Prom But Not Forgotten: Murray ‘n Michele, 1971

Part 1

Her name was Michele and she was my high school sweetie. We went to the prom in 1971. I wanted to marry Michele; Michele had other plans. She went away to UGA, met the friend of her older brother and they yaddayaddayadda. Took me years to get over it, and in some ways I never did.

I was kinda hopin' that we'd meet up again at a class reunion after both of us got divorced. When the 20th rolled around in 1991, I went thinking she might be there; she wasn't. But her information was included in a directory of addresses and telephone numbers, so I sent Michele a letter to tell her how disappointed I was that she was a no-show. "All I wanted was one more dance," I wrote her.

Imagine my delight when I received her response. She had wanted to go to the reunion but decided against it at the last minute. She was low on funds and hadn't kept up with old friends and yaddayaddayadda. However, to my great salvation, she suggested that we have a reunion of our own…"sooner now than when we're 50," she suggested. And I ventured, "How about now?"

Michele invited me to spend a weekend at her home in Maine. I flew up on a Friday and spotted her instantly in the terminal. She had not changed, period. Twenty years had done nothing to diminish her beauty. If I looked anything like the way I felt at that moment, then Michele knew that I was in love with her all over again.

Michele, however, was unimpressed, to say the least. "You're fat," she said, by way of hello. "I can't believe it: you're fat."

"Good to see you, too, Michele."

"No, I mean, it's good to see you and all…but you're fat."

"We've established that. I've gained a few. It's only been twenty– oh, never mind. Look, I'll just grab the next flight back home."

"No, no, no, don't be silly," she said. "There's not another flight out of here tonight. Come on. It's just for the weekend…I don't know…I didn't think you'd be fat."

We got to her car and she pulled out a bottle of wine. "I thought we'd drink a toast, but I guess you don't want to do that now," she, um, invited?

"If that's what you've planned, that's what we should do," I said.

We drank a toast to old times. I looked at the clock and calculated the number of hours until my flight departed: 33. I don't remember what we talked about on the way to her place; I was in shock. But I do remember sucking in my stomach and trying to look as thin as possible.

We arrived at her place where dinner was waiting. We ate uneventfully and then she showed me the guest room. I spent a sleepless night in this strange haven with my high school sweetheart a few tempting feet away and I thought:

Early the next morning Michele, in her robe, came to my room with two steamers of coffee. She sat on the side of the bed and began to apologize for her welcome or the lack of it. "I don't know what got into me," she began. "I was feeling all these feelings I hadn't felt in a long, long time and, I don't know what happened…"

"You don't have to apologize to me, Michele. The past twenty years haven't been all that easy for me. It's not much of an excuse, but life does take a toll. What have you got there?"

In her lap rested a box. Inside the box was every love note I ever wrote her– and if you think I'm prolific on my blog, you don't even know– and all the little souvenirs of a high school romance: matchbooks and swizzle sticks and ticket stubs and stuff we couldn't even remember where the hell it was from. We laughed at every old joke all over again and the next thing we knew it was noon and time for lunch, which Michele suggested that we take at a lobster camp on the coast.

Forget lunch, okay? Never mind that it was singularly scrumptious. Lobsters the size of fuckin' lobsters. Let's get to the good part: We walked along the coastline hand in hand to a lighthouse, the kind you see in movies from the Seventies with Jane Seymour and some fat fuck she knew in high school. And as we stood there looking out at the horizon, the moment had a honeymoon feel to it. With all the intestinal fortitude I could muster– and sucking in my stomach– I said to my high school sweetheart, "You know what I wish? I wish we were married and that this was our honeymoon."

In a single unblinking moment we were back in love. And in that forever moment we were more in love than ever before. Suddenly I was reminded that we had just one more night to do something about it before I had to get back on the plane I had been racing to meet but now wished would never depart.

Well, that's as far as I've gotten. Maybe I'll tell you the rest of the story, maybe I won't. It isn't that I'm teasing you; I'm not sure I can find the words. But if I do find 'em, I'll post them here.

In the meatime you can read my other stories here . Leave a review if you like them.

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