Originally posted December 5, 2009:
Yesterday, at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, jb recommended to his readers some posts at other blogs. One of jb’s recommendations was Thursday’s post here, “Complications With Fries On The Side.” He wrote: “whiteray remembers a vanished gas station/diner, but leaves an even better story hanging.”
Well, I guess I did. I ended the memoir portion of that post like this:
“Then there was the evening in early December 1970, during my senior year of high school. The St. Cloud Tech High School choirs had performed in concert, and a young lady and I were going to double up with another couple for burgers and fries at Townsedge. For some reason, the other guy had to cancel, so there were only three of us, my date and me on one side of the booth and the other young lady sitting across from us.
“I dropped a quarter into the jukebox terminal in our booth. I have no idea what I played, but one of the other young folks elsewhere in the café had cued up the week’s No. 1 record, and that’s what we heard first. My date sang along for a few moments with the Partridge Family’s ‘I Think I Love You.’ We all laughed, and I realized that my life right then was about as complicated as it had ever been. None of us mentioned it, but all three of us – my date, the other young lady and I – knew that if I’d had my druthers, I’d have been sitting on the other side of the booth, next to the gal whose boyfriend hadn’t been able to join us.
“Then the waitress brought us our burgers and fries, and life moved on.”
And I thought that this morning I would unhang that story just a little. There’s not a lot to tell, really. The outlines will be familiar to anyone who’s been through that difficult time of life we call adolescence: Senior boy meets sophomore girl. Girl already has boyfriend. Boy says, I would be better for you. Girl says, maybe, and thinks about it. Boy dreams. Girl says, sorry but no. Boy writes bad poetry.
It wasn’t the first time I’d wanted what turned out to be unattainable. I’d been practicing to be Don Quixote since seventh grade, at least. The difference with this young lady was that she was not entirely unattainable; she liked me enough that she considered changing her life. To be taken that seriously and regarded that well was a new thing for me. As the school year spun out, my Dulcinea wavered from time to time, but she never did move from where she stood. And – as I indicated in Thursday’s post – I dated others, but I never found enough attractions to permanently divert my vision.
We were all young, of course, and much of the tale I’m telling was spun out back then with quick glances in the hallway, messages sent through intermediaries and notes left in lockers. The notes I left for her – I wrote everything in purple ink that year, so there was never a need to sign my name – were frequently song lyrics, which said so well the things I wanted her to know.
There were some heartfelt face-to-face conversations. One of them took place in December when I spent an evening at her home. I brought along a Beatles LP, and she recognized one of the songs from one of the notes I’d dropped in her locker. Another serious conversation took place as spring approached; a day later, I closed my efforts to change her heart by leaving her, as a kind of benediction, the lyrics to another Beatles song.
I graduated that spring and went off to college and the life that waited for me there. She and her boyfriend did the same, and I saw them occasionally. I wished them well as they moved on and eventually got married; the last time I talked to her, they were happy. As for me, I took the long path that led me eventually to my Texas Gal.
So how interesting a story did that turn out to be? For readers, I’m not sure. It was, after all, just your basic high school hallway drama. For me, it was more than that, of course. It was my life, and if I didn’t get what I wanted, at least I learned a little bit better how one deals with that. And that’s a good thing to learn.
The two Beatles songs that framed our story? They’re today’s Saturday Singles.
“Got To Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles, from Revolver 
“I Will” by the Beatles, from The Beatles