It was a warm September afternoon several years later when the green 1962 Cadillac entered our driveway for the first time. The white convertible top was down, and Doug’s long brown hair waved in the breeze. I met Doug in the lunchroom of high school while I was dating one of his friends. His friend dumped me, and I was heartbroken for a few days until Doug scooped me up. Doug was too skinny according to the social scene of the time, and he parted his shoulder length straight brown hair on the side, another fashion faux pas. He also really didn’t give a crap. He had a mustache and beard which made him look older than his 17 years. This was handy when buying beer.
He drove into the driveway and parked the car. I walked over and sat in the passenger’s seat. The car smelled of Doug’s cologne and leather seats. Doug wore brown shoes, not sneakers like everybody else in school. We listened to music on the radio.
Doug looked at the clock on the dashboard. “I have to leave soon for work. It’s 2:30 already.”
“Where do you work?” I asked.
“Moe’s gas station. Um, I’m hungry; do you have something to eat?”
“Yeah, sure,” I said. “How’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”
I went into the house to make the sandwich. I opened a fresh loaf of bread, and found a small plate with no chips missing. I carefully spread the peanut butter all the way to the sides of the bread so it was not plain crust. I spread the jelly thickly, making sure the jelly reached all the way to the sides of the bread. I sliced the sandwich diagonally. I grabbed a can of 7-Up soda from the fridge and brought it outside to Doug.
Doug’s eyes widened as he took the plate and soda. He hungrily bit into the sandwich. “Thank you, this is good,” he said, his mouth still full. “This is the first thing I ate all day.” He took a gulp of soda.
When he finished, he handed me the plate and empty soda can. “That was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I ever had. Thank you.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“I’ve got to go to work now, I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.”
“Bye.” I walked back to the house and put the empty plate in the sink, but I kept the empty soda can as a memento and put it above the curtain rod in my room.
The next day, Doug and I ate lunch with his friends in the school cafeteria. I was friends with all these guys. We chatted about the “Monty Python” episode from the previous night. Doug and I were holding hands underneath the table, and then I felt his fingers fumbling around for something. He took off his high school class ring and put it into my hands. A thrill shot through me. I put the ring onto my ring finger but it was way too big. I put it on my middle finger, and said, “I’ll get some yarn when I get home and make it tighter.” I took the ring back off and showed him. “That’s what everyone does; it makes the ring tighter so it will fit.”
Doug and I held hands as we walked from the lunchroom to class. When we arrived at his classroom he just let go of my hand; he hadn’t kissed me yet. Most people kissed in the hallways before separating for class, but we weren’t at that stage yet.