Worst Date Ever

At age fourteen I felt the euphoria of love for the very first time, and that love turned into an ironic twist of fate that almost ended in tragedy. What started out as love almost ended in my death.

I was visiting a friend that lived nearby when I was introduced to a tall blue-eyed blonde that was as charming as he was attractive. Brian was seven years older than myself. He was witty and there was something about him that made him special in my eyes. I knew my parents would never allow Brian and I to be friends let alone date. I wasn’t allowed to formerly date until I was sixteen, but for some reason I was drawn to this man. Brian had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was fun to be around.

Although my parents didn’t approve, I ended up at Brian’s house for an occasional game of basketball, and sometimes we would catch up with one another on a bike ride. I went against my parent’s wishes and saw Brian without their knowledge. Our friendship was harmless, and Brian was always a perfect gentleman, but my parents didn’t know his intentions. At age fourteen I didn’t understand why it was inappropriate for a girl of my age to date a man of twenty-one, but I was in love with him. The mere sight of Brian made me weak in the knees and sent butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. Time didn’t exist when we were together, and time went entirely too fast. This is where the trouble began and where our relationship ended.

My parents found out I was seeing Brian against their wishes, and my father put an end to our friendship once and for all. As Brian’s father and my father discussed this forbidden friendship in the kitchen of our home, and as Brian’s father proceeded to lecture me and tell me I wasn’t really in love with his son, I cried a river of tears that flowed straight from my heart. The final nail was placed in the coffin of the friendship I had with someone I knew in my heart that I really and truly loved. Brian and I were kept apart by a seven year difference in our ages, and I knew I would always love him even though I knew we could never again be together.

“Into the Night” by Benny Mardones was a song that reminded me of Brian. “She’s just sixteen years old, leave her alone, they say. Separated by fools, who don’t know what love is yet.” Every time I heard that song I thought of Brian and my heart ached. Our relationship never went beyond passionate kisses, but I loved him deeply like I never loved anyone else. I held a torch for Brian, but I went on with my life, and I dated throughout high school.

One warm summer day, about three years after that awful night when I cried a river of tears in my kitchen, I saw Brian in his 1972 green Ford LTD. I was in my front yard, and he was headed down the street when he slowed to a stop. I walked over to say hello for the first time in about three years. Although we hadn’t spoken in quite some time, I was still very much attracted to Brian, and all of the feelings I had before came rushing back.

Brian was headed to the beach, and he asked me if I’d like to go along. West Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan was where Brian was headed, and I wanted to go more than I wanted to go anywhere ever before.

Even though I was seventeen at the time and allowed to date, I asked my mother for permission. There had been too much dishonesty in the past, and I had finally earned back the trust of my parents. She told me I had to ask my dad, so I reluctantly called my dad at work to ask him if I could go. He said I could, and he appreciated my honesty. Finally! I had permission to date Brian without having to sneak around! I was on top of the world, and I felt the same butterflies I had first felt three long years ago.

I was euphoric to be with Brian once again, and I thought this was a second chance. I thought we might have a future together, and best of all, I had my father’s permission. By the end of the day my euphoria would sink to a level so low that my choices from that day forward would be some of the worst choices I could possibly make.

After feeling like we had never been apart, I found myself feeling like Brian’s girlfriend. I was in love all over again, and this time it was better than before. I was older now, and we could be together without disapproval. We spent time together on the beach, and behaved like boyfriend and girlfriend. He held me in his arms and kissed me as if I were the love of his life, but I soon found out I wasn’t the only one in his life.

While standing waist-deep in the waters of Lake Michigan, on beautiful West Beach in northwest Indiana, Brian proceeded to tell me he had a girlfriend, and he was thinking about asking her to marry him. I felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart. I quickly turned around, and I couldn’t find the strength to utter a sound. He left me standing in the water, and as if nothing were wrong, he went to get drinks from the concession stand.

In my anguish I decided to swim out further into the lake. I found myself caught in an undertow, and I was no longer able to feel the sandy bottom of the lake beneath my feet. Not only had my heart been ripped from my chest, but the world had literally been ripped from beneath my feet. As I looked toward the shore I thought I was going to die. The torrent of water was pulling me further and further away from the shore.

I suddenly came back to reality and realized I didn’t want to die. I instinctively swam parallel to shore, and as I saw Brian heading back to our beach towels, with my last ounce of strength, I drug myself back to the beach. I didn’t tell Brian of my demise, nor did I ever speak to him again. We sat in silence the entire way home and I remember hearing the 1981 song by Quarterflash, “Harden My Heart”, playing on the radio. “I’m going to harden my heart. I’m going to swallow my tears. I’m going to turn and leave you here”. How appropriate this song was! What a cruel twist of fate. Now that Brian and I could be together without disapproval, he didn’t really want me.

Six months after I almost drowned in Lake Michigan after becoming engulfed by sorrow, and after almost becoming engulfed by Lake Michigan, I married my high school sweetheart. I never loved my first husband the way I loved Brian, and I married him because Brian married someone else. This was the first of many bad decisions that would lead to many hard lessons in my life, but I don’t hold regrets. I realize I would not be the person I am now if I had not almost drowned in the waters of Lake Michigan and made the decisions I chose to make, good or bad.

What would we learn if everything always went the way we wanted and if nothing ever went wrong? We are here to learn lessons in this school of life, and our schooling here is only temporary. The worst date of my life and the experiences I’ve had since, have molded me into the person I am today.

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