Happy Single Awareness Day! Unless you’re not single! Then Happy Valentine’s Day!
I rarely if ever talk about my personal life here, but I thought today would be a great day to make an exception. Because I want to make a confession. It’s over twenty years in the making, this confession.
So *clears throat* here we go:
My freshman and sophomore years of high school I went to an all boys school in Connecticut We shared the bus with our “sister” school that was right down the street from our school. The two schools are 2.9 miles apart. My house was 18 miles away from the school, but due to the bus route, it took approximately about an hour each way.
During my freshman year, I met a senior on the bus named “Melanie”. She was absolutely gorgeous. Long straight black hair, blue eyes and an hour glass figure. At that point in my life, I was painfully shy. Not that I am much better now, but definitely much more shy back then.
Melanie and I were friendly with each other, but I don’t know that I would say we were friends. We talked briefly on the bus every day. She was a few stops before mine so we were both on the bus for the entire length of the ride.
Flash forward to February of 1992, a friend of mine was sitting at a table in the gym of the school. He was there selling roses that were to be given to the girls of the sister school on Valentine’s Day. He kept trying to get me to buy one. But I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time and had no one really to give it to. But my friend wouldn’t take no for an answer.
So for reasons I never figured out in my head, I bought Melanie a rose. It was only $3.00. I filled out the card that was attached to the card and signed it “Your secret admirer”.
The bus picked the guys up first before driving down the road to pick up the girls. I sat at the window as we pulled in. In Melanie’s hands there was roughly 10 roses. Nine of them were in one hand and a solitary rose in her other hand. All the other girls on the bus were surrounding her, asking her questions about the roses. Melanie listed off the names of the 9 boys that had the nerve to sign the card, but none of the girls cared about them. They all wanted to know about the mystery card. None of the other girls got more than 3 roses, so there was a bit of jealousy about how many roses Melanie got. The girls all gushed at how romantic the card was. I honestly do not remember what I wrote, but for the purposes of this book I wish that I did!
Based off something that was written on the Secret Admirer card, Melanie deduced that who ever wrote it must have shared the bus ride with her. Melanie walked to the back of the bus with the purpose of asking every single boy on the bus if they were the one who sent it to her. I am sure by now my face turned all kinds of red. I remember reaching into my book bag and pulling out my walk-man.
When Melanie got to me, she tapped me on the shoulder. With a big gulp, I removed my headphones and looked at her. She looked me dead in the eyes. These are the words she said to me. “Did you send me this rose? You know what, never mind. I know that you never would!”. And with that she moved on to the boy in the seat in front of me. I put my headphones back in and pressed my forehead against the window, feeling like I had dodged a big bullet.
I told myself that I would come forward on Melanie’s last day of class and tell her the truth. I practiced my speech in my head, waiting for the bus to arrive so I could tell her everything. I climbed the steps of the bus and looked around. I asked one of the other girls on the bus where Melanie was. It turns out that she decided that since it was her last day of school, she didn’t feel the need to actually go. So I never got a chance to tell her. You would think that there is no chance I would have ever seen her again after that day, right.
Fast forward to after college graduation, I got a job at old age retirement home. After a few months of working there, I saw someone in human resources who kept coming to the kitchen where I worked. She kept coming down because she was dating one of the cooks. I thought she looked familiar. One day, she pulled me aside and asked me if I went to Z High School. It was then that I realized exactly who I was face to face with.
And the first thing I thought about was the secret admirer rose. About a week later, I was reciting almost the same speech that I was prepared to say nine years earlier. I went into work and searched her out. Except Melanie had quit earlier in the day, having had a fight with her boyfriend. They broke up and knew they couldn’t work together.
So I never got a chance to tell her the truth. So Melanie, if you are reading this then you know the truth after all this time.
Names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. LOL. Here’s hoping you have a better Valentine’s Day than younger me did!