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 when he came and after just a few quick pleasantries with my mom and dad, 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 had assumed we would be riding to his aunt and uncle’s house with his parents. I knew he had sold his own car when he had enlisted in the Navy.
“It’s a rental,” he replied. “I thought we should go separately in case we wanted to leave early.”
“You know my parents, Sammy, once they start playing cards, they can go on 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…and his Uncle Brian knew how to share a bottle of Irish whiskey. Everyone was having a swell time.
It was about 5:00 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 with them”.
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 at Bobby…he was sweating and I was ‘glistening’… we both agreed we had had enough ‘summer’.
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 in the night.
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 ‘decorated’ 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 wonderfully 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 again…after all this time.
I slowly opened my eyes and smiled. “It’s All in the Game” was playing on the record player. It had been one of our favorite songs to dance to in high school.
“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…so long ago.
He slipped his arms around my waist, moving us closer together and my arms went naturally around his neck and we were…together.
Only a few seconds passed and then Bobby pulled back a little…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.