For The First Time For The Last Time...On the evening of our high school graduation, it was the usual fare. Everyone was decked out in their formal attire, guys in tuxedos and girls in their wide assortment of prom gowns. I graduated in a small class, being that it was a small rural high school, so everyone pretty much knew everyone else. It was what you expected from a grad night, the usual giddy anxiousness and impending release of inhibitions. Everyone was kind of amped up, including me, the usually reserved and quiet "nerd" of the class. All of my classmates were there, including S. This girl was one of those quiet "girl next door" kind of girls. She wasn't a cheerleader or an athlete, nor was she one of those "popular" girls. She was just a very sweet, likable and unassuming person who also, at least I thought so, happened to be one of the most beautiful women I had yet met in my short 17 years of life. Needless to say, I harbored a very strong crush on her all throughout high school, one which I never revealed or acted upon, because, let's be honest, she was gorgeous and I was the class nerd. It doesn't work like it does in the movies. That's ok, whatever, I was content to admire her from a distance.
This was to be the last time we would all be together in this kind of setting before we were finished high school and all went our separate ways. We were all milling about in the off-room of the gym, preparing to make our entrance onto the stage for our official grad march and I decided I wanted to...no...needed to, tell her how beautiful she looked that night. Not really sure what came over me that night as normally the very thought of doing approaching a girl like that would normally render me speechless (or worse). Maybe it was the energy of the night, or maybe it was the 2 rye and Cokes I had before I got there. Who knows. Regardless, I summoned the courage from parts unknown and walked up to her, still not really sure what I was going to say or how I would say it. I cleared my throat, gently took her hand and kissed it saying, "S, you look absolutely beautiful tonight".
A pause. Uh oh, what did I just do?
Suddenly, her eyes lit up, she smiled and gave me the biggest, yet most loving bear hug I've ever gotten from a 105-lb woman, kissed me on the cheek and whispered in my ear "Thank you so much". I didn't really know what to do or say after that, so I just smiled while she proceeded to take MY hand and kissed it! She then smiled again and returned to her group of friends.
What happened after that is what I knew exactly would happen. The school year quickly ended and that would be the last time I would ever see her or talk to her.
I never really thought about that moment until I joined this group and started thinking that sometimes a simple, gentle kiss on the hand can make someones day and create a bittersweet memory that you carry with you forever.