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G&B: Apologies to Sting

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

recollections of a young romance


That day was special. Back in 1987. I ran outside with my new Nike sneakers and Adidas T-shirt I got for my birthday a few days before to meet up with brothers Paul and Fred from down the street. We were on the way to the park to play Dukes of Hazard on the swing set. As the darkest of the three I was Luke. Fred played Bo. Paul was Boss Hog. Funny as he was just bigger than me, he still pretty small. Totally opposite of the character he was portraying. As I jumped down the three steps of my porch, I stopped to tie my laces. Paul and Fred were already waiting for me. They were munching down on five cent strawberry candy they bought from the store by their house. My Mom brought out some lemonade. It was the hottest day of the year. And it was only April. 28 humid degrees. As my Mom walked back into the house, the three boys sat on the lawn. As I sat down, I saw a moving fan turn into the house across the house.

The Mitchell House had been empty for months. It was just after Halloween of last year when they moved. Rumor was that they were evicted but the couple tried for a while to get it back while they crashed at Mr. Mitchell's brothers place. I guess they had no luck. They were nice people. They used to babysit Fred, Paul and me when Mom had to work two jobs before Dad started his own business and struck it rich.
Curious, we held back from going to the park for a while. We wanted to know who was going to move into the house we spent our adolescence in. It was just before Noon when a car moved up. A 1983 Datsun, as I recall. The pickup. It was black and red stripes along the side. As the car parked, I saw three heads. Two of them seemed like older people. The third head looked like it was a girl. A young girl. Fred pointed out that she had long hair in ponytails. We got excited - like any 13 year old boy would when they're about to meet a potential good looking girl with ponytails. The father came out. Cowboy hat. Boots. Plaid shirt. Long hair. A country dude, I thought. I looked over to the right. I saw the mother. Pretty. Young looking. Short hair. Nicely dressed. Looked like a business women. The take charge type. But our attention soon re-focussed back to the car. We saw two little feet slowly coming out of the big pickup. The feet were protected by nice size 2 heels with long white socks. Then we saw a face. It was Her. She jumped down and whipped off her knees from some dirt that got on them. She raised her head.

This is when my life changed forever.

I saw her face. Brown hair. Huge brown eyes that was shaded by these cute nerd glasses. She wore lipstick. She was the first girl we knew that was allowed to wear that. She must be mature, we thought.

As I sat there dumbstruck by the beautiful girl that I will live not even 15 feet away from me, I came to. The guys were already across the street introducing themselves to her. And the nosy father. I got up and ran across narrowly missing a garbage truck. I forgot what I said that day, but the guys reminded me later that it wasn't English. Mumbled words strung together while I was blushing and barely able to stand straight. I do remember her voice, though. And what she said. Her name was Dana Amanda. She said to just call her Dana. Done. Anything for her.

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There wasn't one day that summer that I didn't spend some time with Dana. I hadn't seen the boys for a couple of weeks. All my time was with my new best friend. Dana and I went to the movies once a week. We watched Good Morning, Vietnam, Three Men and a Baby, The Secret of My Success and even sneaked into Lethal Weapon. Dana's parents would take us to Fairview Mall and let us run free for an hour. Fall was coming. Dana came down with a cold. She called me that Thursday when she new that the virus hit her. Mrs. Cooper was not home yet and the Mister was on a business trip. She needed someone to take care of her. I went over. We went to her bedroom. I took her temperature, got her blanket and played her favorite records starting with The Temptations. My Girl was her favorite song. I sang it to her as she was about to go to sleep. As she was sleeping, I went downstairs and made chicken noodle soup. It was the first time I ever did it. Besides the flooding of hot water and the noodle damage on the floor, it turned out alright. She liked it. As I started to take care of her during the day, I started to come down with the flu also. That meant that we weren't allowed to see each other till school started.

As the new school year started, we continued to hang out. Fred, Paul, Dana and I were our own little crew. Everyone knew that there was something going on between Dana and I. I guess, we were the only ones who didn't realize it. We were just enjoying our own company. This happened till November. The day after Halloween. The morning of November 1st, I came downstairs and saw Dana sleeping on my couch. She had slept over because she had forgotten her keys after the party we went to the night previous. I still think she just wanted to stay over. I quietly crept over with a glass of apple juice and cut up oranges. Her favorite. She opened her eyes and smiled. She told me that it was great to see me the first thing in the morning. I felt the same. That day we just lounged at my place. Played board games, watched television, played in the backyard throwing the yellow leaves at each other while packing them in a huge stack of autumn scenery. Dinner time came. My mom was preparing some spaghetti. After she served it to us, Dana and I were sitting at the table alone. She was acting strange. I asked her what was going on. She told me that she thinks that her feelings for me were changing. And she liked it. I told her it was mutual and I think we should do something about it.

From that day on, we were a couple. Dana always bragged to everyone who would listen that she was the one who asked me out. I let her believe that. I knew it was me who popped the question. Whatever. We were a couple and it felt great. Well, not great. Just...right.


