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The One That Got Away.

Isn’t there always “the one that got away”?

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

I’ve been sitting on my senior prom story for so long because I thought it needed photos. So I turned it from draft to published back to draft again. Then I wrote a sequel. Then I found the photos!! And then I realized I could turn it from draft to published to draft to published, for Finish the Sentence Friday, and because it needs to be written already! You know what?

It’s time.

The story spans several years, which is why my hair length goes up and down, up and down. Know this: My hair grows fast. It’s all the vitamins, I think. My heart grows fast too, but rarely. It’s like porcelain most of the time. Maybe that’s all the vitamins too. My heart beats fast. I work fast, I write fast, I walk fast, I think fast, and I am fast. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore. Fast. Vitamins. My senior prom story. It starts.. with a kiss. A beautiful, perfect kiss.

No, wait. It starts with a bookstore. No kisses. Not yet, anyway.

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

I was this old, with this hair. I was 15, going on 16, “innocent as a rose.” No, really.

My partner-in-crime was Sheila. My love life was non-existent except for wild fantasies in my head – mostly about Tim Curry (in Rocky Horror and beyond) and this senior guy, Tim, who never really liked me in that way but we kissed a few times on the school playground after dark. He drove a green Neon and we cuddled under a blanket and watched the whole Friday the 13th series together and when I shuffled sheepishly back into the house at 3:00am after hanging out with him, I gave the rest of my siblings (and me) a curfew. My mom asked what we were doing and was appalled at the fact that her 14-year-old was hanging out with a guy who could drive – in his house – but if she was looking for signs of naughtiness, drugs, and drink, she was looking at the wrong kid. We really were watching Friday the 13th. Why am I even telling you this?

It’s because I was innocent as a rose. No, really.


Flash forward again to a year or so later. 15 going on 16. A rose. Sheila and I were at Barnes & Noble, no doubt looking at books and guys. Suddenly, my dream guy walked by. I mean it. All heavy lids, big eyes, and longish wavy hair. He was wearing a flannel shirt and he looked at me and grinned and said, “Excuse-umms!” Sheila and I looked at each other. “Did he just say ‘Excuse-umms!?'” “Yes, yes he did.” I peered around the magazine display and tried to sneak a peek. From the other side, he peered around the magazine display and sneaked a peek at us. This went on. We went by the free coffee machine and he joined us with three friends. FOUR BOYS. I was gobsmacked. Especially since one put eight sugars in his coffee. Another one was named Dorian. My dream guy? Ryan. We talked and laughed for minutes. Or hours. Years?

I gave one of them my number. It was to be shared by all four. I wasn’t picky (just kidding)

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

Dorian called me first. Then Ryan. They went to another school, and since we couldn’t drive yet, it really felt so distant and frustrating. I don’t remember Dorian as well, but I think we had great conversations. Ryan and I had something big in common – losing our fathers suddenly as children. Mine was a heart attack and his was something really troubling – like going out to a convenience store during a robbery and being shot in the head. There’s a certain sort of pain we both held, and I loved talking to him for hours. Several months after we started talking, one of them got a license and they drove to Sheila’s house to see us. I couldn’t believe he was sitting in front of me, as cute as ever. We sat on a neighbor’s trampoline and he could make himself cry on command, and we just laughed and talked for hours. I was painfully young and awkward.

This photo (below) isn’t him. We’ll get there.

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

It was intoxicating and exotic. I had only ever kissed a boy (with tongue) a few times. Maybe a few hundred. I was a regular middle school Juliet, although lord knows why. ANYWAY, I had never really liked it! Late bloomer. Well, early bloomer as a middle school Juliet, but when it came to things like.. kisses, more than kisses, and real relationships, that was nowhere on my radar. Like on this trampoline, with my dream guy, and my heart beating fast. The sun was setting, the emotions were rising, and it was time for one of these dream boats to drive me home. Maybe it was Dorian, or one of the other two whose names escaped me long ago. They drove me home. I remember none of the drive! When we got to my house, on top of a mountain, just like Juliet on top of her tower, Ryan got out to walk me to the front door.

Oh, happy day and happy night!

He was two years older, remember, (still is) so senior prom and graduation were on his plate. I asked him a bit about that. It was a Monday night. A school night. He turned around to go back to the car and then turned around again. “Hey.. what are you doing on Friday night?” “This Friday night, like five days from now?” “Yes, this Friday night.” “Dunno.” Then he said the eight single most romantic words in the English language. You may need to use them one day:

“Do you want to go.. to my prom?” And I was all:

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

So I said yes. Only, it was with four days’ notice and there wasn’t a dress to be found! I wanted to WOW, and wouldn’t get the chance! Also, I’m fairly sure the nerves during these four days dipped me under 90 pounds. And I wasn’t much over 90 pounds to begin with, at 5′ 6″. His prom was at a beautiful, fancy place and he didn’t seem to mind or notice my awkwardness and my nerves. He seemed proud to introduce me to friends and we danced to his prom song: “Because You Loved Me,” by Celine Dion. Then, the prom was over and all of the graduates were headed down the shore. That’s Jersey-speak for “headed to the beach towns.” He was going, but I wasn’t.

