I really loved Sheila. I loved being with Sheila. Making out with her was great, though it was embarrassing when her mother caught us downstairs in their play room while the non-stop Kennedy assassination coverage was on TV. Her mom had made a big deal about how sacrilegious it was: "He was our president. And he's dead." sob ... sob. "Don't you two understand?"
Sheila and I were both 16 when we started going out. She was a junior but I was a senior since I had skipped a grade. But Sheila was much more experienced. She had spent many summers at sleep-away camp. I knew she'd had boyfriends before she met me. But she was my first.
Our first real date was with two other couples on Decoration Day. Towards the evening we were going at it on the back seat of my friend Walter's old green Buick. It was the first time I had ever climaxed with a girl, though I had hardly gotten to second base with her.
I wanted to see Sheila every day, to be with her all the time. She insisted, "I'm sorry Davie, my parents' rule is that I can't date the same boy on both Friday and Saturday nights." "Yeah, right," I said under my breath. I pouted. I wondered if she was lying - that the miserable edict had actually been handed down. And I was angry, because I know she was also seeing Bobby Weissbrow, who was so darn full of himself. I instantly hated him when I first met him at a Young Judea meeting.
From then on, in my mind, it was me and her - David ♥ Sheila 4-ever - except when it was her and Bobby, or maybe even someone else. My jealousy and mistrust tormented me. But then, right after the summer, Bobby went off to Michigan State.
Just as my freshman year at Stony Brook began, I bought a lavalier for her. It officially became Sheila and me. I lived at home, commuted to school, and often picked her up at Bay Shore High School at 3:00 on Fridays after my early classes were over. We went to the movies or went bowling, and then we usually went parking down at the marina, or at the end of Ocean Avenue. We listened to rock 'n' roll on WABC as my Falcon's windows fogged up. I'm sure glad the car didn't have bucket seats.
As her senior year progressed, she applied to several colleges and got into Brandeis. One night in the spring she said, "You know, Davie, you should really go into medicine. My parents - I - would be so proud of you and if I married a doctor." And she gave me a long, wet kiss. It sounded like a promise was being made.
So I promptly switched my major to pre-med; all it took was a harried advisor's signature. I was a math major and I was already floundering since I didn't study very much. Nevertheless, I pre-registered for biology, chemistry, calculus 3 and two electives starting in the fall.
We went steady through the summer, broke up once or twice but got right back together. Sometimes, when I was by myself on weekend evenings, I'd play the same sad Beatles songs over and over on the piano.
And then, at the end of August, her parents drove her up to Waltham, Massachusetts.
We wrote to each other everyday. Her letters were on creamy stationery, mine on white Hammermill bond. I was able to call once or twice on weekends when the rates were the cheapest, but I still had to pay my parents back for the calls..
She returned home for a Columbus Day weekend visit. We decided to go to a party at a friend's house down on Bayberry Point. I filled an empty Micrin Mouthwash bottle with whiskey that my parents kept in the back of a kitchen cabinet. We guzzled down the astringent-tasting liquid at the party. I had never been a drinker. I was so drunk I didn't realize that I was driving until several miles after we left the party. We went parking and we fumbled in the dark on an almost cold night that turned hot and wet. I slid into her so easily and had intercourse for the first time. It didn't take long. Right after it was over, right after I pulled out, she screamed, "Davie! What did you do?" It was the first time for her, too. And we had not come prepared.
She took a Monday afternoon bus back to Waltham. We continued to write. As good as it felt in the haze of inebriation, I wondered what the hell had gone through our minds. Moreover, I could've killed ourselves or others driving so drunk to our parking spot.
She called several weeks later. It was a Thursday night, so I hadn't expected her call. Her first teary words were, "Davie ... I'm late." Then, "I don't know what to do."
And neither did I. I thought about quitting school and marrying her. Abortion never entered into my mind - not because I was against abortion, but because I was so damn clueless. Marriage it had to be. But I was going to be a doctor. I was pre-med. I was on her check-off sheet for potential mates.
Then, almost a week later, I got another call. "Everything's fine, David. You don't have to worry. I got my period." A big sigh of relief on my end. But also disappointment. In the tone of her first few words, and then others that followed, I realized that our future together was no longer in her plans. She wanted to be a college student - a Brandeis college student. She did not want to maintain - or be burdened down by - a long distance relationship.
David ♥ Sheila 4-ever was just not to be.
Rev 2 / March 4, 2010
March, 2010 Copyright © 2010, Lloyd B. Abrams