Have you ever noticed how little things — a smell — a texture — a song, can bring back a memory so vivid you’d swear you were there, in that moment, once again? I heard a song on an oldies radio station this afternoon and my thoughts sped immediately back to the autumn of my junior year in high school.
These days I’d be called a nerd; back then I was just a little weird. I played with electronics, knew how to sabotage a classroom movie projector, and got good grades in science and math. Yup, a nerd before the word was invented. I wasn’t at all experienced in dating. Sure, I’d gone to a few school dances the preceding year, and I met a girl at one as a kind of informal date. But I’d never done the whole “pick her up, do something, take her home, dare I say kiss her goodnight” dating thing. Even at the dances, I was way too inhibited to let loose and really enjoy myself. I’d usually hang around the edges with the other guys who couldn’t dance and spent the time trying to pretend that we really didn’t care. What a lie. We cared a lot; we just didn’t know what to do about it.
Lack of transportation can be a big obstacle to dating as well. Who wants your parents or older brother to be your driver on a date? I’d gotten my license last May, but my parents were very cautious and didn’t let me drive with anyone but family in the car until mid-summer. Being the oldest, by a few months, of my group of buddies, going double hadn’t been an option either.
I met Rekha that summer in a youth group and found that we had a lot in common, including our high school. I was nineteen and she was eighteen, but she’d skipped a grade and was only one year behind me in school. The county fair was coming up, and I asked her to go with me. Her parents were concerned about the age difference, but because of our involvement in the youth group, trusted me enough to allow their daughter to go out with me. We had a great time at the fair; rides, junky food, walking around the exhibits, and we continued doing things together for the rest of the summer. Just a couple of very ordinary, Mumbai high school kids acting out the courtship rituals of the era; telephone calls, movies, food, holding hands, hugs and kissing at her door. She was my first real girlfriend and I was her first real boyfriend, so were learning as we went and it was glorious.
Her heritage was Marathi. She was about five feet, six inches tall with long, golden-black hair stretching down to the middle of her back. Her figure was that of a typical high school senior girl, small breasts, slim waist and generous hips. She had an older sister, Radhika, a beautiful girl, who gave me a great idea of how Rekha would look in a couple of years. I wholeheartedly approved! While Rekha’s body was certainly a pleasure to look at, her best feature was a wide smile that showed her white teeth and lit up the room whenever she flashed it. I saw that smile a lot that summer and fall, and thought she was the prettiest girl in school. Of course, being in love, I was somewhat biased.
I’d meet her as she got off the school bus or at her locker in the morning and we’d talk for a while before school started. Later, we’d meet each other outside our classrooms and hold hands while we walked between classes. We had frequent long phone conversations in the evenings after homework. I have no idea what we managed to talk about for all that time, but we were happy, so I guess that’s all that matters.
She was in the band so we couldn’t go to football games together, but we went out for snacks afterward. Sometimes we found a place to park for a while before going home. She had wonderful lips and kissing her made me melt inside. I never got to kiss her enough; I don’t think it would have been possible to kiss her enough. Unfortunately, she had a strict curfew, and the duration of our evening activities was pretty tightly regulated.
The big dating movie at the time was “Love Story,” I guess today it would be called a “chick flick.” Talk about a great movie to bring a girl to! It had love, it had sex, it had conflict, and to top it off, it was a tragedy. Ryan O’Neil and Ali McGraw were beautiful together. With Jennifer dying at the end a guy was pretty much guaranteed to have his date crying on his shoulder by the end of the show. I took Rekha. Once the movie started, I had my arm around her and my other hand in her lap holding her hand in no time at all. All through the movie, I caressed her back and neck. She held my hand tightly and leaned her head against me. A couple of times she even turned for a quick kiss. Predictably, by the end of the movie her tears were soaking my shoulder. Trying to be a sensitive boyfriend, I held her with both arms kissing her forehead before she lifted her face up to mine and our lips met. Because of the position in the theatre seats, my left hand crept up and ended up at the bottom of her small breast. I guess I was “copping a feel” as she cried. It hadn’t been intentional but it sure felt nice. I simply had to move my hand around a little. Is there a teenage male who could resist? Eventually the theatre started emptying, and we got up and shuffled out toward the parking lot.
My transportation on dates was my dad’s four-year old Maruti car. I’d learned to drive and taken my test in a newer, family car, but as soon as I’d earned my license the previous spring, it was the pickup or my bicycle. I really had nothing to complain about; after all, I had a vehicle in the evenings. The pickup had a bench seat, including a seatbelt in the center, so Rekha could ride next to me, and using the belts didn’t stop us from a little cuddling while driving. It wasn’t a romantic vehicle, nor was it hot looking, but it got us where we needed to go. One advantage, if you’ve ever dated in a bench seat pickup, you know that they are wide. That seat gave us plenty of room for a little fun at the end of a date, but so far we hadn’t used it nearly enough.
When we’d arrived at the movie theatre, the parking lot was pretty full. We had to park way out in the overflow parking area, so the truck was in a kind of an isolated, dark spot when we came back out after the show. Rekha was still feeling the mood of the movie, and I had my arm around her as we walked. When I kissed her cheek, I could still taste the tears.
