Roni’s Engagement

She called to tell me that she was engaged –
Me, dating some love spasm at the time –
Who I brought with me to meet them for drinks
Which I think were Coronas – yes – with lime

And she still looked a perfect movie star
And so did he, if truth, in fact, be told;
They were so good together: he was kind.
And I was happy for the ring of gold

She wore now on her finger as a sign
That she with him would now forever stay.
A thing I thought unlikely at the time,
Although they’re still together to this day

It’s funny: I write poems all the time.
I dredge these stories up from memory:
And find sometimes I didn’t know my heart
Until I write these down in poetry

We’d flirted with each other, and had tested
The waters of erotic friendliness;
When that part of our friendship was abandoned
I found, I didn’t love her any less

I loved her more as friends; for she was regal,
And meant for kindness as a life reward:
And she was happy now – I know she still is –
With someone who loved her
Who she
Adored

Roni

Roni

When Roni had me pick her up,
I almost lost my mind:
A lonely dude at twenty-three
The restless dating kind

We got dressed up to go to see
The local symphony;
Italian dinner, wine, and then
A drive down by the sea

She touched my face with both her hands
And I’m sure it went scarlet:
If this had been a movie script
She’d be the stunning starlet

And I, the semi-funny schlump
Who somehow gets the girl:
But we weren’t in a movie script
And that was not our world

Instead, we chatted in the dark
Beside the waters glowing;
I’d brush the hair back from her face
So long and brown and flowing

And I don’t know that she could know
Just what that was for me;
For her, some dating throwaway,
For me, a memory

Of moonlight and of Roni
All alone out very late:
As we fogged up the windows,
Just two people, on a date

The Girl, The Surf, and Other Things

I always considered myself to have been a total disaster as far as dating went until I met my wife. Many of my ex’es however, have strangely fond memories of our time together. Not all, by any means: but a surprising number seem to have thought it time not entirely thrown away.

In a way, that shouldn’t surprise me, since most of the dating stories I have recalled or recounted over the years were positive ones. I know I dated some duds, and I know I was a dud to some of the people I dated, but the stories about dating I best remember were about good, nice experiences. In most things in life, the good and bad get all mixed up together, but sometimes, there is much more good than bad.

For instance…

I was nineteen years old, living in Florida, finishing my second year of college. Some old high school friends who then were at Auburn told me they had a friend they wanted me to meet. “She would be PERFECT for you,” they said. They brought her down during the Spring break when many of us would go back to our parents’ houses. So a bunch of us met up: my Auburn friend and his girlfriend, three other guys, this woman, and me. We started out going to a restaurant near the beach.

Well, my friends weren’t wrong, she did seem pretty cool to me: however, she seemed pretty cool to the other guys who were also there unattached. So, one by one, we would each talk to her, and I remember thinking as we walked out of the restaurant headed to a bar out on the beach that this was probably going to be another one of these occasions where this one of my friends, (we’ll call him “A”) would end up with the girl.

But that isn’t how it worked out.

While we were looking out of the bar window at the dark surf (you just see the white foam of the waves closest to the shore in the lights from the bar) she mentioned that she had always wanted to swim in Gulf of Mexico at night.  “Let’s go, then,” I said. “It’s still cold,” the other people chorused. I looked at her.

We went.

The others took their drinks onto the beach. She and I removed some (not all) of our clothes and got in the water. The Gulf of Mexico never gets terribly cold, but it was very bracing. She and I mostly just laughed at the silliness of it: bobbing up and down in the surf in the dark, trying to see each others eyes (it was a cloudy, moonless night). We were more-or-less invisible to our friends, but they could hear us laughing. Later, we found out that these same friends all thought we were doing something else out there.

We weren’t.

The decision got made thereafter (in the manner of inebriated people) to go to late-night miniature golfing. She and I sat on a bench, drying off with beach towels around us, while the others played mini-golf (also in the rather raucous manner of inebriated people). We sat and quietly talked for the forty minutes or so we were there. Since our two Universities were only about four hours apart, we left with the promise that I would come up and see her at school sometime soon.

And I did. But that would be another story, one that doesn’t have a happy ending. But about that night, there is a lot I remember:

I remember thinking she had an amazing smile.

I remember the shocked look on our friends faces that we would go swimming like we did (Floridians aren’t exactly Minnesotans when it comes to cold).

I remember sitting there at miniature golf, wishing the evening wouldn’t end.

I remember that I liked the sound of her voice, a musical kind of (cultured Tennessee) accent I had never heard before.

I remember us holding each other’s forearms in the surf for stability as we gently rode the waves up and down.

I remember the feeling I had getting back in my car, that I had someone to look forward to seeing.

I remember my friend “A” slapping me on the back and saying, “Good job, tiger.”

As it developed, that relationship went bad and it got bad, but it wasn’t bad, if you know I mean. Bad rarely cancels out good; it does sometimes, I realize.

That night was special to me. I don’t know if it will seem special to anyone reading this. But I liked her, and I had the nerve to go after her. And she chose me among that group of guys. Even if it was just for a night, and even if the night did not include any of the things people associate with adults dating. It was a night that mattered to me, and, in my twenties, those were few and far between.

couple, sitting

i’m not all boys, so i am not
the one who must have hurt you…

i’m not all boys, so i am not
the one who must have hurt you –
i’m honest, and i’m loyal, and
i would not just desert you

if you could see you through my eyes
i know that you would feel
that what i’m saying is the truth
and all of this is real

so try me out, we’ll take our time –
i know that you’ve been burned –
and that, for you to trust me is
a thing that must
be earned

= = = =

photo credit : © Godami | Dreamstime.com – SKETCH.The Couple. Photo

A Dating Memory

I wanted to seduce her with my wit;
She started laughing at my clumsiness.
I thought, “I’ll let my style do the bit” –
Then knocked over the wine, and made a mess

She came towards me with a yellow towel,
And I no more my laughter could abate:
Then her eyes shone when I laughed at myself
And I had done enough
For a first
Date


 

(“A Dating Memory” – 7-5-2015)

A Dating Memory – Carnival

So up we went
To a sky that nearly swallowed us –
A bass line could be heard across
The vast expanse of people –
Smells of sugar and salt and butter and
A bit of your perfume
I still can smell —

Two holding hands and feeling high
In several different ways –
We laughed to feel the wind and all
The myriad sensations of the evening –
Clad in our respect for dating, and
Our devotion to the cause of discovering
Just how high and how far and how fast
We could go

At fourteen

And not really on a date, but only sort of