Marilyn, her name was Marilyn and I still remember the first time I saw her in school.
Shortly before I tuned thirteen, I developed a raging interest in girls and found myself consumed by the thought of them. Classes in Wade Jr. High became instead, studies of the young female classmates surrounding me. I would spend the better part of each period imagining myself alone, with each one.
Blond, brunette, redhead, homely, or drop-dead gorgeous it did not matter. I was inflamed.
There was one problem though I was shy. Shy to the point of stammering and shaking. The idea of approaching or talking to one of these young goddesses was unbearable. When in proximity to one or more my legs would lock, my jaw slammed shut and all I could do was stare.
Because of these afflictions, I avoided all efforts on the part of my friends to date or at the least come to one of their parties.
Then came the day I met Marilyn and I learned the pain of seeing her talking to other boys.
My social life tanked, my grades fell and I languished in a melancholy state.
The boys on my block usually hung out under the lamppost on the corner of 176th and Walton. One afternoon my two best friends, Michael and Ira, met me there and strong-armed me. They were planning a boy-girl party and had come up one male short. Ira challenged me.
"You're not chickening out this time." I could sense the warning in the timber of his voice. If I did not show, everyone on the block would know about it.
Bravado betrayed me and I agreed.
The evening of the party I showered until my skin turned red and raw. I did my first ever pimple check, loaded my mouth with Dentine gum and marched off, prepared to Spin the Bottle.
My heart stopped as I entered Ira's apartment. Marilyn greeted me first. She took my shaking hand, led me to the closed circle of bodies surrounding the large green bottle and seated me opposite her.
After an unbearable wait, my turn arrived. I reached out and flicked the empty Coke, hoping against hope that it would land neck first aiming towards her. The bottle spun erratically and began to wobble slower and slower. Then, when all seemed lost, Marilyn's pink clad arm reached out, stopped the spinning glass pointer, and directed it to her.
It was my first kiss and my first lesson in romance.
Girls also looked and lusted.
We co-partied for the next month and then...I met Cynthia.