Fifteen years ago, when I was 17, I went to a homecoming dance in Stellarton, N.S. with a friend. She was hoping the boy she was crushing on would be there, and although I had acquired a very pretty black eye trying to play Ultimate Fribee that day, I smeared on some make-up and grumpily agreed to go.
Alas, the boy in question wasn't at the dance, not was anyone else over the age of 14. Chris and I prepared to leave; we weren't going to dance with teenyboppers!
"Wait," Chris said, peering into the dark arena. "There a guy from my class over there, and he looks bored to death. Let's go over and say hi."
As we approached, I saw a tall, skinny seventeen-year-old boy hunched up on a chair, elbows on knees, hands cradling his face . His shoulders were too big and wide for the rest of him, his hands too large. He had curly hair, tanned skin and was scowling at the infants dancing nearby.
"C., what are you doing here?" Chris shouted through the music.
He looked up and finally smiled. He'd been dropped off at the dance by his folks. He was stuck there. He seemed very glad to see us.
We spent the rest of the night dancing. I gave him my phone number. He called the next day, and every other day that summer. I liked him, but found his persistence a little annoying.
A month later, he picked me up for another dance. I opened the front door for him and realized I was in love with the guy.
We had a great final year of high school together. I went to Carleton, leaving him behind in Nova Scotia -- or so I thought. But no matter who I dated, no matter how crazy my hijinks, no matter how many times we dumped each other, I always seemed to find my way back to him.
So, to that boy, who is now my husband, my soulmate, and the father of the most beautiful children on the planet: I saved that last dance for you. I always will. Happy 15 years!