Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3: Speech Dorks

Couples always have that how they met story.  I love telling people about the first time I met Natalie.  Natalie actually hates this story.  She has even asked me not to tell the story because it bugs her so much.  I have told her about the month long project and this story will be today.  She took the news well.  I can only hope that she understands for me meeting her is one of those moments, which helped to define the rest of my life.  Okay, disclaimer done.

In the fall of 1982 I was at a Speech Meet in Vienna, MO.  Yes, I admit it, in high school I was a speech dork.  I had finished the first round of my poetry reading and had just entered the gym to catch up with my friends between rounds.  Almost immediately I saw a friend of mine from a neighboring school.  She was on the far end of the gym and she had with her a very cute boy in a navy corduroy suit.  From where I stood he was about her height and had a head of black hair.  I remember very clearly thinking, that my friend had to introduce me to that very cute boy.  Before I could catch up with them they were gone and I went on to the next round of events.

Somewhere between the second round and finals, I headed to the restroom.  I walked in and there was that very cute boy with my friend and the two of them were smoking cigarettes.  I know I must have stopped, stunned by what I was seeing.  No, not minors smoking in a restroom, but that upon closer inspection the boy in the navy corduroy suit was a girl.  I could not help, but notice the girl's dark eyes and that she had a lopsided smile like a pirate.  I was disappointed by her gender, but you know I still thought she was attractive.

Natalie 1983
I was too young and naïve to have realize that gender did not have to be a issue, in 1982 words like gay and lesbian were only mentioned in hushed tones or loud taunts.  I spent the rest of the speech meet with my friends and putting my initial attraction to Natalie away as a mistake.  Over thirty years later I still remember the exact shade of that navy corduroy suit and the little flutter in my heart the first time I saw that lopsided pirate smile.