Side note: This post isn't about my husband, but rather the first and only love I have had besides my husband.
It was late in January, somewhere around the 27th. I was 17 years old, and only a few weeks away from turning 18. I had signed up to go to an Honor Band program at a distant state university with a few other kids from my high school. It would be the last year I would be able to go, as I was in my senior year.
I had gone the year before, and truth be told, I wished I hadn't the first day I was there that year because I felt like my band teacher had ripped me off by recommending me for third trumpet, instead of second, which is what I had played my whole trumpeting career. I remember being there that first day, mad as a fire ant, and wishing I hadn't come.
By the end of the first day, I was glad I had gone because I was smitten with my stand partner. A senior at a high school in Nevada named Selwyn. The program was only for a weekend, but there was a bond created between us in that short time. We exchanged addresses and promised to stay in touch by the time it was over. He sent me a graduation announcement later that year. Over the summer, I received a few post cards and letters from Selwyn as he traveled about the country. It turned out he was planning to attend the university that hosted the honor band program that coming fall.
As soon as we were able to sign up for the honor band program my senior year, my name was at the top of the list. The only real reason I wanted to go was so that I could hook it up with Selwyn. I just knew we were going to see each other, fall in love, and the rest would be history. A story for our children.
The day we arrived for the first rehearsal, I looked around anxiously for him. My friend Elisa knew why I was there, and she was just as excited for me as I was. She and I had become very close friends that year, and spent a lot of time together. She had helped put the kibosh in my inner prude, and helped me realize I was a girl who wanted more than just innocent kissing.
Soon enough I found the man I was there to see. My expectations were only let down by my own inability to accurately portray how I felt and why I was there. I was suddenly shy and felt like I was testing the waters. The truth is, Selwyn only showed up to the rehearsal to see me. That should have been my first indication he felt the same way I did, but high school girls are so silly and insecure.
I don't really remember what happened with Selwyn that day after the rehearsal ended, but I do remember that Elisa had invited her stand partner and his best friend back to our hotel that night to hang out. She was the epitome of a flirt. I learned a lot from her. That night, Rick and Nick showed up at our hotel to take us to dinner. Elisa had claimed Rick for herself and reserved Nick for me. Nick was cute and all, but I secretly wanted Rick. He had blonde hair that was cut in the fashionable 90s "bowl cut" and the most gorgeous blue, blue eyes I had ever seen. He was tall, and he smelled so good. He wore black army-style boots that put me in dither.
It turned out, I was in luck. Rick decided he liked me better than Elisa, and Nick and Elisa decided they liked each other better as well, so a swap took place. We spent the rest of the night chatting and enjoying each other's company until our chaperons told the boys to hit the road. Just because they weren't in our room didn't mean we couldn't still talk on the phone until the wee hours of the morning!
The next morning, I was torn. I still wanted to be with Selwyn, but I was developing feelings for Rick too. I was there for Selwyn gosh dang it, and I was going to keep it that way!
When I walked into the rehearsal hall, there was Selwyn, waiting to see me. I walked up to him, flirted, and talked, but not for long. Rick had seen me, and he wasn't having this other guy steal his woman away for the world. He came over and made it clear that he had staked his claim. Selwyn barely put up a fight. Before I knew it, the guy I had driven all that way to be with was gone from my life for good. However, I didn't feel like I had lost out at all. I saw it as fate.
That afternoon when we broke for lunch, Rick, Nick, Elisa, and I went to the grocery store to find some good old fashioned junk food to eat. It was while we were there that Rick told me if my hands were cold, I could put them in his pocket. My stomach did a flip, as I put my hand into his pocket where his warm hand was waiting. Our hands met, and flash of electricity went through me. It felt so good, and so right. I had no idea in that moment that I was holding hands with the first guy I would ever love.
Later that afternoon on a mini-break from rehearsal, Rick and I were sitting in a hallway, talking. I took his class ring from him, and as a joke, told him I wasn't going to give it back and he told me that was fine. I told him I was only joking, and offered his ring back. He told me to hang on to it for the remainder of the weekend. I was elated as I clutched it in my hand.
That night was our final performance, and the next day we would all be heading home. The four of us stayed together for as long as we could, before our chaperons reeled us into our respective hotels for the night. The boys promised to come back over first thing in the morning to tell us goodbye before we all went home.
The next morning, the boys showed up to our rooms right on time. Rick and I found a back stairwell where we sat and talked, and had our first kiss. I didn't know what to expect, but I figured the romance would, unfortunately, be short-lived. I thought that once we went our separate ways, things would fizzle out over the matter of a couple weeks because of the distance between us.
I offered him his ring back, and he told me to hang onto it, that he would come out to my house for it as soon as he could. He lived 3 hours from me, but I wasn't going to argue. I would take any excuse to be with him again, even if it was only one more time. I was happy that things would last at least that long between us. If I had his ring, he had to come get it. I promised to take care of it and not lose it. Then all too soon, he had to go, and we went our separate ways.
I drove home that day on Cloud 9. I didn't know where things would go with us, but for the moment, I was completely infatuated.
The second I got home, my dad asked me who Rick was. I was perplexed. How could he know about him already? Did one of my chaperons squeal on me? No. Rick had called three times already, and promised to call back again shortly. I was so giddy. There is nothing that compares to those feelings that pulse through you when you first meet and make a connection with the person who will become your significant other.
For now, things were fun and exciting and full of hope. Only time would tell where it would go.