I needed my sleep.
The kiss was pretty near cataclysmic; I needed a full day in bed to recuperate. Plus my body needed rest to prepare for the 1,000 babies that I was preparing to bear for him. However, Parke was only in town for two days and we wanted to spend every second of the weekend together. The morning after, he met me at my softball game. My team was playing in the championship game. He was sitting on the sidelines watching me execute some great plays including a double play and impressive hits. I preformed surprisingly well considering I acquired only a couple hours of sleep and was completely distracted by the meaty morsel sitting on the sidelines. He was positively virile. He cheered proudly. Our team won the championship, but I was more excited about Parke’s presence than our victory. After freshening up, we hopped in my car and headed to Salt Lake City for a family gathering. I offered to drive on purpose. After five year of pizza delivery experience, my innate direction and prowess behind the wheel are worthy of a medal.
On the back of my silver SUV Isuzu Rodeo read “Utah Plates, California Girl”. I received three nasty notes on my car over the span of a year including choice phrases like “Well then go back to California” and “Why don’t you shove your surf board up your ***”. I wasn’t sure what California had done to make these people so angry. Perhaps they have something against The Beach boys…bikinis….blondes…. or the valley girls from the movie Clueless. When people found out that I was from California, I was frequently questioned “Did I eat Sushi?”, “Did I surf every day?” I always laughed and shrugged it off because I was anything but the image people had in their minds. I grew up in Northern California, a seemingly separate planet from the Southern portion. However, I was a literal “valley girl”, hailing from Sacramento Valley. And although I was the first girl I knew to have a cell phone, I don’t fit the mold of a traditional valley girl. Instead of shopping, I’d rather be strolling through our peach, plum and kiwi orchards and alfalfa fields. You won’t find me rollerblading by the beach in a bikini, but instead hiking in the rolling Sutter Buttes near our home.
Before “Utah Plates, California Girl”, there was just “California girl” displayed on my first car, a 1986 Mazda Pick-up. It was a shabby little truck, but oh, how you love your first car! I knew every inch of that truck. Guys love girls who can handle a car. I had been driving my truck since I was thirteen perfecting the tricks on my Grandpa’s 200-acre ranch. So when I was 15 ½ years old, I decided to use my driving skills to snag a guy.
Remember Dave? The first boy to break my heart? We went out for six months and then I pined for him for the next six. He was that shy, adorable guy on the football team and I was on the cheerleading squad. OK, I have to admit it, I wasn’t a cheerleader. Yet. I was the team mascot….and our high school mascot was a Honker. Let me repeat, we were the Yuba City High School Honkers. What is a Honker, you may ask? Well, it’s a Canadian goose. Honkers are very intimidating, very fierce; they will peck your eyes out. I’m stretching here. The other teams we played were the Tigers, the Wolves or the Thundering Herd. We were Honkers, which precipitated many taunts and references to our “honkers” from the opposing teams’ crowd. Even to this day, my brother-in-law teases me about being a Honker. Living in Minnesota now, I see Honkers all of the time. They are graceful, resourceful, beautiful fowl that fly in perfectly formed V’s. Every time my kids hear them honking above our heads they stop to admire and point. I love Honkers. But what a ridiculous mascot. I won’t even tell you what our horrible school colors were.
(OK: brown and puke yellow)
Dave was tall, with blond, wavy hair, deep blue eyes, a roman nose and braces. He always wore a baseball hat, pulled low, which was adorable and mysterious. We started hanging out in the same circle of friends during my sophomore year of high school. Our relationship developed as slow as molasses because of his debilitating shyness. We started out shooting glances at each other in class and across the football field. After weeks and weeks of staring, but not talking, I mustered up the courage to ask him for a ride home from an away football game. After spending thirty minutes to make the five-minute drive home, I wondered if he was lost. I didn’t complain. I took his meandering as a good sign; if he didn’t like me, he’d just take me straight home. I asked if I could drive his car. Knowing very well how to drive a stick shift, I was hoping to impress him with my driving skills. In fact, I was so confident with my driving skills that I had taken my truck out many times on the road alone, even though I was only 15. When my parents found out about my many joyriding adventures I was grounded from driving until 2 weeks after my birthday. Come to think about it, I was grounded for half of my teenage years so it was a miracle there was any kissing going on at all. (My parents dispute this claim). Dave was thoroughly impressed with my stick-shifting skills, as all guys are when I take the wheel of their baby.
As Parke and I were coasting up north, I nervously turned on the boom system. Nothing can excite me like good thumpin’ bass. When it comes to blasting loud hip hop, I am a Mexican Vato at heart. What can I say? I’m from Sac-town. I had spent a chunk of change on an amazing audio system and amplifier which I had installed in my Isuzu. What would Parke think of my hip hop beats?
He LOVED it.
When asking a man what kind of music he likes, there are only two bad answers. The first is “I like everything” and the second is “Bob Marley”. He likely enjoys music, most people do. But not pinpointing a certain band or genre proves his lack of passion toward music, which is a deal-breaker. He could even be passionate about 17th century classical Baroque and I am satisfied. Much of my identity and conversation revolves around music and I need a versed sounding board.
My history of music appreciation started like an empty yearbook. As I formed romantic and friendly relationships, new music was added to my pages. I came to appreciate different bands from specific people: Boys To Men, Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N Roses from childhood friends, Bon Jovi, Heart and Phantom of the Opera from family, Beastie Boys, Bad Religion, George Straight, BB King, Metallica, Jay Z from various boyfriends and 311, Garbage, Back Street Boys and Erasure from college roommates, just to name a few. I am a music connesuir.
I asked Parke “So what kind of music do you like?” (gulp)
He passed with flying colors. Not only was he opinionated about music, his tastes were similar to mine. He specifically enjoyed Pearl Jam, Third Eye Blind, Les Miserables and Spanish guitar. He even tolerated boy bands and pop music. We had a blast listening to music on the way up to Salt Lake City.
I had fun showing off my prize at the family party. Parke schmoozed the adults. I was in awe of him, though delightfully confused. My family was often disappointed in the boys I had brought home. Likely, that was because they were wearing black nail polish or had tongue rings or rode up on a Harley. OK, that was all one guy and I think they were still shell-shocked from that particular experience. Being an only child, a girl, and a devout Mormon made it almost impossible for me to bring home boys that were worthy of approval (that weren’t complete dorks). And honestly, I was worried that I would never be attracted to a boy that they also liked. In my mind, nice guys equaled boring. Observing Parke around my extended family made me a little wary of his nice guy persona, but periodically he would pull me into a dark corner and plant a smoldering kiss on me and I was reminded of his not-so-“nice” side. His kisses left me a little dazed afterward and my family surely though I was ill.
That night we were back on “our” balcony. The first-kiss rite of passage was conquered which opened the floodgates of kissing to come. In the back of my mind I was reminded of my goal to take it slow. I knew our connection was special. It was a precious gem that I wanted to preserve and safeguard. But my arms felt so right draped on his strong shoulders. I was safe with him. One kiss turned into a second, third, and eighth, and twentieth; or maybe it was just one 2-hour kiss. Our hormones knew no shame. We rolled.
Oh yeah, we rolled, baby!
The devil made me do it. The serpent beguiled me. Truly, I was under a spell. Parke was absolutely irresistible. Plus, I had to make sure a physical attraction was alive and kicking. Not only was it alive and kicking, it was toned and primed to run the Boston Marathon. I couldn’t keep my hands off of those abs and biceps that had been taunting me for two days. Amidst the flirting, kissing and touching, the horizontal plane was not breached so I was satisfied with my overriding self-control.