I'll write about this and afterwards I will let it go. Something happened to me back in high school right after my parents decided to separate (on Christmas night), and ten days later, my Mother and I moved out of the family townhouse and into a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. I was sixteen, shell-shocked and feeling very vulnerable. Life goes on and I had to start over in a new school on January 6th.
Previously, I had elected to attend another high school (half-day), in my studies of cosmetology. We would ride fifty minutes to school, hop on another bus after homeroom, and ride another twenty-five minutes to another school for these elective studies. I learned about cutting hair and applying make-up and I was quite good at it.
On the first day at my new school I checked in with the secretary in the principal's office, where she directed me to get onto the yellow-orange school bus sitting outside. We students would be whisked away to yet another high school for our elective studies. Because I was now residing in another school district, I would not have the same vocational school. Changes on all fronts.
I walked outside, climbed onto the bus and sat down six rows behind the driver. Some more children hopped on and right before we were to pull away, a guy climbed the two stairs and without seeming to look at me, he sat down opposite my seat and stared ahead. He had shoulder length medium golden brown hair, a full beard, the bluest eyes I had seen, since looking into my Father's, and since I was feeling sad, I felt a bit frightened and wary of him. I had heard his voice outside the bus and his full throated and hearty laughter. He was one of those people whose personality shows up before he enters a room. Or in this case, a school bus. I scooted down a little in my seat and waited for the bus to get us to our destination. There I would be subjected to more curious looks by my new cosmetology classmates.
Meeting people and adjusting to schools and new students was old school (forgive the pun), to me. Our family moved up and down the east coast and I had a knack of making friends where ever we ended up living. This time was different though. I was coming from a broken home. More and more kids were beginning to experience this tragedy, but I had never even entertained the idea of my parents ever splitting up. My feelings were raw and I was still digesting the emotional baggage that my parents had dropped in my lap.
When the bus pulled up to the H.S. a young girl with long blond hair asked me which class I was taking. After I told her she smiled widely and introduced herself as Donna. She indicated I was to go with her as we were in the same class. The long haired guy with the beard was walking ahead of us and he looked back as he turned to go into his drafting class, flashing a beautiful smile that lit up his whole countenance. Instead of feeling wary of him, I felt as if cupid had shot me through the heart. I looked away and hurriedly followed Donna into the classroom. I met two wonderful lifetime friends that day. His name was David.
Donna, David and I hung out every day, ate lunch together and became fast friends. After I shared my situation they commiserated and took me under their respective wings. I was made to feel all at once; welcome, safe, secure, accepted and wanted. We shared our school days and eventually, David asked me if I would like to ride with him in his Toyota to the JR Hot Shoppes after school and get a bite to eat. I was thrilled and readily accepted the invitation. Donna smiled behind David's back knowing how I excited I was. Back then you were calm, cool and collected. You didn't let on that you wanted to jump up and down and twirl around in a circle, letting your skirts whirl about your knees. I sedately followed him to his car and waited while he opened the passenger side door, actually helped me inside and firmly shut the door.
When he opened his door and sat down, he saw I had already clicked closed the seat belt and he followed suit. He started the engine and putting the car into reverse we were off. He was an excellent driver, following the traffic laws and he drove us through the streets I was beginning to recognize. We enjoyed our burger, fries and cokes, talked a bit and then he drove me home. I couldn't believe he escorted me all the way to the door of the apartment that I shared with my Mother. Wow, he was such a gentleman. He asked me if I wanted to go to a dance Friday evening. His band "The Salty Dog", was going to play and he was their lead singer. I had been singing since the age of five with the hopes of performing professionally, as soon as I graduated. I smiled and told him I would be happy to go to the dance.
Friday night arrived and I didn't get to dance because when the band was playing, my date (I suppose he was my date), was singing. And could he sing! He sounded exactly like, if not better than, Jim Morrison, of The Doors! Oh my, I could barely stand up, my knees were turning to jelly. Oh my indeed. I was head over heels and I schooled my feelings beautifully. That night when David drove me home we sat in his car and he reached over and took my hand in his. Turning my hand over, palm up, he lowered his head and kissed my hand. I almost fainted! Boy, did I have it bad. How was I going to keep my feelings a secret? The next thing I knew, David took me into his arms and he showered me with some of the finest kisses I was ever to receive. We steamed up all of the car windows during the next few weeks, and they were the moments I yearned for and thought about without pause. I was in love for the first time in my life and he was everything I just realized I wanted.
I could write a book about dating him and loving him and everything, but I shall skip ahead to a time three and a-half years later. Many things had changed but we were still dear friends. He invited me to join his band and sing backup with Cathay. The name of the group was "Tramp". We were an elite group of five guys and two girls in this glitter rock group. David had turned 21 in May, and I had turned 20 in August. We performed some college engagements and even one with Alice Cooper. He had a very scary act with a gigantic snake. I was not comfortable with the snake but hey. I have included a snapshot of an old photograph because it was a great concert.
I lived as a roommate with David's girlfriend for about a year and then moved back in with my Mother. We got along really well, Mother and I. Later after David moved on to his next girlfriend, I always made friends with the young women he dated. David was a special person and as a friend I wanted what he wanted. I was a bridesmaid at his first wedding and they would come out to nightclubs and hear me sing through the years. At his Father's funeral I learned that they were now estranged. Later the same year, David and his beautiful Mother attended my and my husband's wedding. The day I married ... that was the last time I ever saw David although we did speak on the telephone a few more times.
I recall the day I phoned his office out of the blue, and I was told he wasn't in, that he was getting married to a woman he worked with. The receptionist gave me his phone number and I called to wish him happy. And that was the last time I ever spoke with David. I was told later that the woman he married was not always nice and that she was totally possessive of him. That she actually screened his every call, including his voice mails.
Through the years I would call him and leave detailed voice mail messages about Mother, or me and my husband, or when it was his birthday and I would tell him Happy Birthday David! I never received another call from him and for years, we worked just two blocks away from one another. I would ask him to please call me just to touch base but there were never any calls. To say this hurt me deeply is an understatement. David and I were friends for decades but apparently his second wife called the shots and he was to promise not to have anything to do with his friends from his past. He kept his word. I told you he was a gentleman.
Last Saturday night, after many years of trying to locate him on FaceBook or Anywho, etc., suddenly when I searched his full name ... he popped up! In memory of David May 2, XXXX - December 28, 2009. I clicked on the link and there he was! I felt the wind rush from my lungs, and had I not been sitting down I would have collapsed. It's like a foot to the groin, a punch to the stomach and a right-hook to your chin. I was drowning in memories of long ago. I had wanted to share with him that our flower girl, our niece was with child and all of a sudden, I received a sign. Saturday, was my niece's birthday, and the date 3-27 or 327, my Mother's favorite number. Whether the message was from my late Mother or from my first high school sweetheart, I'll never know. But I would like to think he was sending me a sign that he already knew.
David was my friend and I cared about him and he shall remain in my heart as my first real love. Blessings to his family and grandchildren. I forgive his wife for separating us from our friendship and occasional innocent calls, but I wanted to write this down while it is still fresh in my mind. I have had the last five nights filled with dreams of times long ago and I wanted to celebrate our friendship without regrets. Good-bye my friend ... until we meet again.