Dear readers, will you indulge me for an entry that has nothing to do with theater?
I recently found something I wrote 8 years ago; something that I rather like and find it to be as true today as it was when I wrote it (except the years listed would have to add 8 to them). The event I was writing about was now 24 years ago, not 16 years ago and I've been married for nearly 17 years now, not nine. But the sentiments are surprisingly unchanged:
A Lunchtime Drive
Earlier today as I drove home for lunch I admired the vibrant strokes of color that had painted the trees and leaves. Squirrels bearing nuts bounded over golden carpets and trees wept red and brown tears against the overcast skies.
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons and it always makes me nostalgic. Today on the drive home it made me think of an autumn night 16 years ago. Two nervous teenagers were returning home from their senior homecoming dance and the young man stood on the young woman’s front porch preparing to bid her goodnight.
It wasn’t exactly their first date. They had spent an afternoon together after a forensics team trip to book stores in Ann Arbor. They’d shopped together at a mall and spent a few hours in a video arcade, shared a Toblerone bar, and gone out to eat at a Coney dog restaurant. When the teenage boy had taken the girl home that night, he’d pointed out that it wasn’t exactly a date, and so he wasn’t sure if he should ask for a good-night kiss. She, somewhat flustered, demurred and suggested she just give him a hug instead.
But the homecoming dance was definitely a date. She was decked out in a sequin-covered, 80s-style black dress and he looked especially sharp in a thin gray tie and matching suit coat and pants. The October evening was brisk, but not cold yet, much like today’s weather. He gave a smile that she would soon become addicted to, and said, “Now I know it’s appropriate this time to ask you for a kiss goodnight.” She blushed, agreed, and they exchanged what would now be considered a rather chaste kiss goodnight.
Later he would learn that he’d just given that 17-year-old girl her “first kiss” and their dating relationship would be rather tumultuous over the next couple years. After all, these two were yet children as much as they might have wanted to think otherwise. They had yet to learn that love is more than an emotion. They had yet to learn that passion is only one part of a successful relationship. It would be years before they would discover that love has only begun to grow once the initial excitement and ardor wears off. They would have relationships with other people before they would learn that a marriage is made of something stronger than a fluttering heart.
But my drive home for lunch today was rather short, giving me time to think just about this one enchanted fall evening so many years ago—not the painful lessons that those two would later learn from each other.
I walked into my house to be greeted enthusiastically by my blond imp of a son who quickly filled my ears with giggles. I then turned to his dad—my husband of nine years—and greeted him with a kiss. How sweet to discover that his kiss is as dear today as it was on that brisk October evening 16 years ago.