This post is the second in a series. For now, I'm keeping it to girls I dated for at least two months. Also known as, until the new wears off.
It was the Spring of 1991. My favorite sports teams were in the midst of an incredible hot streak. The Reds had just won the '90 World Series. The Bulls were on their way to winning the first of their six NBA titles. And my Crimson Tide and Dallas Cowboys would soon follow suit in football. Life was good. And about to get much better.
I was at the mall with a couple of friends. In the arcade. Or as I liked to call it back then, my office. That's where I met Shelly. She was with friends as well. And one of her friends, Christy, had evidently come into the arcade with the sole intention of finding and introducing herself to my friend Mark.
While Christy went looking for Mark, Shelly and I started talking. We invited the girls to play putt-putt that night after leaving the mall. And as we sat on the bench by the 18th hole, I asked for Shelly's number.
The next few months we talked. Dated. Made out. A lot. Hung out at the ball fields, which was the cool thing to do then. And when Christy broke up with Mark for one of his best friends, we kept dating.
Shelly was pretty. I always thought so. My friends approved. Which shouldn't matter, but does when you're 18. She was plain and simple. And I mean that in the best possible way. I liked that about her. She had big, dark eyes. And brownish-blonde hair. More blonde than brown.
I fell in love. For the first time in my life. Heels over head. It sounds trite. And you may not think it possible. But I was in love with that girl. As much as an 18-year-old boy can be anyway. She introduced me to Beverly Hills 90210. How could I not love that?
She lived way out in the country. I'm talking two miles out a one-lane dirt road. Many nights that summer were spent on her parents' couch. Or on the front porch swing, looking out at the stars, listening to the crickets. And occasionally seeing the one neighbor who lived past them on that dirt road driving by like the mailman on Funny Farm.
It's amazing how much I've forgotten. And a little sad. There was a trip to Opryland with her church group sometime late that summer. And one night I got overly excited while making out and bit her lip, causing it to swell up and turn purple for three days. Why couldn't that be one of the memories I forget.
We dated the whole summer. Then came the fall. I'm not sure why we broke up, unless it was the lip-biting incident. I remember her acting like something was wrong. And then handing me a letter when I came over one night. What is it with these girls and letters? It said something about getting too serious and being too young.
She had told me a few weeks earlier that her mother had been talking to her and was worried about us getting so serious. So I always figured it had something to do with that. Either way, I was crushed. Shelly was my first broken heart.
Songs that remind me of her include "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams, "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark (don't ask, cause I don't know), and "Then Again" by Alabama. It came on the radio as I drove home from her house that night. That was the first time I remember crying over a girl. Wouldn't be the last.
Nevertheless, when I think back to those days, I remember them with only fondness. And a smile. There was a sense of innocence in that summer, one that seems to get lost too often as we get older. It was young love. Pure, sweet, and simple. Just like her.
Thus went the summer of '91. Kinda like the summer of '42 without the sex. Or the older woman.
I ran into Shelly a few times after that summer. At ball games. At a concert. And most recently, at Wal-Mart two or three years ago, or more.
Not long after she got married, they tore Opryland down.
I loved that place.
"Oh how quick they slip away. Here today and gone tomorrow. Love and seasons never stay. Bitter winds are sure to follow..."