I had had an on-again-off-again crush on Keith since the summer after my sophomore year when we had held hands on his cousin’s porch one evening, so I was ecstatic when we finally started dating…and kissing…a few weeks before the Homecoming Dance. When he asked me to the dance, I was thrilled – it was my first dance date with a bona fide boyfriend. We were going with a few of his (our) friends and their dates (including Missy!). Have I mentioned how excited I was? Well, I was.
The morning of the date, I met Melissa (who sadly was going to the dance in another group) at McDonald’s for hot chocolate. Melissa, do you remember why we did this? I don’t any more; in fact, I just now remembered that we did! Anyhoo, I then returned home to prepare for the activity portion of the date: bowling.
Keith picked me up in his old green car, and one of the other couples, Ben (not Missy’s current husband) and Stacy, were with him. He gave me an arrangement of six red roses that were gorgeous and wonderfully fragrant. I love getting flowers. At some point we must have met up with the other two couples, Bryan and Missy and Matt and Brooke (wow, it took me a bit to remember who the last couple was – it was so long ago!), because I remember following Bryan’s car out to the bowling alley. At least…we followed them for a little while. A few miles from the bowling alley, Keith’s car ran out of gas and died! He pulled over and was not a happy camper. He hit the dashboard in frustration, breaking it. That made it worse. It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t being very successful at holding back my giggles. Ben and Stacy hopped out of the car and went somewhere – to this day I don’t know where they went – so we were alone. I had to work hard, but eventually I lightened Keith’s mood. We decided to hitchhike to the nearest gas station, so we got out of the car and crossed the road so we’d be on the same side as the cars traveling the way we wanted to go. It started to snow. Neither of us wore coats. I giggled. He didn’t.
Rather quickly, a small, white truck pulled over and we explained our dilemma to the driver. He offered us a ride and we hopped in, first arranging the numerous grocery bags filled with heaven-only-knows-what so we could fit. At the gas station, Keith bought a red, plastic gas can-thingy and started putting gas in it. I insisted on staying with him despite the cold and snow and his bad mood, so I witnessed him overfilling the can and gas spraying all over him. I was far enough away to avoid getting splashed, but it totally got him. You can probably guess that his mood didn’t improve and that I found it all absolutely hilarious. Poor Keith, he wasn’t having much luck. He put up with me surprisingly well, though, which, looking back, I can now really appreciate.
Oh, when we first arrived at the gas station, we had called the bowling alley (remember, this is before cell phones) and had told our friends what had happened, and Bryan left to come get us. He showed up shortly after the can was (over)filled and took us to Keith’s car. We arrived at the bowling alley just in time to leave. At some point, Ben and Stacy found us, either at the car or the bowling alley, I don’t remember now. We headed to the college’s science building, where Bryan’s dad worked, and watched a movie in his dad’s room on a big screen. It was a good show, nice and romantic, and I cuddled up to Keith despite the reek of gas coming from his clothes. He slowly started to be happier and by the end of the movie, he was fine. We must have eaten at some point, but I don’t remember when or what. I’m sure it was yummy and fun. How’s that?
Keith took me home to get ready for the dance. Two of my friends who weren’t going to the dance were there to do my hair for me. They did a really good job – it looked really nice, if I do say so myself. It was kind of a French twist, but with a tweak, and they incorporated some baby’s breath from the roses Keith had given me. When I walked down the stairs, Keith was there, looking stunning in his tux. I’ll always cherish the look on his face when he saw me. I have never ever felt so beautiful, and it was because I could tell he thought I was.
The rest of the night was absolutely perfect. He treated me like a princess, while we danced he whispered sweet things; telling me how much he loved me, how beautiful I was, how lucky he felt to be there with me. A lot of the time, we didn’t talk; we just gazed into each others' eyes, smiling. Us being us, we also kidded around a lot, laughing a lot. An acquaintance later told me that she had watched us dancing and had gotten a kick out of how much fun we were having and how totally into each other we were. I remember wishing that the night would never end. Being with him, dancing with him, being held by him was heaven and I didn’t want to ever leave.
It did end, of course. At this point the plan was to go home, but no one wanted the date to be over, so we ended up going to Keith’s house to watch a movie. He and I cuddled the whole time. I love cuddling during movies. He finally took me home and we talked and kissed on my porch ‘til we finally managed to say good night and he left.
Keith certainly had his faults as a boyfriend, and I certainly had mine as his girlfriend, but I will always love him for many reasons; one being this date. So many things went wrong at the beginning (which, like I’ve mentioned, I found funny), and even though it frustrated him and he got upset, I knew then and I know now that he got upset because he wanted so much to impress me, to show me a good time. Plus, no one has ever made me feel so special or so loved as he did that night.
Wherever you are, Keith, thank you for such a great memory.