After I’d helped her into the truck and gotten in myself, we slid together and held each other. We talked about the movie, how much characters had loved each other, and how tragic it was that Jennifer had died when they wanted a child. That, of course, led to more tears and more kissing. As we kissed, I slid my arm inside Rekha’s jacket and held her close. It was so much better to feel her warm body through just her shirt. Our kisses got progressively more intense, and before long, we opened our mouths and tasted each other’s tongues. I really hadn’t done that before, but it just seemed natural with Rekha. I felt so close to her, I could barely catch my breath. She must have felt the same because we both leaned back a little, each to look into the other’s eyes. She gave me a sweet, loving version of her smile. I smiled back as I caressed her back and side, and she pulled my mouth back to hers to resume our kissing.
I know I hadn’t thought about it. I had no plan, but somehow as I was running my hand up and down her side it found its way back to the edge of her breast. She didn’t react or stop kissing me, and I got bolder. Now that I was aware of what my hand was doing, I slid it a little more over her breast until I was actually holding it through her shirt and bra. It felt heavenly! The size was a perfect fit to my palm. It was firm and warm, and it was Rekha. I was stunned when she moaned into my mouth as I began gently massaging her. She wasn’t complaining; in fact she seemed to be enjoying it. I could feel her hard little nipple poking up through the thin fabric of her bra and shirt, so I moved my palm over it in little circles. I shifted my hand to the closer breast and did the same to it, then went back to the first one, again giving a gentle caress, a little rub, a little squeeze, all the while kissing her. I was in teenage boy heaven! Rekha moaned a little more and shifted her position next to me but never broke the kiss. Suddenly, she trembled slightly with a catch in her breathing and I pulled back a little alarmed. Had I hurt her? Had I gone too far? She gave me that smile again and kissed me quickly on the nose before cuddling her head against my chest. I stroked her back and kissed the top of her head.
Unfortunately, Rekha’s curfew was approaching. I held her tightly against me and kissed her again before we separated, and I started up the truck. Once the fog on the windows had cleared enough to see, I drove her home. We hugged and kissed a little more at the door. I, of course, had an erection that could have pierced armor plate. I don’t know if she noticed, but I couldn’t stop it from poking against her as we kissed at the door. I think she might have felt it since she gave her belly a little twist against me before we finished our kisses and she went in.
Who says “blue balls” is a myth? I ached as I drove home thinking about the events of the evening. I could still taste Rekha’s lipstick on my lips, and the memory of the way that tender breast felt in my hand nearly made me cum just from the thought. Later, in bed, as I jerked off, I imagined that it was Rekha’s hand touching me instead of my own. This certainly wasn’t the first time I’d masturbated to a fantasy like this, but it sure was the best. I filled the tissues and slept soundly that night.
The big October event in high school is the Homecoming Game and Dance. Our school did all of the normal events. There was a bonfire the night before the game. On game Friday there was a huge pep rally in school. The game itself was Friday night and the dance was Saturday night.
Rekha and I went to the bonfire together. I remember standing behind her, watching the flames. I had my arms around her stomach and could nuzzle her neck as she leaned back against me. Sometimes simply holding her was better than anything else. Unfortunately, it was a school night and she had to get home early, so there was no fooling around in the truck.
The Friday night game was frustrating because, with her in the band, we couldn’t sit with each other. We got together for a short time afterward but again, no chance for more fun.
Saturday was the big event — The Prom Dance! Men wore jackets and ties, women wore nice dresses. It wasn’t a “formal” dance but I guess it could be described as “semi-formal.” I bought Rekha a nice corsage from a florist near my home. It featured gold chrysanthemums because of the school colors. I didn’t think about trying to match her dress or anything. This was my first big dance date. I hadn’t learned to consider those details. Hey, at least I remembered to buy the flower!
I put on my “church” clothes. Good pants, nice white dress shirt, tie and jacket. My parents relented on transportation and gave me the family car for this date. I guess they weren’t going to make Rekha climb into the truck in a dress. I even washed the outside and wiped out the inside. Everything needed to be perfect.
When I knocked on her door, Rekha’s mom answered and asked me to come in. It was the normal routine; Mom and Dad in the living room telling me Rekha will be right out and making small talk. After a couple of minutes Rekha came out of the hallway, and took my breath away. She was wearing a pale blue, lacy dress. It was low enough at the neck to be interesting but high enough to not show major cleavage in the front while dipping a little in the back. It followed all of her curves but was not overly tight, going down to just above her knees — a little longer than the fashion of the day but not at all prudish.
Rekha had clearly spent a lot of time on her hair. She had it pulled in at the sides and held it with a large barrette, so most of it cascaded down her back in loose golden curls, but she’d left cute little curls hanging in front her ears just to tantalize. Think “fairy-tale princess” and you’ll get the picture. The feature that really made my heart jump was that smile. A wide, happy smile, white teeth, sparkling eyes, dimples in her cheeks; again, think fairy-tale princess and you’ll understand. I was barely able to breathe much less move.
