I am mostly a Facebook failure, because I almost NEVER post anything, and only rarely do I get on there to see what everyone else is up to. I figure if I have to read it on the computer, we aren't that close to begin with.
I did get on there today, though, for the purpose of sending a message to the cousin who is in charge of this year's Nash Bash (that's what we call our family reunion, for the uninitiated). I noticed a message there that my BFF from high school, Jason, had posted on Valentine's Day.
What? I missed a message from that long ago? I would have thought I would get one of those emails telling me I had a message or something. Oh well.
Jason's message said it reminded him of a certain Sweetheart Ball and his first true sweetheart. (That part made me smile in a sort of teary-eyed way, since I had become convinced that he never wanted to hear from me again.)
When we were in high school, the Future Farmers of America sponsored a Sweetheart Ball every year. In our ninth grade year, the first year Jason went to our school, the event fell on Valentine's Day. Jason asked me to go, and I can picture the dress I wore just as clearly as if it were yesterday. I think some combination of Katydid and/or our mother made the dress, because they were both uber-talented that way. They didn't pass that talent down to me. Buttheads.
Another event also coincided with the Sweetheart Ball and Valentine's Day that year, and it never occurred to me to change the appointment. That was the day I got my braces. Not the cool ones that young people sport today, the glue on plastic kind with coordinating rubber bands and arch wires. No, these were the metal bands that had to be put on already-sore teeth with a demon of a device known as a "thumper." They provided the impetus for wonderful nicknames like Metal Mouth. Tin Grin. Railroad Tracks.
And because you had to wear spacers between your teeth for about a week before they put the bands on to make room for them, your teeth were incredibly sore.
It was customary for couples to go out to dinner before important dances like the Sweetheart Ball, but we were low on both cash and the need for a lot of drama. It was way before the days of thousand-dollar expenses rolled up by new dresses, limos, private party rooms, expensive flowers, professional photographs (although there was a photographer at the Sweetheart Ball, and I wish I could find that picture), and classy dinners at places where teenagers are bound to be outclassed. Even if they don't know it.
So Jason and I (and my friend Carol and her date...Ted?) went to Arby's for dinner. Yes, the roast beef sandwich place. And my teeth were so sore that it was impossible for me to eat anything. I was starving, but I couldn't eat. So Jason tore my roast beef sandwich up into bites that I could manage. (The back teeth weren't as painful as the front ones.)
Sometime in the course of that evening Jason told me he loved me. I remember thinking at the time that he was only saying it because he thought he was supposed to.
I didn't realize it would be for life.