The Only Words I Know That You’ll Understand

By mid-February 1979, I was convinced I was in love with Michelle. But she was hardly “My Michelle.”Michelle_Sara_CITD

The ’79 journal describes the weekend of Feb. 17–18 as “beautiful. I’ll never forget it.” Thing is, if I hadn’t written it all down, I would’ve forgotten it.

My senior prom date, Sally Olsen, called that Saturday afternoon looking for volunteers to take tickets at the annual Sno-Daze Dance, held in Grandview Junior High School’s auditorium. I agreed to help out.

That night can be split into two distinct halves: the dance, and a party afterward. In fact, you could almost say the whole night was like overtime in a football game—right down to play-by-play by “Joe” the Journal and—something I rarely enjoy doing in this blog—color commentary by “Coach Mike.”

Joe the Journal:
“People started filtering in [to the dance], the girls looked really great but for me the real highlight of the evening was when Michelle walked in [pictured above, upper left, seated; her sister Sara standing far right; inset, Michelle (left) and Sara as toddlers]. It took me awhile to convince her to stay. But she and her friends laid their money down and went into the dance.

I worked there at the ticket office until around 10:00, and then I was able to go out and join the dance. I asked the band to play a slow song—it was really cool, talking with them for a while about music. Anyway, it took a hell of a lot of convincing to get Michelle out on the floor to dance—but we finally did and it was really special—she was really cautious about what others thought and that bugged me, but after a while we were dancing really close and I was absolutely in love with the moment, we were so close I nearly died. After ‘Sara Smile’ ended, I wanted to kiss her but she said, ‘Best buds?’ ‘Best buds,’ I had to agree, but I felt (and still feel) much more than friendship for Michelle—I want to love her unconditionally. I want to tell her my world, I want to give her my all. And I am willing to give her my all—”

Coach Mike: —Whoa, whoa, whoa. This rookie should’ve ran the play rather than make the kick—only to shank the damn ball. Definitely gonna cost him later.

Joe the Journal:
“At the dance, there were strains of jealousy when I danced with Sno-Daze Princess Sandee Wigner. Michelle look[ed] on from a-far, darkly, and after I had danced with Sandee, she came running over by where I was and she asked some Terry Engstad kid to dance with her. Didn’t, but did, work—it couldn’t help but work because I’m really heartfelt and crestfallen over Michelle. I hadn’t danced with Sandee to make Michelle jealous, I danced with Sandee because I’ve always wanted to. Really.”

Coach Mike: Another common misstep for rookies, Joe. Self-justification on the unseen pages of a diary. Again, could cost points later in the game.

Joe the Journal:
“Paul Schultze had a party at his house and Michelle showed up there with a few of her friends. …They had the stereo on … Michelle and I danced a lot together—really close. I had to take Brian [Sipprell] home around 1:30. I didn’t want to go home so I drove back to the party and Michelle was still there. I curled up by the heater for a while. Michelle was sitting on the couch. I looked over at her and she said: ‘Let’s dance.’ So we got up and danced again. God she’s a lot of fun to be with.”

Coach Mike: Nice play! Unintentional interference by leaving early, but the return tactic likely surprised the opposing team. Bought some time on the clock.

Joe the Journal:
“Around 3:00 in the morning, I was sitting on the couch by the stereo, alone, and Michelle walked over and sat right beside me and we laid there together with both our heads close together. I started to tell her everything I felt about her—all the way back to Charley’s birthday party about a year and a half ago. We talked about the Star Wars night and she said she remembered that she was really scared, of going out for the first time with me. We got really close there on the couch, and I told her it felt like love, or I didn’t know. I said if I wished anything for that moment, it was to kiss her, ‘and forever…’”

Coach Mike: VERY risky tactic—full-frontal honesty! And now, whoa! A Hail Mary—

Joe the Journal:
“…We kissed. Lightly, softly, warmly. Again.”

Coach Mike: —Say goodnight, Gracie! Pass completion for a final touchdown!

Joe the Journal:
“When I left that night, around 4:00 [a.m.], I told her to remember me. …I’m so happy and peaceful when I’m with her. ‘Mike, you’re so different,’ [she said.] ‘I’ll be different again when I walk back over to the table.’

“Michelle, don’t be. Because I love you.”

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~ by completelyinthedark on November 8, 2013.

4 Responses to “The Only Words I Know That You’ll Understand”

  1. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Coach Mike: Nice play! Unintentional interference by leaving early, but the return tactic likely surprised the opposing team. Bought some time on the clock.” This piece of time, beautifully preserved twice, rings loud and true.

    Liked by 1 person

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