Okay, before you read any further, you may want to go back and read my May 26th post. Just kinda sets the stage for this one.
It was the fall of 1974 and we were in our first year at the high school. Things were a little awkward as you can imagine but we were all trying to fit in. And on top of that, I had recently had my first kiss and was on cloud nine. So life was exciting, and stressful and anxious and happy and terrifying all at the same time.
Lucky for me, the love of my life was in several of my classes so we got to spend lots of time together. And every weekend I would ride my bike over to her house so that we had even more time together. Life was perfect… well, not quite.
As the school year moved along it became obvious to me that my commitment to academics wasn’t where it should have been. Granted we weren’t that far into the school year yet but hey… somethings are just real obvious… even to someone like me.
Life had gotten pretty crazy. Back in June of this year, my dad and I had taken my grandfather to the hospital, I had moved in with my grandmother to look after her, I had fallen in love, and had gone off to high school… it was all a bit much. But having a girlfriend make a lot of difference.
That was until we got into November. I could tell that something wasn’t quite right but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I couldn’t put my finger on it but for sure, things were changing. It was all very subtle. There wasn’t anything specifically I could point at but I could just sense something. But I wanted to ignore it… to pretend that nothing was changing… that things were still just as wonderful.
We were coming up on the Christmas break. It was Monday, December 16th. Everyone seemed excited about the coming holidays and yet I kinda felt blue. That happens from time to time at the holidays I guess. But in any case, we were sitting in algebra class right after lunch. She sat right behind me and sometimes we would pass notes during class. As class was going along, she tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a note. I didn’t read it right away but eventually I did open it… my heart fell into my stomach. The only thing that was written on the note was a lone word…. it just said “bye”… nothing else. I looked back at her and she just shrugged her shoulders. And that was the end of it.
After class we went our separate ways. I was just numb… at a total loss as to what had happened. This was new territory for me… just like the kiss. The walk home that afternoon was exceptionally long. As I rounded the corner coming up the street to mom and dad’s house, I noticed dad’s car was home. That never happened on a Monday so I thought this was strange. Dad met me at the door and said… “Papa died.”
Yeah, there are those days in everyone’s life… and this one was definitely one for me…. Surely there couldn’t be more days like this, could there?