Flashback almost 28 years. That's when it all began. I was an extremely shy, insecure, lost 16 year-old looking for my "knight in shining armor." I dreamed of meeting a a debonair young man that would sweep me off my feet and take me away to a place only found in fairytales.
Johnny, the new boy in school, sporting his bomber jacket and Girbaud jeans, impressing the girls with his slicked-back hair and multiple rides, just wasn't "the one," but he was the common denominator in the matchmaking equation.
I started dating Johnny at the end of my junior year at Lanier High School in Austin, Texas. He would frequently stop by Sonic, where I worked as a carhop. One evening, he brought his older brother's best friend, Bubba (Allen), with him to meet me. Big mistake. I was focused on work, but evidently, Bubba, the country boy from Belmont, was focused on me.
Bubba sold furniture at a local store owned by Johnny's family. Billy, Johnny's older brother, also worked at the store and lived in a house with Bubba and another roommate. Johnny was hanging out with the guys at the store one afternoon and asked Bubba what he thought of me after our encounter at Sonic. Bubba's reply was, "I'm going to marry her." Johnny just chuckled and blew it off.
On July 4, the summer before my senior year in high school, Bubba decided to tag along with Johnny and I to the fireworks show downtown. We rode to the extravaganza in Johnny's single-cab truck. I sat in the middle. On the way back to Bubba's and Billy's place after the show, I was holding Johnny's hand with my left hand. Out of the blue, Bubba discreetly grabbed my right hand, and held it out of Johnny's view. I froze and was trying to make sense of what was happening in my head.
Johnny decided to stop and get gas. Bubba and I stayed in the truck. That's when he made an even bolder move. He asked me what I would do if he kissed me. I was caught off guard by his advances and didn't know how to respond. After a lengthy silence, I responded with an awkward and unsure "I don't know." At that point, Johnny had paid the clerk and returned to the truck. I was relieved he was back.
When we arrived at our destination, Johnny walked 20 feet in front of me, which was typical. He entered the house first and let the door shut in my face. Big mistake number two. Before I reached the door, Bubba, who was walking only a few feet behind me, grabbed my hand, whipped me around, dipped me and kissed me. I went with the moment, feeling some guilt, along with a few butterflies. I was Johnny's girlfriend, not Bubba's. However, with Johnny, the butterflies were non-existent.
It didn't take Johnny long to pick up on what happened in the front yard. He and Bubba got into a heated discussion in the house and I was left outside wondering who was going to take me home, Johnny or Allen, or if I'd have to call someone else.
Allen finally took me home, but on the way, he admitted to seeing the error of his ways. He told me he was not willing to ruin his friendship with Billy or jeopardize his job "over a girl." Seriously? At that point, I was livid at both Johnny and Bubba. It was their world and I was apparently just living in it. Bubba apologized. I just rolled my eyes, slammed the truck door, went into my house and cursed them both as I fell asleep.
The next day, I got a phone call from Bubba. He told me he changed his mind and asked me out on a date. I was shocked, but admittedly a little smitten, so I said, "okay." I had no idea that my fascination with this fella, three years my senior, would lead to more than just a summer romance.
The day after graduating from high school, the real adventure began. Bubba and I basically grew up together, which wasn't easy. The odds were stacked heavily against us. We both were very unsure about our goals and what we wanted to do with our lives. During the three year-period we dated, he asked me several times if I wanted to get married, but I just wasn't sure, without a doubt, that he was my "prince charming." He was a handsome and strong, with an uncommon work ethic and a huge heart, but still very immature. In all honesty, we were both still naive in regards to the real world. It wasn't until the spring of 1992, after many ups and downs, twists and turns, that I knew I was ready to take the leap. I finally said, "I do," to Bubba on August 8, 1992.
The boy who had become acclimated to city life, would turn into a man anxious to return to his roots.
To be continued...