Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On this day 20 years ago ...

On December 15, 1995, I experienced a huge milestone in my hopeless romantic life. That night I had my first slow dance with a guy I liked.  I had slow danced with other guys before this, but this time was different.

It's notable to realize I was 15 when this milestone occurred. I looked something like this:

My sophomore year school photo.
Ahh. The days of polo/rugby shirts. I was still fighting my natural curl, which resulted in some terrible hairstyles. And I didn't know much about makeup at that point either.

Anyway. Yes, that is about how I looked when I had my first significant slow dance with a boy. This probably happens much earlier for most people. Clearly, I've just always been a late bloomer when it comes to my love life.  This pattern has held true.

It's probably pathetic that I remember this date. I know that. And I own it.  Honestly, it only just occurred to me a few weeks ago when I was reminiscing about high school memories. When I realized it would be the 20th anniversary of this occasion, I decided I needed to write about it. Silly as it might be, that dance was a very big deal to me.

My crush on M was pretty intense.  He was a senior. He was short, probably only about 5'8", with brown hair and brown puppy dog eyes, of which I was quite fond. He was athletic -- he was on the football, basketball, and track teams -- but not necessarily a star. Music was more his thing, and he was an excellent trumpet player. He was also very smart and fairly well-liked. We were in band together, and it was during one of our band sessions that I realized my crush on him. It kind of struck without warning, and once I wrapped my head around it, it just started growing. It didn't take that long for word to get out about my feelings for M. By the way, our high school was small -- less than 200 students in grades 9 through 12 -- so everyone knew everyone. And everyone knew everyone's business. Not that I was very secretive about it. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, and naturally I talked to friends about him. Some friends thought we would be a good match, so they tried to make it happen. There were a lot of ups and downs as people tried to get us together.  He kind of took over that entire year of my high school career.  Sometimes I even refer to it as my M year instead of my sophomore year. Dancing with him was a momentous occasion.

Fortunately, thanks to my teenage diary, I can share with you my exact reflection of that night. (There are initials to protect the other parties in this tale.)
December 16, 1995
My life's pretty gr-8 right now. Last night, we had a dance. B and K asked M if he was going to dance with me, and he said he would. Then, when B said, "She's sitting over there." He said, "Duh, I know that already." Later, the song "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal came on and he started towards me. He said, "So do you wanna go out?" (on the dance floor) I kind of nodded and got off the counter I was sitting on. Then he took my hand and led me to a spot on the floor. We were next to K and his girlfriend, B and T, and a few other couples. All of them kept giving us looks like, "Oh my gosh they're actually dancing together." I could not look M in the face, but B said he stared at me throughout the whole song. I wish the song would've lasted forever (and it is a long song), but unfortunately it didn't and we went our separate ways. I went over and sat by friends for the rest of the night. I had the hugest grin on my face for the rest of the night. I was so happy. He didn't ask me again, but he didn't dance with anyone else either. I wish I knew what was going through his head. I really don't know if I was thinking at all. He smelled really good, and I loved being that close to him. The skin at the back of his neck (where my hands were) was really soft. B said his hands were really low on my back, but I told her I didn't care. It was one of the most memorable times in my life. That song will never sound the same to me. I will probably never be able to see him in the same way either after being that close to him. Everyone was really happy for me and smiled at me on the dance floor while I was with him.
I'm fairly certain I wrote this diary entry in the wee hours of December 16, which would be immediately after I returned home from the dance. My feelings and memory were still very clear.

True to my nature at the time, I wrote a poem about that night and the weeks that followed.

That Night, That Dance, and You

As we danced together
On that wonderful night
I wanted to say something
But words didn't seem right
I wished you would hold me
In your arms forever
I wish we could have stayed
Like that, together
But I was scared
I feared your eyes
Would be looking elsewhere
They'd be on the person
You really love
I'm sure it was her
You were thinking of
But that dance, for me
Was a dream come true
I still can't believe
I was that close to you
That song is special
It still gets me every time
As our dance together
REmains fresh in my mind
I don't know if it even 
Meant anything to you
But I know I'll never forget
That night, that dance, or you

If only this was the only poem I'd written about this guy. And others I liked during my teen years. If I was Taylor Swift, I could have turned them into millions of dollars. Instead, they're just in a binder in my bedroom.

Nothing else really happened between M and me. I mean, there was some other drama throughout the year, but we never went on a single date, and the few conversations we had were brief. But I do have one good memory of that year. Our slow dance, which happened 20 years ago tonight.

We have some mutual friends, so I occasionally see his name on Facebook.  I run into him once a year at the Iowa State Fair, though not literally. I see him from afar, but I'm not sure he's ever really seen or noticed me all those times. I haven't actually spoken to him since right after he graduated that spring. I don't even know what I'd say to him at this point, honestly.

Regardless, to this date, I still can't hear "Kiss From A Rose" without thinking of him.


  1. Oh my goodness. That diary entry. It sounds like SO many diary entries that I wrote as a teenager, too! While I don't remember a specific date, I DO very clearly remember the first time I danced with my middle school crush. It was to "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. I also remember that we danced together at a different dance, and when the above song came on later, I asked to dance with him again and he said no. lol Amazing the things that stick with us!

  2. Awwww, such a sweet memory. Feelings are so strong as a teen, especially when it's your first time doing something! I was also a late bloomer and didn't have my first slow dance until junior year. Your school picture is super cute. I wore a lot of polos and rugby shirts too. Haha! And holy cow, your school had 200 students?! I thought my school was small with 1,000 10-12 graders!

  3. 200 students? There were almost 600 just in my class alone!

    But such a great memory. I have a few like this myself. Sometimes I want to burn my old diaries because they're so embarrassing, and other times I'm so glad to be able to go back and remember those details.

  4. OMG...I had my very first slow dance with a boy I was crushing on (at church camp of all places) to Kiss From a Rose!!! And my first kiss!! Such a good song...


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