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I knew she was
everything I wanted ... and everything I could
We were as different as night and day. I guess
that's why I was so attracted to her in the first
place. Outgoing and bubbly, Judy seemed to forever
be the center of attention among her bevy of
girlfriends. At school the boys would gather around
her like moths attracted to a candle flame, hoping
- beyond all hope - that she might acknowledge
their presence with a smile. I knew that she was
out of reach for someone as quiet and reserved as
me. Still, I couldn't resist the temptation to at
least dream of the possibilities.
Most of us looked forward to spending every Friday
evening roller skating at the local Roll-a-drome. I
generally hung out with my pals. We would ignore
the girls for the most part, chasing each other
around the floor during the all-skate segments and
conveniently disappearing to the snack area or rest
room during the couples and trio numbers. There was
never a chance of rejection if you didn't ask in
the first place.
It had taken me quite a while to get up the nerve
to ask her to skate a couples-only song. I couldn't
believe it when she actually consented. The other
guys could only watch in amazement as I spent three
heavenly minutes gliding around the floor with her
on my arm. It was definitely the high point of my
eighth grade year. I don't think I said a word to
her the entire time we were skating.
Most of us generally left the rink together at
closing time. At every intersection, the group
would diminish in size as individuals headed to
their respective homes. That night, I conveniently
skipped the turn down my street and tagged along
until eventually, it was just the two of us.
"I didn't know you lived around here," she said
I knew that she knew better. I stammered and
stuttered, coming up with some lame excuse about
going over to a friend's house to drop off a skate
key I had borrowed.
"It's okay," she replied. "Thanks for walking me
I sensed that maybe she actually meant it. By the
time we got to her place, I knew more about her
than I could have imagined. It turned out that few
guys had ever actually talked to her. Most were
probably just like me - too scared or insecure to
She wasn't anything like I had expected. We stood
on her front porch laughing about how people could
be so very different once you got to know them. She
told me she had thought I was conceited because I
had never spoken to her before. I told her how much
I had wanted to talk to her, but never could come
up with the right excuse. All too soon, her mother
opened the door and told her it was time to come
Judy introduced me to her mother and told her she
would be in quickly. After she closed the door,
Judy explained that the two of them lived there
alone and that her mother was a little bit
over-protective. I hadn't realized that she didn't
have a father. I was just about to ask if we could
skate together again the following week when she
said, "I wish I had gotten to know you sooner. It's
a shame we're moving next week."
At first I thought she was kidding. Then, I feared
she had only built up my hopes just to play a cruel
joke. But I could tell she was serious. She was
moving. It was only across town, but to a fourteen
year old it might as well have been to a foreign
country. She gave me a quick peck on the cheek as a
token of appreciation. I watched in numbed silence
as she headed inside.
"Thanks for skating with me," she said from the
doorway with a tear in her eye. "I wish it could
have worked out differently."
"Me too," I thought as I walked down the street,
disgusted with myself for
getting my hopes up in the first place. But still,
she had kissed me ...
even if was only on the cheek.
I do recall seeing her once during my high school
years. Our schools were
hated cross-town rivals. They met my senior year in
the city championship
football game. I remember watching her march on the
field with the drill
team during the half-time ceremony. She twirled the
baton around those
slender fingers just as expertly as she had once
done with my heart.
I was in college when my friend Jerry begged a
favor. He had just met some
beautiful gal named Pam and was dying to date her.
The only problem was
that she had a best friend that she insisted come
along on a double-date.
And of course - me being his best friend and all -
who else could he ask?
At first I refused outright, not even wanting to
know the details. But then
he explained that the friend was really quite a
Still, I was hesitant. "What does she look like?" I
asked. I had been
burnt before on blind dates. At least he didn't say
that she had a nice
personality. He knew that would have been the kiss
of death, ending the
conversation immediately. Not that I have anything
personalities, mind you. It's just that it's not
what you want to hear when
you ask what someone looks like.
"Actually, I've never met her, but Pam says she is
gorgeous," he answered.
Now I was really concerned. Common sense told me
that two good looking
girls never hung out together. Still, I was
considering granting his plea
when he added, "Besides, they're related. I think
she is Pam's niece."
"Niece ..." I asked, "did you say niece? You've got
to be kidding! You want
me to baby-sit the niece just so you can make time
with the Aunt?"
