Heather and I have vastly different stories to tell from this time period of our lives. We were in two completely different mental and emotional states. We have decided to tell this segment of our lives, and perhaps others, separately in order to give a clear perspective of the stage from which we launched our lives together.
Heather and I went to high school together and even had a few classes together but we were far from high school sweethearts. Quite the opposite actually. We never spoke to each other at all. I was a shy and quiet young man with a somewhat troubled home life and kept to myself or in a very small circle of friends. I spent most of my freshman and sophomore years in “in-school suspension” for smoking and being tardy for class (usually from smoking). It took me a long time to realize that “smoking ain’t allowed in school” (pun intended). If memory serves me correctly, I had 17 suspensions over a 2-year period. It was not my best moment for being a role model or getting a really nice girl’s attention.
Heather, from my perspective, was a quiet and reserved young lady who wore a black leather bikers jacket. I would have never approached a girl like that for conversation as I figured that she would just reject me anyway. She tells me that while we were in English class; she told her friends that she would never date a guy like me. I was always in trouble with our English teacher and was the focus of her attention and class disruption on an unusual frequency.
No, we didn’t talk or know each other but sometime later, after graduation, we had an encounter. I moved away in 1987 during our junior year in high school and I didn’t return until 1989. I was working on a dairy farm in southern Kentucky. I began working there in October that year. Things were progressing along according to the plans I had set for myself. But in December, things changed and I began looking for a new direction in life.
I started going to McDonald’s every night after that for dinner. It was double cheeseburgers special for $0.99 that month. Day after day, I went and got my double cheeseburger and after several visits, I took notice of this brown haired young lady with the most beautiful eyes and smile I had ever seen. Obviously, I did not recognize who Heather was as she had changed a lot since I had seen her 2 years prior. She took my order most every night. I was so taken by her but I was too shy to make a formal introduction and I wasn’t really wanting to jump into another relationship. I just showed up every night and ate my cheeseburger and caught a momentary glimpse of her.
A few weeks later, I was visiting my cousin and his wife and they wanted to hook me up with this girl from work. They both worked at McDonald’s. I wasn’t sure who they were referring to but I agreed to show up at the appointed time and they would introduce me to this girl. I showed up with them for lunch on a Sunday and when they pointed her out, I was shocked. It was the girl I had my eye on the past few weeks. Needless to say, I was very excited. My cousin’s wife got her to come over to our table and introduced us. Then it was all girl talk from that point on. Heather never looked at me but was all whispers back and forth with my cousin’s wife. Then Heather looked back at me with this cute nod of goodbye and was gone. I thought it was over. But to my shock and awe, I was informed that I was to bring her to the New Year’s Eve party at my cousins house about a week later.
My confidence was empowered now. I had a date for the party. I still came by nightly and began talking with her. I had to find out where to pick her up, right? She agreed to have me follow her home after work so I could see where she lived. I followed her home and we sat in her driveway and talked for hours. Just basically, getting to know each other and make preparations for the party. I had settled in my mind that I would not attempt to kiss her and wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve to make the date of the kiss something that I could remember, should anything become serious in our relationship.
This is the way that I remember my life during this time period and our first encounter. I think I will stop here and allow Heather the opportunity to reflect upon her side of the story. I feel like it will be better said if she tells herself.
To be continued…