|legeros.com > Writing > Separated at Prom|
So I have a new girlfriend. Julie. Been dating two months, so we still reek of endorphins. (You know the drill: every waking mo- ment together, promising Heaven and Earth, ignoring even our best- est of friends, etc.) About a month ago, I pulled out the scrap- books and all the accompanying (and hopefully amusing) photos of Yours Hammy in high school and college and graduating from the Fire Academy. (Big, *big* smile at that last one.) Plus a prom photo, tucked inside something called a "Senior Memory Book," a cute piece of mass-marketed junk that Julie, it, like, so happens, possessed an identical version of. (This despite her having graduated in Il- linois instead of N.C.-- towns of Normal and Morehead City, respec- tively-- and four years *earlier*.) So Julie sees my prom pic and screams. "Oh my [Gosh!] You look just like *my* prom date!" And, sure enough, I do. After unearthing her photo and brushing off the pebbles, I see the resemblance. Her high-school beau has the same, dorky, Dutch-boy haircut, is also wearing super-big style glasses, and appears to have stolen my trademark, goofy grin. I laugh. We laugh. And, within a day, I've shared our discovery with friends and family members, scanning the side-by-side pictures and posting them on the Internet. So far?
|Normal, IL - 1979||Morehead City, NC - 1983|
Fast-forward to present day. Mid-May, pre-Memorial Day, and a long weekend for Julie and I, with two of the three days spent travel- ling to and knocking around Morehead City. Our activities include visiting the New Bern Fireman's Museum, visiting the magnificent new downtown New Bern Fire Station, a lame lunch at King's BBQ in Kinston, playing on an abandoned fire tower in Selma, breezing through an outlet mall, also in Selma, staying at my first bed and breakfast in Beaufort (frankly I prefer hotels, as I suspect *most* men do. Anyone care to support this Broad Gender Stereotype?), my spending an hour Saturday morning parked a block from the Beaufort fire station while installing a pair of "police radios" into the "dash" of my first-ever *new* new car-- a 2001 Honda Accord (red, of course), consuming not one but *two* Dairy Queen "crunch cones" (same ain't available in Raleigh), and enduring a pair of dinner disappointments at Clawsons in Beaufort (off-tasting New York strip steak and overcooked baked potato) and a Texas Steakhouse and Sa- loon in New Bern (under-adorned grilled chicken salad). The most unusual event of the weekend, however, involved a chance encounter with the *last* person Julie and I expected to see: *my* senior- year prom date. Vickie, a then-sophomore that I hadn't seen since high school. Here's what happened. By noon on Saturday, we were ready for food. Julie had earlier sampled the B&B's "continental breakfast;" I'd only snacked on a Twix bar and some sour-cream-and-onion Pringles. Needless to say, we were salivating. As our afternoon plans in- cluded an island-length drive from Atlantic Beach to Emerald Isle, we started looking on the east side of Morehead, the side of town closest to Beaufort and home to several waterfront troughs. First tried was the New Dawn Restaurant, which was nearly empty, which we didn't interpret as a good sign. (And even if it *is* technically still off-season.) Next 'twas the Sanitary, one block over, a fish house famous for both its ishy seafood and the fact that everyone and their sister is employed there at least *once* in their usually young-adult lives. Happily, the lines were non-existent that day. The hostess promptly seated us at window-side, at a table with a view of the water but at aesthetic dead-center between two packed flanks of people. I shook my head and requested a less-encroached upon location in the back. Er, front. Menus are handed, hostess leaves, Julie excuses herself, and I pull out reading material-- a small stack of copies made the day before at the New Bern library, about the Great Fire of 1922, the worst fire ever to occur in North Carolina and that ravaged 40 city blocks, destroyed 1000 buildings, and left 3200 people homeless. Houses were dynamited to create fire breaks, other buildings were pulled down with a cable attached to a railroad locomotive, and, amazingly, only one person perished. But I digress... So I'm shuffling papers, my landlubber mind deciding on either a ham or hamburger steak. Look up and the waitress is there, some blonde with a purple-- sorry, "fuchsia"-- tee, setting out linen and silverware. "Are those sanitary napkins?" I inquire. She smiles weakly, eyes rolling as if wondering "who is *this* clown?" And then our eyes meet. Blink. Blink blink. "What is your name?" I immediately ask. Blink. Blink blink. She's smiling now, shak- ing her head ever-so-slightly. "We went to the *prom* together," Vickie answers, "You don't remember my name?" She laughs. I howl. And, upon returning to the table, Julie can barely believe it. "I was *just* thinking about you," I tell her, retelling the tale of two prom photos. She asks about my mom, I hand her my Web ad- dress, and finally confess to a little bit of trivia, admitting to Julie that "she gave me my first kiss." To which Vickie corrects, "no, he gave *me* his first kiss." And Julie just laughs, aston- ished by the amazing coincidence and maybe just a *little* appre- ciative of the other woman for getting the whole, big ball rolling. Postscript, April 2003. Mike and Vickie, past 'n' present:
|Morehead City, NC - 2003||Morehead City, NC - 1983|
Copyright 2001, 2003 by Michael J. Legeros
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