I hardly slept the night before the party and I was wide awake when the birds started chirping “good morning”.
I don’t know if I was more nervous about being with Bobby again or wondering if my mother would say something awful to him when he came to pick me up.
But I was all ready and after just a few quick pleasantries with my mother and father, we were out the door.
Bobby walked ahead of me to a brand-new blue and white Chevrolet and opened the passenger door for me.
“Where did you get the car?” I asked, getting in. I assumed we would be riding there with his parents since Bobby would only be in town for a short time.
“Rental,” he replied. “I thought we should go separately in case we wanted to leave early.
“You know my parents, Sammy, once they get going they can play cards for hours.” he said laughing.
I laughed too. I had seen them in action many times.
I loved Bobby’s laugh, it could still the devil himself.
The party was already in full swing when we got there. Bobby’s parents almost crushed me with hugs and his little sister, Mary, shyly handed me a candle she had made at her summer Craft Camp.
There was a huge table loaded with food…his Aunt Lou was a fantastic cook…his Uncle Brian knew how to open a bottle of Irish whiskey.
It was about 6:00 and the ‘final dessert’ had been passed around and both Bobby and I were stuffed…and we were “not…no, no…absolutely not…thank you very much” said Bobby “going to play canasta”.
We walked out to the backyard and sat down on a bench under a huge elm tree. It was a normal July day in Minnesota…hot. We watched the younger kids play badminton but even in the shade it was too warm for us.
I looked over at Bobby and he was starting to sweat.
He got up, took my hand and we headed back to the house. He carefully opened the back door, motioned for me to be quiet and we crept into the empty kitchen…like thieves.
Bobby opened the door to the basement and flicked on the stair light and let me go first. He closed the door softly behind him and followed me down the stairs.
It was a seventy-five-year-old house and the basement was finished 50’s style…with linoleum on the floor, cheap wood paneling on the walls and cast-off sofas, chairs and tables scattered around. There was an old record player next to the fireplace.
It was cool and quiet.
Bobby went over and was looking at his cousin’s old record collection. I sat down on the sofa and leaned my head back and closed my eyes…still almost not believing that now…right now…I was with Bobby after all this time.
I slowly opened my eyes and smiled. “It’s All in the Game” was playing on the record player. It was the first song that Bobby and I had danced to at an after-game dance one very cold night so long ago.
“Want to dance, Sammy?” asked Bobby, holding his arms out to me.
I didn’t need to answer. I just stood up and started to put my arms out…like you would if you were going to dance with an old friend…but that’s not how Bobby and I had danced…oh so many times.
He slipped his arms around my waist, pulling me closer to him and my arms went naturally around his neck and we were…together.
Only a few seconds passed and then Bobby pulled away…his questioning eyes almost asking permission as he looked at me, and then hesitating just a little…he kissed me.
And then he kissed me again…and again.