintain our balance and composure. Fred Astaire I wasn’t.
We danced, laughed and talked through the evening. I even managed to get her outside once for some “fresh air," although, my shyness kept that from being anything more than breathing exercises.
As the dance neared its end, the band announced that their final song was a request, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Gail squeezed my hand and I knew then that it was our song. We walked onto the dance floor, she laid her head on my shoulder and, as she held her hand to my chest, we swayed to the melody. My mind began to fill with the memories of the evening; the embarrassing moments; the awkward conversations; the feel of her hand in mine. That’s when I realized I didn’t want it to end.
For the first time, I was in love.
Our summer romance consisted mostly of phone calls and visits to each other’s homes. We became more acquainted, and less shy, and this was the summer we first kissed.
Although we dated a few times in high school, the relationship ended as most first loves do. We met others and realized suddenly that we had become such good friends. Gail and her family eventually moved away and we lost contact. Though I never forgot her, I went on to date others and experience more firsts.
Fifty years later, she has probably forgotten me, but because of Daddy’s foresight and camera, I can rekindle those blissful memories of that first date and the warm embrace of that last dance.
 


© Copyright 2020 Greg Nabors. All rights reserved.

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