My teenage love story — Part 1

Want to read my embarrassing moment (at 14 years old) in meeting my now husband (of 16 years)? Here’s your chance! Enjoy!

I Pick Him

As the only girl in a group of eleven guys, a lot of eyes turned my way. The oboe doesn’t play in a marching band, so I’d conceded to a type of piano — in the form of a xylophone. My choice gave me, a dark-haired, brown-eyed, girl of average build, a position of uniqueness as the only female member of the band’s percussion section.

I certainly hadn’t planned to be the lone figure on the fringe with nowhere to hide.

The extra eyes and stares led a set of upperclassmen to narrow in on me as their guinea pig. “Pick a guy,” they said.

I’d heard it at least a dozen times since the start of band-camp. The line became the mantra of my new found friends. Who was I to question their motives? They, sophomores, had a mission: find a boyfriend for me.

All I had to do was ‘pick a guy’.

The why, though, continued to allude me. I was after all, just a freshman — as status they reminded me of with regular frequency.

Each day I stepped over trombone arms with spit that flew from valves, over trumpet players’ feet, around the humongous tubas and behind drummers who knocked me with their butts. I’d become adept at skirting their land mines to get to the corner of the concrete, amphitheater-style room where my xylophone waited.

My spot on the third tier gave me a two-way mirror-like view. I could look out into the field of bodies and faces and none of them would know when my eyes fell on them. Ball caps, buzz cuts, rumpled clothes and gobs of sweat filled the room.

Our band played like a herd of elephants who’d spied a mouse. We jumped from point to point, none in tune, nor in sync. The snares spiked rhythm, the flutes pitched flat. Our director ignored it all until he found the right page in his version of our music. He’d flip and shuf while the blares bounced off the walls. His thin, white plastic baton tap-tap-tapped against the metal music stand and brought almost all our attentions back to the center.

My friends’ command continued to press me. Pick one.

As our director pointed and instructed, a weird sensation ran through me, like a chill, but not. No shiver, just an awareness. If I’d walked on a sidewalk alone, I’d have looked over my shoulder.

I let the mallets hit the wooden keys and added a melodic thud to our boisterous practice, but my curiosity overwhelmed me. I snuck a peek across the room, away from my music and found the most beautiful blue eyes, bright against the summer’s tan. They stared back at me, didn’t let go of my gaze. We stayed linked while his lips buzzed the silver Doc Severinsen trumpet.

Pick one and we’ll hook you up. Their silent voices resonated in my head as the vibrations from the mallets sent waves up my arms.

A slight crease at his eyes, suggested his lips formed a smile while he blew into the trumpet. My cheeks flushed pink, but my hands kept going as did whatever sound emanated from his bell.

I broke our stare and turned back to the notes on the sheet before me. I couldn’t help the grin.

Him. I pick him.

End Part I. Look for Part II on October 9th! 🙂