perils with writing and whatnot
This series only reflects the romance I took part in during my three years in high school.
Most high schools in the Denver area during the 1960s and 1970s taught from the sophomore year to the senior year. Freshmen were still part of the junior high school (middle school) crowd.
After I refused Dave’s bracelet, there was a brief time when I wasn’t dating anyone. Because some of that time was during the Christmas season, it didn’t seem to affect me. I was busy helping Mom with the cookie baking, putting out the decorations throughout the house and practicing my flute piece for the Children’s Christmas Pageant at church.
A few boys called me for dates during the second semester of my sophomore year. Most were one-night stands. A couple I dated a few more times but the romance just wasn’t there for me. I was probably better off not dating very much because I was struggling to keep a B average in Biology. The subject was definitely not a favorite of mine. I actually did more studying to keep my averages as high as possible.
On Memorial Day weekend that year, the public swimming pool at Mamie G. Eisenhower Park opened. I walked the three miles to get there. I wasn’t shy about jumping into the cold chlorinated water. I had been waiting for the pool fun all school year. Many of the kids I had met the previous year were already in the pool splashing and dunking each other. This was what we did most of the summer.
There were usually about eight or nine in our group ranging from the age of ten up to nineteen. Most of them were my age though. This year, however, there was a new guy in our group, Brad. He was over 6 feet tall, large-boned and lean with muscle. Yes, he was good looking, no doubt about it.
I did what I always did around guys I liked. I did everything in my power to be his friend. And we did become friends. Nothing else happened between us that summer though. As with most things, it was probably for the best because in August I had a chance to go to New York City with a group of kids from around Denver who were the same denomination of religion as I was. Parents weren’t going. Instead, there was a chaperon from each church that was involved in the project. Our mission was to learn how religion still plays a part in our society.
When school started that fall and I was a junior, I was boy friendless except for the ones who were platonic friends. However, the last Tuesday of September, after I got home from school, I received a telephone call from Brad. (He wasn’t going to my school. He ended up in the next high school south of mine.) He asked me to go to a party with him. Some of the other kids from the pool would be there so I felt safe about saying yes.
I had a good time at the party. Because Brad was a gentleman and didn’t make any crude moves on me, I was very comfortable with him through the entire evening. We started going out every weekend after that, on either Friday night or Saturday night.
Sometime right before Christmas that year, we went to a Christmas party somewhere over in him neighborhood. At first, it was just the normal teenage party. Some were drinking beer but back then, anyone eighteen could drink it legally so it wasn’t a big deal. We were offered some but neither Brad nor I liked the taste of beer so we declined.
About 10pm, couples started heading for bedrooms. Of course, we knew what was going on behind those doors. I knew I wasn’t ready for something like that yet, and Brad wasn’t pushing me to be intimate yet. We decided to leave and go over to McDonald’s.
A guy that Brad knew (but wasn’t a friend really), Doug, was outside standing next to Brad’s car smoking a cigarette. Brad got me into the car, said hello to Doug and suggested he move away from the car so that there wasn’t any chance of Brad hurting him when driving off. Doug must have been drinking because he picked a fight with Brad. They were evenly matched and the fight lasted over ten minutes. Brad’s right eye was swollen, his jaw was bruised and he had a cut lip. He was a mess.
Yes, he took me straight home and then he went home.
The following day, my friend, Glenda and I walked over three miles to Brad’s home in the snow that had fallen during the night. I needed to make sure he was okay. I bought a get-well card and a Snickers bar on the way to give to him. That’s what girlfriends do, right?
His mom was nice and gracious, letting us in, and taking our coats and mittens. Brad came out to the living room. His face was so swollen. I gave him the card and the candy bar. He gave me a kiss even though his lower lip was hurting.
We dated until January. It turned out that he did want to get intimate and, as I said, I just wasn’t ready. He went on to someone else who was ready. There weren’t any tears. This was high school stuff. I knew I wasn’t ready to get involved seriously so there was nothing to be upset about as far as I could figure.
I guess I was lucky. I never felt that I had to give into the pressures of sex and intimacy that are so prevalent in high school.
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James Edgar Skye
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