Summer Memories (Part Two)
(To read Part One, click here)
I was on the “island of romance.” Alone. I grabbed a burger with some buddies and swam with the Catalina goldfish. But they weren’t as pretty as her. Her being Martha. What was I thinking? I was flying next week to be with my Texas fling…whatzername. I spotted Martha and Ted several times that day. Goldfish notwithstanding, my day sucked.
When we regrouped on the steamship that evening, I spotted her. Alone. “So, where’s Ted?” I asked.
“He wanted to be by himself.”
“But I thought you were—”
“No. His girlfriend broke up with him, and I just thought he’d like some company, but…” She was like that. Kind.
“Want some cocoa?” I asked. The trip to L.A. was blessedly chilly, the kind that makes you want to sip cocoa and cuddle with someone. So after watching the flying fish sail by (a Catalina must), we found a bench and did just that.
And then we kissed.
Whoa. She didn’t kiss like my grandmother anymore. During the previous year we’d both had firsts (first boyfriend, first girlfriend) and learned the fine art of snogging. I never wanted the ship to land.
“See you?” I said at the dock. But she knew I’d be leaving soon to be with my Texas fling, so she just waved and got in her dad’s car.
The night before I left, I knocked on her door. “Look, the tickets were booked before we… I mean, I didn’t—”
“I thought I was just your Catalina fling.”
“No! Actually, I think maybe I’m fall…”
She shut the door.
Texas was a bust. My voluptuous blond had a boyfriend. They’d broken up before she visited California, and made up when she came back. Turns out I was just her California fling. I was supposed to stay a week, but flew home after four days…
And drove straight to Martha’s house. After three more days of bowing and scraping she agreed to go out with me.
Two weeks later I said my first “I love you.”
“I love you too–you idiot,” she replied.
We were together through the end of high school. Friends assumed we’d get married. But different colleges, different paths…
In college, I wrote a play about first love, and dedicated it to her.
Years later I met a woman who reminded me a lot of Martha: smart, kind, “the good one.” Oh, yeah, and crazy-pretty. Plus, she kissed like a dream right off the bat. And 35 years later we’re still together. Because, while Martha was my first “I love you”…
Trudy is my last.