Thinking back, Iâm not sure when it was – winter or summer, spring or fall. Logic and the process of elimination lead me to believe it was probably sometime in 1989. I didnât have a phone in my room but there was one in the next room over that was basically mine. It was a cheap little plastic thing, a sort of mauve color that matched my bedspread almost exactly. The cord that plugged into the wall was very long, so when I was on a call and wanted privacy, I just took the whole phone into my room, making sure to tuck the cord underneath the door so it wouldnât get pinched when I closed it.
It was probably the fall, during school. Spring? In the summer, we wouldnât have had to be on the phone so much. In the summer, weâd have just been hanging out. Driving around, maybe going to Dunkinâ Donuts, maybe just sitting and talking, maybe a couple other things, before the cops came along with their floodlight flashlight and their amused expressions to move us along.
So no, the phone call probably wasnât during the summer, but I canât say for sure. We were talking, I donât know what about. I donât know for how long. We were laughing, having a good time. The hours-long conversations that teenagers have, about nothing in particular, just constantly reassuring each other. Youâre totally interesting. Iâm totally into you. Totally.
It was getting later though, though it didnât feel that late – another clue? That it was during the school year? It doesnât matter. Winding up the conversation, dragging it out, knowing itâs time to go.
âYeah, I know.â
âRight! But, yeah. Guess I gotta go.â
âI love you.â
WAIT WHAT HOLD ON REVERSE WHAT COME AGAIN?
Did he say that? Did he tell me he loved me? Just now? On the phone?
Did I say âyou too!â?!?
Part of my brain clamored, call him back! Heâs got to be right by the phone still! Call him back and ask! Double check!
Part of my brain said, ââYOU TOO?!?!â A boy just told you he loved you for the FIRST TIME in your ENTIRE LIFE and you said YOU TOO and then you HUNG UP oh my God are you MENTAL?â
I am sure I donât have to tell you which part of my brain won that particular fight. It never came up again. I suppose I really might have imagined it. But it doesnât really matter. It was all part of those first steps, whether the words were there or not.
Celebrate love, today. Because itâs a good thing. Because it makes us stupid, but it also makes us kind. Because it is huge and loud and because it is small and soft. Because you can. Celebrate.