Thursday, July 15, 2004

PART 10 - The Miracle

Carefully mentally flipping through my inner soundtrack to find the song that captures today's post. I think this is as good a choice as any:

Miracles - Jefferson Starship

If only you believe like I believe
We'd get by
If only you believe in miracles
So would I

Love is a magic word
Few ever find in a lifetime
But from that very first look in your eyes
I knew you and I had but one heart
Only our bodies were apart

I can't even believe it, with you
It's like having every dream I ever wanted come true
I picked up your vibes, you know it opened my eyes
But I'm still dreaming
And you're right where I found ya
I put my arms around ya.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The week that followed the Rink Romance night, I was in a fog. A beautiful, dreamy, romantic, fantasy-filled fog. I daydreamed about how he and I would see each other again Monday night, and fall deeply and madly in love. It was a fabulous week. It was Thursday by the time I realized that I hadn't looked for or even thought about Jack once that week. Amazing.

Sister and GB were at the University of Georgia by this time, and they had invited me to spend my spring break in Athens, which sounded like a blast. My break was fast approaching, and when I wasn't daydreaming, I was busy packing and planning my little trip. I had it all planned out . . . I would go back to the rink on Monday, find my man, spend a wonderful evening with him, and give him my phone number so that he could call me after I got back from spring break. Pure brilliance. Almost.

That weekend, I worked at the Miracle Theater, and the manager said that the home office had decided to close the theater for good. Everyone had 2 weeks notice. I was a little sad, but I figured that I would find something else to do when I got back from spring break. I walked out that evening, and told everyone goodbye. In a way, it was a relief to not have to worry about work. Besides, nothing could kill my buzz . . . I was high on love and looking forward to a week away at a party college!

Monday moved in slow motion for me. I watched the clock like a hawk, ticking away the minutes until I could see him again. I moved through the school day, completely unaware of anything except the infernal time. When the afternoon bell sounded, it felt as though I had just been released from prison. I ran home to prepare for my 7:00 rendevous.

I remember agonizing over what I would wear, what perfume I would use. What was it that I did last week that made him notice me? I had to recreate that, and I was feeling the pressure. I was in unfamiliar territory, and I really had no idea how to create the allure that I desperately wanted to surround myself with so that he would be totally under my spell.

Finally, the moment arrived . . .

With my heart in my throat, I paid my admission to the rink and stepped inside. I waited for my eyes to adjust, the rink was dark and cool. I cautiously took a look around, and didn't see him. No matter. It was early. I put on my skates and went over to get a Coke to watch the door.

8:00 came, then 9:00. I had come up with a list of reasons that he wasn't there - all of them involved freak accidents or other completely unavoidable circumstances.

When 10:00 came, and the rink announced last skate, the last shreds of hope I was holding evaporated away. I was devastated. Heartbroken. I was angry at myself, fighting back tears as I took off my skates and retrieved my shoes. What an IDIOT I was to think that I was worth coming back for. I bet he had a GOOD LAUGH at my expense. I bet he was with his girlfriend right this minute, laughing with her about the way that he had so easily won me over. It was all a game to him, I was convinced.

The hurt quickly turned to anger, as it always did with me.
FUCK HIM. I had better things to do, I was on my way out of town to party with college kids. I was smug as I packed the rest of my bags that Sunday and left for Athens with my sister and GB.

The week in Athens was fun. Both my sister and GB felt a huge sense of responsibility for me, and watched me closely to keep alcohol and half-drunk college boys at arms' length. I can't tell you how many times I heard the phrase, "Holy Shit, you are ONLY 14?!?!" that weekend. More than a couple of them called me "Dean Wormer's daughter", sort of an homage to the jailbait girl in Animal House. I had a great time, and I had lots of attention, the right kind, without the danger. It was just what I needed.

All too soon, the week was over, and I was back home. No fun, no job, and no prospects. I felt sorry for myself for a little while, but then I got into the summer groove. Donna and I spent our days at the community pool, sunning, and our evenings at Six Flags over Georgia. We had both gotten season passes and we made good use of them. We had a ball seeing concerts there, and just hanging out, meeting other kids our age. I had a few babysitting jobs here and there, but for the most part, nothing really turned up work-wise until the summer's end, which was fine by me. I was having a little fun, and I had saved enough to finance a summer off.

I turned 15 that summer, and passed my learner's permit test. GB was the only one willing to teach me to drive, and he patiently lived through my learning curve. I spent hours and hours circling our neighborhood, pulling in and out of driveways, practicing parking, passing, and maneuvering. The summer was over before I knew it.

With all the outdoor fun of summer, it never really dawned on me or Donna to go to Dollar Skate night. We were having too much fun doing other stuff, and truthfully, the sting was still there, just a little. I had occupied my time with other things, other places, and hadn't really allowed myself to think about the possibility that someone had been looking for me faithfully, every week, except that ONE week after he met me, when his boss gave him so much work to do, he worked until the wee morning hours. Who would have thought that his message for me that his buddy at the rink promised to give me would never be delivered? It never occurred to me that after a few weeks of waiting for me to come back, he would go to my old job at the Miracle Theater, only to find it boarded up. That even though he was disappointed week after week, he hadn't given up on finding me again. Who would have thought that?

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