Monday, June 16, 2008

Half A Dozen Roses

When I was 16 years old I dated for the second time. That is, if you could call it dating. I would see James around school and I thought he was cute. At private school we all had a dress code and James always looked smart. He wore a jacket and tie, along with the rest of the boys. I never said a word to him, but I was cheeky and made sure to catch his eye every chance I got.

I made sure to laugh extra loud around my girlfriends, flip my hair and then look his way. He didn't catch on, and that annoyed me.

That is until we had our spring dance. My hair was short and curled, and I wore a long floral dress. It was a twirly dress and I felt like a princess who was on a mission. My mission...get that boy to notice me if it's the last thing I do. Mind you I had never said two words to him. I had no idea what kind of person he was, but at sixteen, I didn't think about that kind of stuff. He was cute and that was all that mattered at the time.

As the night progressed I became more and more frustrated because my attempts at getting his attention were all for naught. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore. So I marched right over to him and asked him if he wanted to dance. He looked at me with a blank face and flatly said "No".

I was mortified and furious. How could he not want to dance with me? I wore my best dress! I curled my hair! I was prettier than he was handsome! How dare he say no.
Little did I know it, but even though I got shot down for my bold move, he finally noticed me.

After that, whenever I saw him at school he started making a point of saying hello to me. I decided to forgive his rudeness and let him fall all over himself to win me over.

Eventually we started dating. But I was a foolish sixteen year old and learned the hard way that looks aren't everything. He turned out to be a very sappy boyfriend and a lousy kisser. I remember hanging out by our lockers as we waited for the bus and he leaned in expecting me to pucker up, but instead I turned to give him my cheek. I found myself cringing inside whenever we would hang out. So, I started plotting ways to break up with him. He on the other hand was oblivious to my coolness. Inside my conscience was starting to get the better of me. This was all my fault. If I hadn't been so rash and gotten to know the guy, I would have learned he wasn't my type. (As if at sixteen you could have a "type".)

Then one day he did the unthinkable. As we were getting ready to leave school he said "Did you get it yet?" "Get what?" I said. "Oh, I guess you didn't get it...don't worry you will soon." He said with a great big dumb grin. My stomach churned. I didn't want anything from him. I wanted to break up with him! And now I felt like I was getting in over my head.

I sat on the school bus wondering what in the world he got for me. When I got home my mother was all smiles. "Guess what?" She said brightly. "You've had some flowers delivered today!" "What?" I said. "Yes, look here." And she led me to the kitchen and there in a box lay six of the most beautiful long stem red roses I had ever seen, along with a note from James. I don't remember what the note said, but I do remember that it used the word "Love". I immediately burst into dramatic tears. "Oh, I don't want them!" I wailed. I was Little Miss Drama Queen to the max. "I can't believe he did that! What is wrong with this guy?!"

My little sister who was looking on was totally perplexed. She was in Middle School at the time and was elated for me that her cool big sister got flowers from a boy. I will never forget my mother and sister looking so happy for me one moment and completely clueless the next. I was so upset, I didn't want to touch those pretty flowers. I didn't even want to look at them. I ran out of the kitchen crying and headed for my bedroom.

After I composed myself, I called him and awkwardly thanked him. He was very proud of himself which made me feel so guilty inside. I told myself that I had to hang on. I couldn't just cut this guy loose after such a thoughtful and tender display of affection.... I held on for a week.

Thankfully, it was the very end of the school year and James was moving back to Michigan, or Illinois or someplace like that and we would have had to break it off anyway.

I've received flowers from guys since then, but never received them by mail, like that again. But this is what I will do, should I ever find them at my door step some day. I will pick them up, close my eyes, smell them deeply and then I will say to my grown-up self, "Chill out."

12 comments:

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Oh my, I remember my first set of delivered flowers. I was sixteen too, but I wound up marrying the guy that sent them several years later. He actually sent them to school and they were delivered right to the lunch room. I was in private school too, so boy, did that grab everyone's attention! But they knew I was "dating" so, it blew over pretty quick. I'm not very sentimental about stuff, (I've kept a handful of items in my lifetime) but I still have the little tin the flowers were delivered in after all these years.

I hope that someday you are sent flowers from a man whom you love very much...

My first wedding anniversary with Jim, (1995), he sent me flowers from Hawaii, where we honeymooned :) Just last year I got some more Hawaian flowers (it did take a little reminder about how much I LOVED the first batch!)

Colleen said...

Susan- Well, my Pop always sends me flowers, so I guess that counts. =) But having flowers sent to you in the lunchroom at 16, now that's pretty cool.

~**Dawn**~ said...

Two things.

One: I don't think I ever got flowers from someone "just because". I have gotten them for my birthday. And holidays. And because "he" messed up. But never "just because". (Of course, we won't say I have the best track record picking guys either but that's a horse of a whole different color.)

Two: I do not think boys ever stop being clueless. Like ever. I think that Y-chromosome blocks those synapses in the brain or something.

Colleen said...

Dawn- Um, considering there are at least *some* guys that I know personally who read this from time to time, I think it best for me to just say 'No Comment'! =)

June 17, 2008 11:55 AM

Andrea's Adventures said...

I can smell high-school hallways as I read this... a place I don't often visit, thanks for bringin' it back. My 16 year old self wants to say, "cool, you dated one of the hot guys at school." Then I grow up a few years and think, "I'm sure you were a huge learning curve for James...." Would you say that your less-dramatic self actually finds humor in awkward displays of affection now?!

david mcmahon said...

You are a wonderful writer. Truly.

Hilary said...

That was so beautifully written. The emotion came across so well.

Lehners in France said...

Sixteen is a terrible age, and the nicer the guys are to you the less you respect them. I had a lovely boyfriend and I used to go to great lengths to cause a break up. Very well written. Debs x.
P.S. Here via David

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

I'm arrived through David's Post of the Day. Well worth the cyber-trip. A well-written remembrance. I was 19 and in college when I received my first flower from a boy, and it was on the occasion of a formal dance, so it almost didn't count. I didn't receive man-sent flowers again until my second husband sent seven yellow roses for our 7th anniversary. It took him that long to remember that I loved yellow roses! LOL
Thanks for sharing your story.

CrazyCath said...

What a mesmerising way you write. You have me captivated and I feel your teenage angst as I remember mine. Excellent stuff.

Over from David's. Congrats on POTD - well deserved.

SuperCoolMom said...

So funny! It's amazing how quickly a bad kisser can drive you away!

David sent me.

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