I had found a modest white shift dress with stars on it. Maybe you can see them?

white prom dress

He had to get me home first, and then he’d join his friends. I barely remember the ride from the prom to my house, and I remember nearly everything. My heart was pounding in my chest. We got to my doorstep and I didn’t know WHERE my parents were, but they were nowhere to be seen. So then he pulled me closer and kissed me, like I had never been kissed. And it was AMAZING! It was nothing like the experimental kisses I had had in middle school that struck me as slimy. This was real fireworks. I’m fairly certain he even swept me off my feet, or at least one foot. I was totally gone with the wind. He said goodbye and to call him, and he was gone.

Just gone. Gone to the beach and summer and college and his life. I never called.

He didn’t either! I built up this whole fantasy in my head that we were soulmates. And maybe we were, in a way. That kiss. Wow. Now I knew what it was to kiss someone you were crazy about, and also for it to be age-appropriate. He was the same age as my sister and they both went to college that fall, at the same place! Rutgers is a big place, though. Still, my sister would see him out at parties. I don’t even remember if they had met, but she had at least seen a picture of him.

I only had one. Lucky you! I found it:

She got his phone number for me! I didn’t call. Still. He had mine and I had his but we never called, thinking the other wasn’t interested. I guess? Life went on but I knew in my heart of hearts that Ryan and I were magically in love and would get married one day. On the occasional weekend, I’d visit Lindsay at college. We’d go to parties and boys would get a kick out of me, but she’d always say to them, “She’s in high school!” There was one in particular. Michael. He was running for some political office and was sober like I was. I was dressed as Supergirl because it was Halloween weekend. I was talking to Michael and turned around and saw Ryan. We were both gobsmacked to see each other and we couldn’t stop hugging and talking. He was drunk and I was drunk on marveling at the fact that in this great big world, we found each other.

We got lost from each other at that party, but I had enough brain fuel for a lifetime.

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

My fantasy that we were magical soulmates didn’t waver. Even when I’m pretty sure I didn’t see him for well over a year after that. We really just had that one kiss and a lot of long, soulful conversations in high school, and then that one time at a party in college! About a year and a half later, when I was a senior in high school and he was a sophomore in college, my senior prom was looming. There was really no one in my school that caught my eye at that point, or at least who wasn’t taken. I had the dream dress, after a road trip with my mom to Jessica McClintock. I had this theory that the dress came first, because you had to wear it, and you didn’t have to wear your date. Although, you COULD, and no judgements here. Wasn’t my path..

The one that got away. I'm linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another challenging prompt. This week's topic is: In high school.. Link up!

So I did what every practical girl does, when they have the princess dress and the big dream, but no date. I went for the unattainable. I asked my sister to somehow track Ryan down and get his phone number. Like I said, Rutgers is no small school, but somehow she did it. I had this whole idea in my head that I’d call him and get his roommate and I’d say to the roommate, “Hey, how are you at taking messages?” And I’d have my witty chill on, even though I hadn’t talked to him in nearly two years. The only kicker in this plan, other than the fact that it was all insane, is that I didn’t have the guts. So I did what every practical girl does, and I left it up to destiny. I was at a younger friend’s Sweet 16 that May and I was in charge of driving a few girls back home.

I told them the story, and they were squealing from the romance of it, while we were driving around a pretty gnarly bend in the Poconos Mountains. I chose that gnarly moment to say, “Let’s ask the Radio Gods what they think.” “Should I call Ryan?” I asked into the Pocono Mountains, no radio reception, I believe in magic, abyss. And then, it happened. With witnesses. We heard just the tiny snippet of one song on the first radio station I chose. I could only hear a few notes before it cut out completely. And YES, it was the prom song from Ryan’s prom two years earlier.

It wasn’t a hit song anymore. Hearing it was fate!

So I called him, of course. Maybe the next day or maybe a week later. I got his roommate, of course, and I did ask him how he was at taking messages, although my voice was shaking when I said it. Ryan called me back, after two years of a real conversation, and I said, “Hey, what are you doing next Friday? Want to go to.. my prom?” And he did. Maybe he was taken aback and maybe had to check plans first, but he said yes, and that he even had a tux in my favorite color family (of reds and maroons). So that was magic enough for me. The prom itself was full of nerves and feels, and a stomachache from not eating. This story was never about that anyway. It was about a girl with a dream. A strange dream, I’ll give you that. And maybe one day I’ll tell you more about it, but it’s not the story for today, and it’s not even that important to tell anyway.

This is my prequel, if you will, of the majorly romantic girl I am, princess dress or not.

Jessica McClintock prom dress

In high school, I believed in big love and big magic, and that set the stage for a full life of it, which has and may leave me scattered. I’m ok with that. In high school, that was only the start and I still have so much magic to experience. Now I like my love to be real life and with the right person, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t so far lived a life of throwing caution to the wind around the bend, and talking to the Radio Gods. I wrote it in 20 parts. Highs, lows, and creamy middles.

Maybe you get it too.

