During my freshman year of high school I went to a dance with my huge crush, Arnold, but our relationship never really got off the ground. It ended with the dances.
At the first of those, we had a great time. We danced with our group of friends and acted silly and, altogether, it was the best night of my life thus far. Then, he got mad at someone and he asked me if I wanted to go outside for a while and take a walk, but the chaperone told us we couldn’t. So we stood in the corridor near the front door of the building for a while until a song that he really liked started playing. “This is my favorite song,” he said. Then he asked me to dance with him right there in the corridor, and we did.
It was so romantic.
A little while into the song as we were dancing he almost kissed me. He pulled his head back a little to look me in the eyes but I was too shy to do the same. If life were a Judy Blum novel, I would have turned my head and had my first kiss right then.
I have regretted that ever since.
Life is not art, I learned that day.
And romance definitely is not.
At the time, my relationship with Arnold was one of the most meaningful things in my life. Looking back, though, I don’t even care that it happened except for one thing: For the rest of my life, I will always remember what it was like to believe that I’d found my soul mate, to believe that there was someone out there who understood and loved everything about me, and was or wanted to be just like me, not just my other half but part of me, and that if I had him I would never need anyone else at all.
And sometimes, even now, usually at night in my dreams, I can even pretend that he really was, and that for a while it was perfect and complete.