I traveled back to 1986 this year for my high school reunion and waiting for me, upon my arrival, was the path I didn’t take, at least not in high school. One day in February of my senior year in English class, I was handed a perfectly written note consisting of a one-sentence proposition by one of the best looking boys in school. But I had a boyfriend, a perfect boyfriend.
My boyfriend was the kind of boyfriend who once spent hours with my head in the bathroom sink trying to wash a hot oil treatment out of my hair. He would also lie to my family about what I had eaten that day. I did not eat that year and we had a system. When he was asked what I had eaten for lunch that day, he was to say whatever he had eaten. This would have had me consuming the same daily calories as the pitcher for the baseball team, which did not happen until later in life.
A few weeks after the semi-salacious proposition, my perfect boyfriend went out of town on a college exploration trip. I spent that Saturday night in the clutches of the wordsmith from my English class.
Monday evening after my slight indiscretion, I took my perfect boyfriend out on the front steps of our house with my guilt mounting. I was about to impale my confession onto my perfect boyfriend, when he grabbed my hands with huge tears in his eyes and blurted out, “I cheated on you this weekend with a college girl.” I could feel the lump in my throat turn into a fireball of outrage. I banished him from my house and spent the next few days putting him through the paces.
I needed time to think about what he had done and to reach an agreement with the wordsmith, who had recently been recruited to play football for a university five hours from the university I would attend. We decided to forgo our attraction for each other. I found it in my heart to forgive my perfect boyfriend (even though I still root for any school but Baylor), and sail through the rest of that year knowing graduation would bring a perfect ending. My perfect boyfriend ultimately married the perfect girl.
At our 10 year reunion, the wordsmith was married and with a sweet and knowing glance, that was that. At our 20 year reunion, the wordsmith was divorced and we began our chapter, at long last. We live in different states, so though it was full of romance and adventure, it was also full of inconvenience and didn’t last very long.
When we hugged each other at our 30 year reunion, I had the same feeling I have always had. When our embrace was over, and I was about to move on to the next person, he said, “don’t go too far away,” and in that moment, I realized-- that I guess I never have.