Of course, I was invited to pin the corsage on her. How does a clueless nineteen-year-old guy manage to pin a corsage onto his angel’s dress without dropping it, sticking himself, sticking her, feeling something he shouldn’t, or otherwise doing damage? I took it out of the box and moved forward. As I got closer, her sweet, flowery perfume made it that much more difficult to concentrate. When I lifted the strap of her dress, the backs of my fingers brushed her skin — so smooth, so warm, so perfect. I’m sure I shook; I’m surprised I could function at all, but eventually, the deed was done and we’d both survived. Rekha’s parents photographed the entire process, then took pictures of her individually, and of us as a couple. We made our escape, and I held her hand as I guided her to the car.
The dance was in the school cafeteria. Most of the tables and chairs were gone, making a large dance floor. There was a raised stage at the center of one wall for the live band, composed mostly of students from the school, most of whom we knew. They had a combination of guitars, drums, and brass, and played a large selection of the popular music of the era. With their brass section, they could do a great job on songs from the group, “Chicago.” The music was all very danceable.
After last year’s disastrous dances, I’d vowed that I would forget being embarrassed and would really dance this year. I wasn’t particularly good, and I didn’t know any special moves or steps, but at least I got out there for the fast and slow dances. Rekha didn’t have to sit on a chair by the wall with me, or go dancing with her girlfriends. There was no two-inch rule or other regulation about close dancing, so slow dances were pretty much making out while standing up. The girl put her arms around the guy’s shoulders; the guy put his arms around the girl’s waist, or back, or butt, or whatever, depending on how well they knew each other. They cuddled as close as possible and swayed in place or slowly moved around in a circle. There was plenty of rubbing bodies together, lots of kissing, and some talking during slow dances. I usually held Rekha with my hands at the small of her back although it was heavenly to slide a hand up that dress and run my fingers over her bare back above the upper edge.
Long after the crowning of the king and queen, for the last dance, the band played a song Chicago had just recently released, named, “Color My World.” Although a little short, it was perfect for slow dancing, and just the right song to end the evening. It was mostly instrumental, but the few words were a touching love poem.
I took Rekha in my arms for the dance. She pressed her whole body to me; arms around me, head nestled against my shoulder, we fit together as if we were meant to be one. I could feel her breasts crushed against my chest and her breath on my neck. I could feel her belly pushing against the bulge in my pants. Strands of her hair that had escaped the barrette tickled my nose. The combination of her perfume and her own scent was intoxicating. I had one hand in the middle of her back while the other caressed up and down over the dress and over the bare skin of her upper back and neck, skin slightly moist from the fast dances we’d just finished. I’d have been happy to stay there forever in that truly magical moment, and as the band sang and we swayed, I whispered the words of the song in her ear:
“As time goes on, I realize
Just what you mean to me.
And now, now that you’re near,
Promise your love that I’ve waited to share
And dreams of our moments together.
Color my world with hopes of loving you.”
At the end of the song, Rekha and I shared a tender kiss before leaving the floor to go home. The dance had lasted until 11:30 and with Rekha’s midnight curfew, we had only a few minutes to cuddle and kiss in the car before heading for her house. At the door we again held each other close and kissed passionately before my angel blessed me with one more smile and went in. I was floating so high, I barely noticed the drive home. The fantasies in bed that night were better than ever.
I’d like to say that Rekha and I continued dating and became more and more intimate as the year went on. I’d like to say that Rekha and I explored the joys of making first love together. I’d like to say that she is beside me now as I write this, but I can’t.
Any of those would be a lie.
A Thursday morning, only a couple of weeks after the dance, as I met Rekha at her locker, I could see that something was wrong. The look on her face was not her normal greeting and her smile looked strained. She didn’t beat around the bush at all and told me that she was not going to be dating me anymore. There was a guy she knew from band who she’d gotten really interested in. He’d asked her out for this coming weekend and she had accepted. She would like to remain friends but that was all.
It was a completely typical teenage break-up speech. I was stunned. I felt like I’d been slammed in the guts with a baseball bat. I hadn’t seen it coming at all, and I have no idea how I reacted. “I’d like to remain friends.” Friends? How could I stand to just be her friend and see her with another boy? I wasn’t that strong. I’m sure I didn’t act angry with Rekha, but I just can’t remember what I said or did. I hope there weren’t any tears in school. After drifting through the day, I went home and cried into my pillow for the first of many nights. I imagined fantasies of revenge and mayhem against her, her family, her friends, and most of all, her new boyfriend. I tried to think of ways to win her back. Of course, none of that happened.
After a month or two, I got over it, although I never could avoid the twinge in my stomach when I saw Rekha and her guy together. I think first loves just work that way. Later in the school year, I recovered to the point of being able to talk to her again, and we did remain casual friends until I lost contact with her sometime during college. The guy she dumped me for? He must have been right for her since she stayed with him through high school and college, eventually marrying him. I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad losing her to her future husband.
So why am I writing this? It’s been over thirty years. I’ve had many girl and woman friends. I have a family and my life is rich and full. I’ve danced to many songs and enjoyed many kisses. But when I hear that song, “Color My World,” I can’t help but think of that time so many years ago, of Rekha and that magic dance.