8:32 p.m. So I am sitting with my mother talking about what I should wear to my lunch date with Rolph this afternoon. "I don't have anything decent to wear," I complain. "I never unpacked from when I was in Puerto Rico." Mom sighs and says, "Well...wear something indecent then." I laugh. Of course! Only a mom could give such sage advice.
So, I decide to wear a pair of capri pants and a black tube top thingy. I get the thumbs up from Mom, so it must be okay. I walk downstairs and ask Daddy how I look and he says, "Hmph." I smile. "I choose to take that as a good 'hmph' and not a bad 'hmph', Dad." Dad looks up from the project he's currently undertaking in his workshop, says "Hmph" again, and gets back to work. I trudge back upstairs. I obviously won't be getting any validation down here.
As I'm driving along I think about Rolph, my high school sweetheart. Rolph was blonde and tall and had the very bluest eyes I've ever seen. And with his German heritage he would have been a perfect Hitler Youth. (He looked a lot like Rolph from, The Sound of Music.) Oh, I was crazy about him to the point of obsession. I used to sleep with his dirty t-shirts so I could smell him when we were apart. I built a shrine to him on my nightstand. Pictures, candles, dried corsages from dances... It was truly frightening. I just knew we were going to get married someday and have lots of babies.
Well, to make a long story short, I moved. And Rolph got this crazy idea that we should date other people seeing as we'd been dating since we were in junior high. I was crushed. For months I couldn't sleep. I stopped eating any more than I needed to survive. I would see a guy wearing suspenders or a cardigan sweater (okay..his fashion sense was questionable) and I would break into a cold sweat. I remember I heard "our song" on the radio once about four months after the break-up and I had to pull over because I thought I was going to throw up. [Insert: The End of the World, by Nina Gordon, here]
But, as we all know, time softens the sharp edges of a broken heart. And eventually Rolph and I became dear friends. We would meet up every few years for dinner or lunch and tell each other about our lives, gossip about mutual acquaintances, reminisce about the old days. This has gone on for nearly 20 years.
I get to the restaurant and Rolph hasn't shown up yet. The hostess seats me and I sit down and start reading the menu. Fifteen minutes later I hear Rolph's voice. "There you are!" I look up and take him in. He's filled out since high school. No longer the scrawny boy I once knew, but a man.
I stand up and we hug. He kisses me on the cheek and asks me how I'm doing. "Fine! Good!" We sit down and start chatting. I tell him about all of the interesting twists and turns my life has taken over the past few years. He tells me about his work and his wife and his new son. I demand pictures and he shows me a snapshot of a chubby little 6 month old with very familiar bright blue eyes. He and his wife are both very blond and he jokes that their son is so fair that he'll burst into flames if put in direct sunlight. I laugh. Then he tells me that he ran into one of the teachers from school, Mr. Chen, the other day. Mr. Chen told him that of all the couples he'd seen over his 30 years teaching he'd hoped that we would make it. We both smile at that. [Insert Billy Joel's song, Italian Restaurant, here.]
Before I know it, two hours have passed and it's time to go. As we walk out to our cars we talk about what our lives might be like next time we meet for lunch. He will likely have a few more pups and a minivan. And maybe I'll start my own PI firm or join a band or something.
I give him a last hug and wish him all the joy and happiness that life can offer. "Drive safe!" I yell after his car. I sigh as he drives away. There goes my first love. [Insert, Young Love, by....whoever]