I leaned over in my 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle to give her a hug goodnight… I would never be able to regain my innocence after what happened instead.
I never really had a ‘girlfriend’ of any substance until my senior year in high school. The only thing that came close before that was a girl named Jennifer. She was the daughter of some family friends. She was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen but I resorted to the fact that she didn’t really like me so I never assumed anything would happen. We were also about twelve or thirteen years old so we had more important things to do… Like swinging garden snakes around and flinging them in the woods. If I had a hunch that she liked me back then maybe things would have been a bit different. Meh, anyways.
I started working at Papa Murphy’s when I was seventeen or so. It was a strange new world for me. Pretty girls, crazy new friends and not a clue about what was really going on around me. I remember one girl who loved to come in towards closing and show off the fact that she never wore panties with a short skirt. It wasn’t for me though, it was for the owners brother. Maybe the owner too. Hell, maybe it was for any guy that would pay attention to her. I personally thought it was a bit of a turn off when she would… Actually, never mind that part of the story…
There was Sabrina, the girl I took to the Space Needle for homecoming. Later that night she wanted me to take her home because she was ‘tired.’ Even later that night she was spotted with a group of people out in town. Apparently I wasn’t a cool guy like that. Oh well, time eventually took its toll on her body. Then there was Krista, who I secretly had a crush on for the longest time but I pretty much put myself in the friend zone. Not sure if I was wrong or not on that one.
There’s plenty more people and stories from this particular time in my life, but one person in particular stole my heart. We were ‘friends’ pretty much the whole time. She had more of a grown up life than any of the rest of us in the group. We could talk about any of our issues without any reservations. She’d have guy problems or maybe I’d have (lack of) girl problems. Everything was cool. We meshed together in a way that even to this day I don’t fully understand.
As our friendship progressed in those last few years of high school, I learned more about what kind of person I was, and what kind of person I should have been. Richelle turned my world upside down. I destroyed it.
I was becoming enamored with the social atmosphere I found myself in and lost touch with the feelings of others. I was young, dumb and full of you know what.
After the robbery at Papa Murphy’s, I felt a coarse sense of connection with her. All the emotions running through my head didn’t help one bit to figure out what I was truly feeling. Part of me felt like a coward by running out of the store while she was still tied up. I really did it because it was the only option I had left. If it were part of my written story I’m not sure if it would be a beginning or ending of a chapter.
I took Richelle to my high school prom. I was pretty proud of the night that was set up. We took a limo to the Tacoma waterfront to eat at Shenanigan’s while a float plane waited out on the dock to take us back to Port Orchard. A bit over the top but what the hell right? She told me she was pretty nervous for the entire flight so not much conversation filled the cabin with us during that trip.
More importantly, she looked absolutely stunning that night. In fact every dance we attended together she commanded all my attention whether she knew it or not. I was still green with the whole ‘girl’ thing and even though we kissed before, I was still out of my league being with her so I never tried to push anything farther.
The night of my graduation party is a night that I’ll never forget. Richelle and I became closer than I ever imagined and I knew at that point she would be the one I live for. Until I went upstairs and went to sleep in my bed where another girl was sleeping. For the record, no sex was involved at either location. It was a night of semi-excessive drinking and the reason for the trip to my room is still unclear to me. When I awoke the next morning… Shit hit the fan… In comes Dave’s downward spiral. I don’t like to give any credit to myself saying I broke her heart, but given the reaction I think I did far worse than that.
I ruined a chance to create something great. I was in love with Richelle but my stupid ego and self-centered pride got in the way and prevented any hope from coming through my muddled life.
Richelle has a personality that is undeniably wonderful. She’s insightful to everything going on around her and has a way of making you feel inspired to be more than you ever imagined. She speaks her mind without being offensive and is the kind of woman that you can’t really win an argument against.
I wish I could have been a bigger part in her life in the past many years. She’s is happily married to her wife Gab and though current times are a little rough, she shines through as one of the few bright spots in my life. She is prevailing over adversity without even batting an eye and if I can approach life even to a small degree as how she does, I know I’ll be just fine.
I will always love her for so many reasons. She poked and prodded me out of my shell and maybe without fully knowing it, made me want to be a much better man than I’ve ever been. Of course, I can never forget that first kiss in the purple bug…