Fifty-four years ago, after a movie at the Eureka Theater, I became, for the first time in my life, somebody’s special someone. Since this was March in the Pacific Northwest, it’s likely we were obscured in thick fog, but in my memory there was a night sky brilliant with stars as we held each other and he asked me to wear his ring. The ring was borrowed and cheap tin, but that was then, and is now, of no importance whatsoever. As a symbol it worked just fine. I don’t remember the movie we had just seen. I know we were making our way back to his parent’s house and from there I would have either walked another twenty blocks to my parent’s home, or I may have called my dad for a ride. Neither of us had a car. None of that matters. I was fifteen. That seems unbelievable. But that has to be correct because seven months later, on my sixteenth birthday, we became engaged.
This rush to commitment wasn’t about sex.
Well, of course, it was about sex. We were teenagers. And we were good kids, both of us fulfilling an emotional need in the other, and both of us well indoctrinated. He was Catholic. It’s-a-sin-to-sleep-with-your-hands-under-the-covers Catholic. My mom explained sex to me by revealing that it was the most extraordinarily wonderful experience in the world. And if I did it before I was married, it would kill my father.
The first time this boyfriend slipped his hand under my bra, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Afterward, when I had caught my breath, I rushed home to make sure Dad was still breathing. I was relieved to find that my going to first base hadn’t killed either of my parents.
But I digress.
Back to the importance of today’s date.
Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of important anniversary dates, but this one, March 5th, is the one that is the most real to me. The first time another human being declared that I was the most special person in their life.
In just over seven months, I’ll be seventy years old, and once again, I find myself single. Widowed – a status which carries its own expectations. I miss having someone to nurture and spoil, and I miss being the one person who makes someone else light up when I walk in a room. Though one should never say never, I have no desire to be married again, but I could really go for a cake and a honeymoon. And a smile when I walk in the room.