Two boys ever professed their love to me. I am married to the latter of the two.
The first, I met at a football game on October 15, 1993. I was fourteen years old. I don’t remember how it was we started talking, or exactly what it was we started talking about. I was painfully shy back then, so I’m sure we’d spent a few hours in close proximity without exchanging more than a few sentences. I can’t recall how or why, but for some reason, I found myself sitting alone with Dan McCue on the bleachers behind our high school's marching band.
Every school day thereafter, I’d find a way to see Dan. I accidentally ran into him in the lunch line. I altered my path between third and fourth periods from Speech class to Geometry so I could bump into him on his way from Latin IV. I started leaving school each day at 3:10 from the front door, rather than the back door, knowing his regular route home.
Every day we’d chat with my friends in front of school before walking home together. My friends all adored Dan. He was sweet, funny, and nice to us. He always smiled, always had something to say, and always made us all feel like people, instead of like freshman girls. They envied the time I spent with him on the way home. We would separate three blocks from my house and go our separate ways. Yet by mid-November, he was walking six blocks out of his way to bring me to my doorstep. He often did not arrive home until after 5:30.
Christmas came and went. He attended my New Year's Party, where he was the only boy. On January 2nd, he called me.
"I was wondering if you’d consider starting a relationship with me," he asked.
Consider starting a relationship? Not quite the way I would have said it, but it worked.
I hung up the phone and emerged from the bathroom I’d locked myself into. A friend who was visiting was talking to my mom in the kitchen. “Dan asked me out.”
“Where?” my mother asked. Silly Mom.
“We’re together now.”
How simple. He asked, I accepted. Why can’t life always be so easy? Nothing -- before or since -- has ever been so easy. We were a couple. We started holding hands on the way home from school. For the first time in my life, I smiled on a regular basis. Our nighttime conversations began to get longer. He wrote me notes in turquoise ink that he passed to me in the hallway between Speech and Geometry. I still have all of them.
On Valentine's Day, he presented me with a stuffed hedgehog and professed his love for me. In February 15, 1994, I dumped him. Love? Who can fall in love so fast? I needed to to be, to grow, to learn, NOT to be tied down to Dan McCue.
I broke up with Dan because he told me he loved me. Truth be known, he was the best boyfriend I ever had. He gave me a hedgehog on Valentine’s Day. He penned me notes in turquoise ink. He walked me home and kissed me on the cheek.
Things were simple with him. I liked him a lot for the six weeks we were together, but I don’t know if I loved him. I can’t remember. I wasn’t very nice to him in the months after we broke up, but can chalk it up to being a 15-year-old girl. I remember him fondly and want to have loved him. I enjoyed talking to him and hope we stay in touch, but I don’t want to see him again. It’s easier to love someone from memory.
Epilogue: Dan McCue found me last week on Facebook.