As I had said in the first part of this series, I was hurt by Gary’s words. I put on a brave face the next day and went to school. I saw him in the hall in front of the library. I looked straight at him, smiled, and said, “Hi Gary.” He didn’t say anything back to me. Was he surprised by the way I handled the situation? Maybe. At the time, that’s exactly the reaction I wanted from him.
That very afternoon in my band class (I played the flute.), I ask Dave to the Sadie Hawkins Dance that would be happening a week from that Saturday. Dave was sixteen but still a sophomore. He was still in the process of getting his driver’s license and only had a permit. His reason for not having his license was that he had a hard time getting his mom to take him to the motor vehicle department to take the written test. It sounded probable to me.
Dave was attentive, a little too attentive for my liking really. Because I still considered myself new to having a boyfriend in real life despite the three months with Gary, I along with most of his affection and only pushed him away gently when I thought he might be getting too wrapped up in it.
To get to the Sadie Hawkins Dance at our school, Dave, with his mom in tow picked me up. Yes, it was a strange situation. Because of the laws for drivers with permits in Colorado, I had to sit in the backseat of Dave’s VW. Yes, the car was his. He had mowed lawns for three years to come up with one-third of the cost for the car. His parents had said that they would pay the rest. Why didn’t we walk? It was December and the school was three miles away.
Gary was at that dance with someone I had known in elementary school. I avoided him. Showing him that I had a date for the dance seemed rather childish to me. I stayed close by Dave’s side and danced only with him.
There was a little diner across the street kitty corner from the school. Dave treated me to a hot fudge sundae and we talked a while. He told me about being held back a year in school when he was thirteen and how much trouble he had gotten into the year before. He felt that he had changed a lot since then, but as I saw him smoke his cigarette, I was pretty sure that he still had some growing up to do.
The Thursday after the dance, he called me asking me to a movie that next night. When I asked Mom, I found out that his grandmother knew Gary’s grandmother. Of course, because everyone involved went to the same denomination of church, Dave received the stamp of approval. How often does this happen in a city as large as the one I grew up in, namely Denver? Probably it has happened somewhere else but it’s got to be a rarity.
The movie he took me to is one that I truly believe all teenage couples were seeing over the span of about five years, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. This time the pick-up was a little different. Dave had gotten his license. It was just him and me in his baby blue VW. After the movie, he took me to the restaurant next door. Again, I had the hot fudge sundae while he had a parfait. When we got to my house, he wanted to neck for a while. I let it go on for about five minutes; then told him I had to get inside before one of my parents showed up at the door.
At school, we hung out together when we had classes in the same hall. (The school was three stories with three halls per level.) That Wednesday he came to my house to see me. He had a definite purpose for his visit. He asked me to go steady with him.
(Is anyone jumping up and down with joy out there? If you are, please stop.)
Going steady was not what I wanted. I thought the notion was a silly teenage tradition. I didn’t need a ring or bracelet to keep me loyal to someone I was dating and I didn’t think the guy needed it either. I asked Dave if we could just agree not to go out with anyone else. He was hurt, of course. He liked the stupid tradition.
When he got to his house, he called up my friend, Debbie, and asked her out. How did I know? Debbie called and told me right after her conversation with Dave. Debbie had accepted the date. I was a little miffed because I thought she should have checked with me about Dave’s and my status before accepting. Although Debbie and I remained friends, the closeness had been broken between us.
The odd thing about Dave and I was that after approximately three weeks, we were friends. Moreover, we became close friends by the time school ended at the beginning of that next summer. There were things that I discussed with him that I didn’t dare discuss with my girlfriends.
Although I haven’t seen him for decades, I still treasure his friendship.
Have you ever had a friendship like this?