The next big crush in my life, Evelyn, is a girl I still think of with some regret. Sweet, beautiful Evelyn was the first girl I knew, and knew well, before I fell for her. We had already become friends when I was in 7th grade. Evelyn and I were birth twins -- September 2nd, 1958. We were also neighbors. Evelyn was, if not the girl next door, then at least the girl down the street. I had been to her house many times. We laughed and joked together at school. I called her sister and she called me brother. We were so close! And little by little, without meaning to, or even wanting to, Evelyn stole my heart. She was an olive skinned beauty with long black hair, big brown eyes, and maddeningly full, moist lips. She was petite, but had a voluptuous figure that was drop dead gorgeous whether she was wearing a short skirt and firecracker striped stockings or denim bib overalls – an anti-fashion staple of the time.
Although we were the exact same age, Evelyn was a year ahead of me in school. Plus she was beautiful, and so, in demand for dates with all the upperclassmen. Evelyn was available to me as a friend, but that was all. “Just friends.” It was a phrase I would hear a lot in the years to come.
I did make one feeble attempt to date Evelyn. I took her to the already mythical Skate-a-rama, on a double date with Robert, and his girlfriend du jour, Diane (who, by the way, gave me my first kiss – back in kindergarten, before I had any idea about these things). We were still too young to drive, so Robert’s father, George, took us. I don’t remember the skating at all, but afterwards, George took us to a nearby dam to hang out for awhile. We walked along the water in the moonlight. My stomach was doing flip-flops. I don’t know if Evelyn expected me to kiss her, or even wanted me to kiss her. But I didn’t kiss her. I was terrified. As we were walking back to the car, I muttered to Diane, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
It was four years since Jan, and I still hadn’t learned very much about girls.
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