Most of my friends performed their first experiments with romance at the roller skating rink. The excitement of swinging your hips in time to the music past clusters of boys was electric. We freshened our face with makeup we snuck out of the house. It was our first social adventure with music, our own money, and the prospect of love.
I can no longer remember his name. I can, however, remember thinking how cute he looked. He had thick dark hair and brown eyes, more than a few inches taller than me. He asked me to skate with him for a few songs, skillfully skating backwards to hold both of my hands.
The second week after we started skating the slow songs together, he gathered me in his nervous arms. My dearest childhood friend, Kim, waited nearby awkwardly. Eventually she walked away, stating later that she hadn’t wanted to be a “Moocher.” To this day I don’t know what she meant, but it was instantly and permanently an inside joke between us.
Finally, he timidly asked if I would like to wear his ring. He kissed me gently. It was, in all honesty, my first real kiss. I could hardly have said no to the ring.
Reality woke me from my fairy-tail when we hopped into my mom’s car, waiting in a long line of parents in the parking lot. I’m not sure how she did it, but on the way home, she conveniently gave us a lecture on the hazards of taking up with boys at such a young age. She trusted we were too smart to start up with any one boy yet. Kim and I exchanged glances in the back seat as I tried to figure out how I would hide my betrothed hand forever.
My new boyfriend called the house every night or two. Not only did I have nothing to say, I stretched the 15-foot phone cord a good twenty feet into the next room. It was out of earshot of no one at all, and drew the attention of my anxious father.
“What is she saying that she can’t say in front of us?” he asked my mother.
As was usually the case, mom was right. I was too young to be tying my heart to one fella. I loved the idea of having a boyfriend, but hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do with one. I dodged him at the roller rink. I stopped answering the phone. And after some time, I stopped showing up to skate completely.
I secretly hope he is pining away for me somewhere; single and lonely.
I’m guessing it was back in ’74, which would make me 13 years of age at the time. Yeah, yeah. Do the math . . . Anyway, this song always reminds me of the roller skating rink, with its multi-colored rotating lights, girls smoking in the bathroom, and whatshisname . . .