Something New

Amazingly, my mother allowed me to drive out to see some of my camp girlfriends that fall.  We lived in a triangle, the three of us, with my location being the most distant from the two of them.  Lori lived about an hour southwest of Kristen, and she lived about three hours west of me.   We devised a plan where we would all meet up at Kristen’s place, which was large and comfortable for all of us.  I still can’t believe that my mother was OK with this.  I drove out on a Friday afternoon, on I 94, through the city, and then broke west past the airport.

My newly minted driver’s license not eight weeks old in my hot little hands.  I took an atlas with me (obviously there were no GPS gadgets, nor was there even Mapquest to consult) and the basic directions my girlfriends had sent me.  I got to Kristen’s place around dinner time.

We spent the weekend having fun, enjoying late night joy rides on roads more deserted than anything I’d encountered in my corner of suburbia, shopping for snacks in impossibly small grocery stores and just catching up.   I shared with them my little secret plan that even my mother didn’t know about.

Not long after I realized that I wasn’t going to marry Rick Springfield after all (I am mostly joking here), I started hearing more and more from Ray, the boy I’d met at camp.  We’d been talkin on the phone sometimes, and sent a few paper letters in the mail.  It’s hard to even imagine that distance these days being an issue (since now he lives six time zones away and I can communicate face to face via Skype), but in those days, a hundred miles was a big deal.

Kristen’s place was about an hour south of Ray.  I figured I could simply “stop by” his place on my way home.  It was completely out of the way, as a matter of fact, but I couldn’t even imagine being so close to where he was and not trying to see him.  The girls loved the deviousness of my plan, but warned me to be careful in the presence of the player that we all knew he was.

I was really starting to like Ray.  The phone conversations and snail mails were showing me who he was besides the player; a serious boy who loved music and singing; who loved his family; who struggled academically.  I wanted to help him.  I wanted to help him be the person who I was starting to get to know all of the time.  So I literally tingled with anticipation as I drove north towards the western outskirts of Lansing.

We spent just a few hours together.  I met his parents, who didn’t seem the least bit fazed that a girl from such a distant location was coming to see their son.  They were friendly and offered me dinner but also kept their distance as Ray and I talked about this and that, my weekend and his upcoming play at school.  We agreed that I would come back in a few weeks to see the play.  I wasn’t sure how my mother would take me driving to spend the weekend at some boy’s house, but his parents were all for it, and promised to talk to my mother about it so that no one would think any “funny business” was going on.

And just like that, I was in.  I was involved.   I was, for lack of a better word, dating this boy that lived a hundred miles away from me.  As he kissed me before I drove off, literally into the sunset, I knew this was not going to be like the last boy I’d met from camp and dated.  I’d never felt this overwhelming sense of emotion with Jeff.  Hadn’t felt that intense urge to keep kissing until the end of time, the push from somewhere deep inside me to move closer, closer.  No, this was different.

This was going to be very, very different.

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