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Five years off and on. We were stronger than ever. We told each other that if this time we didn't last, it was over. For good. We realized that it was just that we thought we were mature enough to have a grown-up relationship but we weren't. It was our immaturity that got in the way. While thinking we were mature. I just turned 18 and done school. Dana, 19, had just completed her first year of college and working part-time at a local restaurant. We hadn't dated anyone else since we started our little rocky romance back in '87. Now, it was 1992 and we were both still virgins. We had That Talk a few times before, but we thought that it was too soon. However, our teenage urges and perverted thought process was getting out of control. We had to do something.

My parents were away one weekend so we came up with a plan that she would come over to my house one night. Rent a movie, have dinner, play cards. Drink. And have The Talk. Again. Hopefully for the last time.

She called me an hour before she got off. She was angry. It seemed like everyone she was worked with was getting mad at her. I tried to calm her down. Wasn't working. I told her that to call a cab as soon as work is finished and come over. As I hung up the phone, I knew I had to do something for her. I couldn't talk to her while she was mad. I made a few sandwiches. The only thing I knew how to make. I even made her favorite. Turkey and Ham with Cheese and extra Mayo. I ran out to the nearby Video 99 and rented Gone with the Wind. Ran back. I raided my sisters' room. There must be something in there that I use to change Dana's mood. I found bubble bath. I went to my washroom and ran a bath. As it was ready, I used the whole bottle and it was soon overflowing with flower smelling bubbles. It smelled pretty. I went to the kitchen. I found a big bag of Hershey Kisses. I poured them out and lined them up from the doorway leading to the washroom.

Dana called me from the drug store down the street. She said she was on her way. Had to stop to get money for the taxi. I told her that the door was going to be open, as I was in my room getting ready. Told her to come upstairs. I finished up and ran upstairs in the washroom where I had Marvin Gaye playing. If this didn't get her feeling better. I don't know what would. I heard the door open. Seconds later, I heard a huge shriek. She found the chocolates. She continued to make high pitched noises as she was getting closer to the washroom. The door opened. She came in. Saw the bubble bath running. She screamed. I told her to come into my room. As she came in she ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. I told her to look on the bed. I borrowed my sisters bikini. She put it on and headed to the bath. She spent almost an hour in there enjoying every minute of it. Relaxed, she came out wrapped in a towel, I gave her one of my t-shirts to wear as she put her hair up in a bun.

No make-up. Natural. Hair up. Never saw her look more beautiful.

That night was when we both lost our virginity. It was beautiful. The night started out as innocent then quickly becoming the most magical nights of our lives. We were cuddling on the couch after and thinking of the moment we just shared. I got up and put on a Boys II Men CD and put on my clothes. We were happy. Blushing. Smiling from ear-to-ear. Funny movements were happening in our stomach. It wasn't the food. That night I knew I was in love and I found my one and only.

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July 20th 1997. Ten years to the day when we first met. Also, the day of our wedding. It was quiet. We ran away with each other and stayed in a small Holiday Inn in the country. There was a church next door from the place we were staying and an old couple conducted the ceremony. The wife gave Dana away and played her Bridesmaid. Our Wedding dinner was spent at the town bar line dancing with locals. We called our parents and told them. I told Mom that Dad would've been proud and we promised to visit his grave as soon as we returned home. Dana's parents said that they would come to visit us but Dana said that we were on our Honeymoon and no parents were allowed within a 100 yard distance from the place of passion. They agreed on one condition that we would visit them as soon as we returned. We told them OK, that would be fine.

Dana was late. She was in the washroom taking the third test. The previous two both come out positive. We were just making sure while secretly choosing names out. She came out of the washroom gleaming. It was positive again. We knew it. We were going to be parents. I was going to be a father at 24. Incredible. Dana had finished her course for nursing the year before and already got a steady gig at the town hospital. I was doing some co-op work at an Ad agency and my boss loved me. I knew he'll hire me after. No one could say anything about us not being ready. We were. Mentally, physically and financially. We even had our own place. A 900 square foot apartment 15 minutes away from our parents place. That same dwelling where we first met on that summer morning.


That night we laid down on the bed together and reminisced of all the trials and tribulations we went through to get to the spot were in. The arguments. The good times. The sad times. Death, Marriage, Babies. Graduation. Break-Ups. Make-Ups. Becoming Grown-Ups. All happened so fast. Before our eyes. As she fell asleep while I was humming My Girl to her I looked at those big brown eyes and still thought she was as beautiful and innocent as she was back in 1987 coming out of that Datsun with the knee high socks, red glasses and overalls.


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My daughter was born April 23rd 1998. Trust Spring Savage. Beautiful as ever. She has her mother's eyes. My nose. People say that her left ear is mine while her right belongs to Dana. We too see the similarities. We named her Trust because we realized that's what kept us together for all these years.

As the family left, I opened up a bag of McDonald's my sister sneaked in for us and we started to munch down on some good grub. We just looked at each other and for the first time in a long while, realized that we were very lucky. Lucky that we had found each other. We talked about how we wouldn't be right with anyone else. How this bound we wanted Trust to have when she was older. Way older. Like in her 30s. Maybe her 40s. As we glared at each other, Dana hit me on my shoulder and hinted that it was because of her actually speaking English that we hooked up. I smiled back letting her believe she was right.