"No, no," he corrected. "They're the same age -
I couldn't figure out if he was being totally
sincere or not but the
desperation in his voice was getting to me. In a
moment of weakness I caved
in. "Okay," I agreed, "But you better be right
about her being gorgeous.
And, don't forget - you owe me one!"
The evening of the date, we drove to Pam's house in
Jerry's old Nash
Rambler. I was still trying to think up a plausible
excuse for backing out
even as we parked and walked up to the doorway.
When Pam opened the door I
could understand why Jerry was so adamant about
going out with her - she was
a knockout! I could only hope the niece was half as
nice. Pam invited us
in and introduced us to her niece; it was Judy.
I recognized her immediately; I could tell she had
no idea who I was.
"Bob," I blurted out, "From the skating rink ...
eighth grade ... Norwood
Park Junior High." Surely she would remember the
night I walked her home.
"I'm sorry," she said sheepishly. "That was so long
ago. I had forgotten
all about roller skating."
That night we started to get to know each other all
over again. She wasn't
quite what I remembered. No longer a cute little
girl, she was now a
beautiful young woman. Still bubbly and outgoing,
she now had a
sophisticated sexiness about her that made me a
little weak in the knees. I
wasn't sure if it was from desire or fear - maybe a
little of both. In any
case, we hit it off pretty well.
She made it clear, right from the beginning, that
she was going steady with
a former high school classmate. He had joined the
Navy right after
graduation. They weren't actually engaged, but she
told me they would
probably end up getting married. She was only doing
this double-date thing
as a favor to Pam. I told her I understood
perfectly, and that I too was
only doing this as a favor for Jerry.
Within a few weeks, we were dating each other
exclusively. I don't know if
she ever wrote the old boyfriend or not to
officially end their
relationship. I probably should have noted that as
a potential warning
sign, but I was too head-over-heels to notice
I think her mother liked me even more than Judy
did; she always cooked my
favorite dishes whenever Judy would invite me over
for dinner. She would say
to Judy, "This one's a keeper." I was never quite
sure if that was a
compliment for me or a slap at all the others who
had come before me.
Judy and I went steady while I finished college. My
senior year, I spent
all my savings to buy her a new sewing machine as a
present. Her mother was flabbergasted. "You're so
different," she said.
"All the other boys buy her flowers and candy and
jewelry; you buy her a
"But it was what she wanted," I explained.
"That's the problem," her mother told me. "She
always gets whatever she
So, she was a little spoiled ... what was the
matter with that? A girl like
her deserved to be spoiled. And spoil her I did. I
kept chasing her right
up till the day she caught me. By then, I was in
the service. Jerry and
Pam served as Best Man and Maid of Honor at our
We were happy at first - at least I was. I think
she was a little
disappointed at being a young military wife. So far
from home ... one Air
Force base after another. In time, they all started
to look alike to her.
I kept telling her that it was only temporary. But
it only seemed to worsen
It didn't help that there was a war going on ...
that I was away often on
temporary duty assignments. Being left alone was
something she hated more
than anything else. She wanted to start a family.
Within two years the
first daughter was born. For once, we had something
in common. Her life
began to have a purpose. Two years later ... a
second daughter. If one had
been a turning point, two would make things twice
as good. Right?
I guess we made a slight miscalculation somewhere
along the way. The girls
- even though we loved them more than anything -
were not enough to save our
troubled marriage. They only forestalled the
inevitable. Growing further
apart rather than closer together, we eventually
realized that our
relationship had been doomed from the beginning.
Based solely on our
selfish desires, each of us had sought out the
other to experience something
new and different - to find something we lacked
within ourselves. To her, I
represented the stability she had craved in her
childhood; she in turn
provided the raw sensuality I had always dreamed
Her mother's untimely death in a car accident was
the final straw. Judy was
never quite the same after her mother died. She
needed a change; she wanted
a change. And, as I had come to learn the hard way,
she always got what she
wanted. Little Jennifer was only three the day Judy
walked out for good.
She gave me a kiss on the cheek before she left.
"Thanks for skating with
me," she said from the doorway with a tear in her
eye. "I wish it could
have worked out differently."
I knew she was everything I wanted ... and
everything I could never have.
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