As (almost) always, this derives from real life; in this case, real life was merely a spark to ignite the story, which is mostly fictional.
What do two teenagers -- one a tall, gangly male, the other a roly-poly female -- have in common?
Well, more than one might think.
I was the tall male, a skinny kid with big thighs who had to wear pants three sizes too large to accommodate them. Sally was the female, a rotund blond with lots of girlfriends and not a single male suitor.
It was the first week of freshman year a P_____ High School. I'd seen Sally around the campus; we even had some classes together, though that level of detail was obscured, in those early days, by the crush of information dumped onto the heads of young adolescents. This class, then that one, now go waaay over there for the third; well, you get the idea, if you've attended an American high school.
As things settled, I began to take notice of my surroundings. Sally was among those elements of my life. I knew her name, and precious little else about her, as one might expect.
We attended an "experimental" high school, one in which convention was looked at as wrong, the early seventies as an anchor point. We had "small group" and "large group" classes; that is, a class of twenty or so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and larger lecture groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays. College sans tuition, one might even say.
Large groups were conducted in enormous rooms, a teacher at the front, rows of modular desks arrayed down the line, an overhead projector displaying the teacher's ramblings before us, the lights off.
It was on a large-group day, a Thursday if I recall, that I met Sally, and I mean properly, for the first time.
I grew up a Baptist, Southern Baptist to be specific, and my Dad was a back-row man. Always sat in the back pew. The habit took.
So there I was, sitting in the last row of desks on large-group day, already way ahead of the teacher, when the door behind me opened.
Everyone looked up in annoyance at the intrusion. The room, after all, was
dark; it was essentially a theater. The light was distracting, to say the least.
The figure in the door slinked in, heading toward the back row. I saw it was Sally; I stood, pulling out the chair in the modular desk next to mine, as a gentleman would. She sat, and as the teacher called order, Sally whispered, "Thanks!"
"Ain't nothing to it," I replied, under my breath. We spent the remainder of the period listening to the lecture and casting glances at one another.
The final bell of the day eventually buzzed. Class was dismissed; the lights came up; teenage bodies milled about.
Sally gathered her things, turned to me, and said, "I appreciate your help."
"Think nothing of it, m'lady!" I quipped; I took her hand, brushed it against my lips, and released.
She blushed and giggled; then she met with some girlfriends, and we parted ways.
I must admit, I was a tad intoxicated that evening, wondering about Sally. I knew her first name, obviously, but not too much more. Last name surmised, overheard and confirmed; but no idea where she lived, what junior high she'd attended, nothing.
The next day we caught up with one another on campus. Truthfully, we accidently happened upon one another, sitting on adjacent benches in the courtyard, surrounded by clouds of friends and acquaintances.
We locked eyes, shared a brief smile and a flirtation; and then went about our business.
Time passed. We came into contact more and more often. She made a habit of coming into Algebra LG day and sitting beside me, and as we were studying French under the same teacher, we took up seats next to one another.
It was all so innocent.
Finally, after Christmas / New Year's holiday hullabaloo was done, and January was nearing its end, Sally approached me one day, and turned my world upside down.
"Juh, Jeff?" she stammered, blushing.
I grinned. "Miss Sally! How are you?" I replied.
Her blush became crimson. "Uh," she choked, "would you ... mmm ... mind ... mmm..."
I laughed, and said, "Come on, baby, spit it out!"
Her crimson became fluorescent. "I wonder if you'd go to the Sadie Hawkins dance," she rasped; then, "with me." She was not looking at me.
I laughed, a belly laugh at this point. She looked stricken, and began to turn away; I took her hand, brushed it against my lips as before, and said, "I will gladly attend the dance with you, sweet Sally."
Her fluorescence became radioactive; but somewhere in that nervousness, a smile emerged. "Okay," she croaked, scurrying away.
The swings and errors of outrageous adolescent emotions stabilized, and we were able to resume normal conversation during the school day. The dance was another two weeks out; I asked my mother to assist me in learning to dance. Hell, she'd been bugging me to learn, as had my father; my sisters thought it was funny, watching me try to lead Mama, and following Dad, but we showed 'em.
I was Freddy Astaire in no time. Well, no, but you get it.
The night of the dance, a Saturday, the parents drove the kids to the school gym. We were too young to be dating, and forget dating sans chaperones; our parents met, got along nicely, and cheered from the sidelines as Sally and I tore up the dance floor, doing ballroom moves no-one else even attempted. Clumsy, unprofessional, but we were doing them, and no one else was.
We got a Standing O, from the other kids, teachers, and parents; and we became lovers.
Not sexually, no, don't go there. We were about fifteen, nowhere near old enough; but we were an item. That evening, on that dance floor, we became innocent lovers.
The next three years or so were good for us. We were the Golden Couple of the school, the smart kids who cared about one another; and as much as I wanted, I never let my hand stray. It was tough; she'd begun shedding that baby fat, and was approaching fox-dom. I had a wide-open libido, but I was a gentleman first, determined to remain so.
Graduation tore us apart. I was to attend one university, on scholarship; she another, paid for by her parents.
We survived, though, against all odds, sharing time during holidays and breaks and summers, coming back together as though it was meant to be.
.... There is more of this story ...