Michael and I met our junior year in high school, 1988. I used Aqua Net for my awesome bangs, he wore Vans and we both rolled our jeans.
Michael transferred to our school and when he arrived a few of my friends were pretty excited. New guy, kind of preppy, sounded like the same giddy chatter, but I was really more enthusiastic about the Supreme Court back in those days.
The first time I actually met him, he sat behind me in Algebra. On the first day of class I felt a tap on my shoulder and he asked if I had a pencil. I remember turning around and thinking…What kind of person doesn’t bring a pencil on the first day of class? I also remember noticing that his eyes were blue and his hands were big with freckles on the knuckles.
I gave him one of my twelve, pre-sharpend, pencils out of my pencil pouch and turned back around. The next day he kept talking to me. I was never good at math and I needed to pay attention, so after class I asked the teacher if I could move seats. To this day, if you ask Michael, he will say he was hooked the day I switched seats. He liked a challenge.
Apparently he wasn’t that hooked because we talked every now and then, but he dated most of my friends.
Michael’s locker was down the hall from mine and one day, out of the blue, he asked me to ditch 5th period and hang out across the street. I had never ditched a class, no one had ever asked, and I certainly didn’t know enough about seventeen year old boys to suspect a thing. I was really…well, I was a good student.
Even now, I can’t tell you why I did it. Maybe it was the eyes, or his confidence, that I still envy all these years later, but I ditched 5th period. We sat side by side across the street from school, watched the ducks, and talked.
We became friends that day. He was different, smart, funny and relaxed in a way I didn’t know existed. He made me feel…interesting and alive. I didn’t have to play dumb around him. It turned out to be the best friendship of my life.
Michael and I will be married twenty-one years tomorrow. He stopped dating my friends around sophomore year in college. He has not always been easy, but the seventeen year old me obviously didn’t want easy. That girl clearly liked a challenge too. Who knew?
Three children, lots of holding on, fighting, a good amount of passion, several bad decisions, many miles of travel, and more warm nights, kissing and laughs than I will ever be able to recount, I am so very glad I ditched 5th period.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Are You Doing Tuck-in?