Teenage love, lost [Sound & Vision Contest, 7/2022]
It was the autumn of '72 and the young lady who had long occupied a special place in my heart was seated beside me in the car. I'd liked her since junior high, playing the occasional little joke on her, walking home from school with her once in awhile. Just your typical dorky teenage kid stuff. Then my family moved to Michigan and our connection was broken - just like that. I eventually took a shot at thinking about asking out a fellow high school student, but that didn't go well; bits of that story are told elsewhere.
Then we moved back to Colorado and I looked her up. She still lived in the same house and she was as pretty as ever. She invited me to her house for dinner and, in a moment when we were alone in her kitchen, she kissed me! I couldn't believe one of my fondest dreams had come true, and I figured that meant we were "an item." Of course, with me living in the mountains and her living in town, we didn't see much of each other. But since I thought about her all the time, I figured she must be thinking about me, too, so everything was fine. Right? Yeah. I might be fairly good at "Clue", but I sure didn't have one.
I'd invited her to our house in the mountains for dinner, where Mom had done her usual bang-up job, and now I was giving her a ride back home. We'd be together and alone at least thirty minutes, and we'd be able to talk about...whatever. Of course, my natural-born geekiness prevented me from saying anything meaningful, because I was just sure "we were cool", so it was left to her to say cool things, important things. Weighty stuff like, "I'm engaged."
It was fortunate the road ran straight for quite a ways, as I basically froze. The rest of the trip to her house required no conversation, although I may have congratulated her and wished her well. All I remember for sure is that "Build Me Up Buttercup" was playing on the radio. It would be a long, long time before I wouldn't immediately change the station whenever it started to play.
"Build Me Up Buttercup", The Foundations
[WC: 374 (title and story)]
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