That evening he called me. We stayed up talking on the telephone until 4 am. The anonymity provided by not having to see his face providing some sense of courage. This would be the general way we would interact, falling asleep with each other on the telephone, driving our respective family nuts. We would reveal each others desires and talk about nothing but in a way that made us feel as if our lives depended on it.
The Monday after that, Jovanna walks up to me… throws her backpack across the hall and begins to glare at me.
“I decided I have a problem with it.” she yelled. “I don’t want you to date Antonio.”
I was terrified, I am shy and tend to introversion. I felt alone in this deal, I was a part of her friend circle, a circle which included all his buddies that had been with us in the car that day. He was a at a Catholic school and would not be there to help me through this matter.My heart raced. But as I watched her backpack slide into the wall, after she had thrown it as she was yelling at me, I realized that this was ridiculous drama. Drama that reeked of a Mexican telenovela. I knew enough that love never quite worked that way, but I also knew that she was showing a side of herself that was the bat-shit crazy that would eventually reveal itself (thankfully, not as a part of this story).
“Jovanna.” I said, “It is too late to tell me this now.”
I turned, knowing that our friendship was over. She called me a bitch as I walked away.
It would be an understatement to say that I was terrified. I was risking people I thought were friends. All of Antonio’s friends that I went to school with, were friends of hers.
Antonio and I met up a few times, much as we had that weekend he had come to meet my mother…we would go to the park and hang out with a group of other kids. He would grab for my hand, shyly. We would take walks together around the lake, or sit at the edge while I dangled my toes in and let the fishes nibble on them. There was an intensity and a reserve to our relationship. He and I held hands and would merely kiss each other on the cheek at the end of the day. In hindsight, I am not sure if this was because I was so shy (since I cannot speak for him) or if it was because he still intimidated me. Most likely both.
In the meantime I had to find something to wear. My great-aunt had given me some of her or clothes, and included was an absolutely stunning vintage Taffeta skirt, something from the late 30’s. I am amazed it fit as I am convinced she had a 22 inch waist and that would have been on a day she had been binge eating… but I was able to fit in it. My grandmother, who thought Antonio was one of the most stunning young-men she had ever met, decided I needed to wear red. She had bought me a red silk top. and had found me a necklace of pearls with red coral beads. So, I had a lovely and very classic outfit. I remember being very concerned that it was not something that looked like this:
|It was the 80’s|
What was I thinking? Though, in my defense it was 1985. I must have fretted over the clothes. My grandmother, sat me down and said that I was a classic beauty and that the outfit I had would stand the threads of time compared to what the other girls wore… little did I know then that there was a strange foreshadowing in that line!
Now the day arrived of our official first date. The kind where it would include just the two of us, alone. My first official date date! He arrived to pick me up, we stood around for family pictures and I was embarrassed and rushed us out, we went to dinner. Strange how after countless evenings of so much talking on the phone that we, or at least I, became shy and tongue tied. He, thankfully was able to carry the whole conversation. After dinner we went to his house, where his family took pictures and quizzed this new girl in his life. I met his sisters, who all seemed to be teasing him, his parents, and the one I was just delighted by; his grandmother. She seemed delighted with my Spanish and we carried a conversation about how I had come to be, who my family was and other miscellanea from my life. I think this made him nervous, but talking to her really calmed me down. I think she felt like her grandson was making the right kind of choice in the women he was interested (though of course, this is only an educated guess with the benefit of 30 years since the incident… at the time, I just thought she was a very nice woman). He showed me his room, which shocked me. He had a Dio poster on his wall. I think that at the time I was taken aback because it was not the kind of music I listened to, but I wonder now if it was also that I was wondering how a boy that liked music like that (and therefore have access to girls that liked music like that as well ) could choose a girl like me. I wasn’t after all, what I then called “a rocker-chick”. I don’t know, but to this day I have a soft spot for Ronnie James Dio and I can still picture the poster in his room.
|A rocker chick from the 80’s|
|A closer version of what I looked like.|
His family had arranged for a limousine to take us to his prom, which seemed incredibly extravagant to me. His family walked us to the door and we got in and off we went. By this time I felt that I had entered some fairy tale. Though we certainly were still being shy with each other… or maybe it was just me being shy with him. We arrived at the prom, got in line for the obligatory pictures, we danced a slow song (which was also my first slow dance with a boy). I excused myself to the restroom because I had happened to notice that my beautiful vintage skirt had torn along most of the side seams. So much for standing the threads of time. I was in tears, I stood in front of the full length mirror that was in the sitting area of the women’s rest room, wondering if the pictures we had taken would reveal this horrid fact. I calmed myself down, and made a few tucks to prevent an untoward show of my underclothes. Thankfully the skirt was full and I was able to do this without to much awkwardness. But I felt even more ridiculous and was terribly upset with myself. I met Antonio at the table and he asked if I wanted to leave. I only knew him at his school, and many of the girls there were giving me the stink eye (at the time I thought it was because they had noticed my skirt, I realize now, that it was because they were jealous I was with him). We returned to the limo and got in. Shortly after the limo drove off, he turned and looked at me beside him, he turned towards me, and pulled me to him and dipped me across his lap He looked down at me and then kissed me for the very first time since we had met. My mind was running with all sorts of angst, I had never kissed a boy like this before, was there a way to do this wrong, was there a way to do this right. So, I did what I could and followed his lead. We kissed the whole ride around town, until it was time for me to go home. At one point, I remember opening my eyes and looking at him. His eyes were open and he was looking ahead, towards our driver. He saw that I had noticed, and he lead in to whisper; “The driver was staring at us.” My eyes must have widened in horror because he added that and he had gestured for him to roll up the divider. I smiled at him and he leaned in for another kiss. That felt like one of the most romantic nights any young girl could ever have. I cannot forget the way the moonlight played on my hand as it was touching his face, that contrast, was just so stunning… his skin like warm coffee against the cool creamy tones of of my hand.
When it was time for me to go home, the limousine rolled up to the front of my house. We kissed for a few minutes more and then he said he did not want to get me into trouble, though he would love to spend the rest of the night like we had been. He helped me out and walked me to the door. At my door, he grabbed my hand and pulled me close and kissed me goodnight. My head started to spin. He took my keys and unlocked the door for me. Watched me step inside and said; “Thank you for such a wonderful evening.”
I felt a lump at my throat, I couldn’t say a thing.. so I just nodded.
He waited for me to close the door. And I watched him through the window near the door as he walked back to the limo, get in and be driven away. Stunned that I had just had my first date with a boy, and how magical it was.
I felt like I had just had my Jake Ryan moment.
Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. It was Antonio.
… to be continued.