I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday (FTSF) for another fun and challenging prompt. This week’s topic is “In high school..” And there’s time to write yours. Link up your post HERE.

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  1. Loved reading this – I so want photos of these guys LOL! On man, if I were out until 3:00am my mom would have killed me. She was really strict about that stuff. I love how you all gathered at B & N. Things are so different now with the apps. Have a great weekend!

    1. haha, well I only have one of Ryan! Not Dorian and the other two whose names escaped me long ago!
      My mom honestly couldn’t believe I did it. She still loves to tell that story! My curfew was 1:00am in high school.

  2. Aw, I loved the flashback of sorts and not going to lie but you brought me back to high school just a bit for myself, as well reading. Definitely feels like a lifetime ago, but still close my eyes and like that am back there. I think we would have been great friends even back then though, as well, just from reading your tales. Happy Weekend, my friend!! <3

  3. I can completely picture 15 year old Tamara, but I love seeing the photos of you, you innocent rose. Ah, prom. So much made of one night. You know, prom has now become Prom, with no “the.” Wanna go to Prom?

    Don’t even get me started on Promposals!

    1. ha, I’ve heard the term. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when my kids go to prom in ten years or so! I can’t believe it’s not “the prom” anymore!! Sob.

  4. Wow, cool! I don’t think an older guy was ever interested me. Unless you count my husband. Technically he’s a month older.

    1. ha! Yes, that counts. Cassidy is eight years older than me, but people usually can’t tell. I’m not sure if that means he looks young or I look old. Or both!

  5. Love this. Getting to know other bloggers, their lives, their past, how they do things. It’s the best thing ever. And I love how you write, it flows and moves, and makes me feel like I’m there too. Can’t wait to read the next chapter, you never seem to age, you look just like you. LOL

  6. I am totally excited to see the prom photos! I had such a boring high school life. I totally would have been at home working on my car to make sure it got to the “A” zone. Sigh… your life is much more interesting:)

    1. If I just followed all your photo organization tips before I “met” you, this wouldn’t be a problem! I do think I can find them, though. I need to!!

  7. Okay wait, I could swear I commented last night??? I want to hear more of the story!!! That you don’t remember names (love) the innocence on a trampoline, the whole short long short long hair… I was a late bloomer too.

      1. Aw! What a perfect post to linkup this week! You are adorable. I bet Ryan still thinks about you. I wonder what happened to the boys I liked in high school. I’m friends with a few on Facebook – life’s so different now with social media and not having to track somebody down for a phone number!

  8. I can’t believe you got away with that, Tamara! Nice swap—an A for the car. I would totally do it, too. The pics of you are lovely! Looking forward to seeing and reading more.

    1. He was such a cool teacher. I still use funny quotes he said. He couldn’t hear well, after the war, and he used to say to us, “I can see your lips moving but I can’t hear a sound!” But he did it in a funny way. It’s hard to recreate.

  9. Pretty Tamara! A Senior? Oh, High School. I’m going through it now with my teen, it’s good, but wow does it bring back all of the feels of being that age. I am so past it, but I’m still there in so many ways. If that makes sense?

    1. Thank you! I felt SO awkward and impossible back then.
      I totally get it – everything my kids go through.. sort of take me back to my own experiences at their ages.

  10. ACK!!! I WANT PICTURES of it ALL!! I’m picturing you on the trampoline, and you sitting on the couch watching Friday the 13th movies til dawn, and your innocence and beauty and dreamy ideas of love and Juliet kisses!

    1. I am totally looking for the photos! The basement is so cold and I want Cassidy to do it but I don’t know how to say, “Go find photos of my ex, please” easily. He would, though!

  11. Gimme the pics!!! haha. I can’t even begin to tell what I got away with because… well, I’ve gotten away with it and I ain’t tellin nothin’ now!! LOL
    I often wonder if I should share some of my early life adventures on my blog. Dust off the mom vibes a wee bit and harken back to the time I was riddled with wanderlust and seeking adventure and kissing magicians from England on a park bench. I mean.. he taught me to breathe fire!! How can ya not kiss a man after that. Plus, British accents amiright? 😉

    1. I am totally looking for the photos! I swear.. I intend to, at least. The basement is so cold and I want Cassidy to do it but I don’t know how to say, “Go find photos of my ex, please” easily. He would, though!
      Dude.. your stories. I would PAY for them.

  12. Oh, I hope you find the photos. You totally brought me back to those early teen days – and all the feels that could be felt when a cute boy glanced my way!

  13. I got away with very little, but what i DID get away with was a pretty big deal. Not sure if I’m ready to confess on the internets though 🙂 Looking forward to part two!

    1. I’m the worst, Kenya! I still haven’t completed this story. I don’t know if it will be one or two more posts. It’s just nutty and I want to do it justice!

  14. Believe it or not…I went to the prom with a girl. We weren’t lesbians (at the time), just best friends. But this reminded me all of my shy awkward high school years so much. I’m so glad they’re over…

  15. You found the photos! LOVE this and I kind of think you could write a screenplay about this…just sayin’. Thanks for sharing the photos with us and loved the music too! Life was good in high school…..

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