“My Story… ” Monday: Danny

(I love telling stories. It might be my favorite “style” of writing. It is, without a doubt, the stuff that most of my readers best respond to. This year, I want to tell you some stories about my past– about people who’ve made me who I am today. Some will be happy, some will be sad. Some you will find encouraging, some you will find maddening. But they all have one thing in common. They are all: People Who’ve Made Me Who I Am Today.)

 

When I was 16, my family spent a week at the shore in Newport, R.I., just like every summer. I was particularly happy that year because my best friend, Mone, had gone with us.

 

We were nearing the end of our week, and she and I were playing frisbee down in the sand. (Sidenote: I really miss simple things like that. I need to find a way to make that happen again.)

 

Anyway, while we were playing, I noticed a group sitting around a driftwood bonfire a little ways down the beach. And I immediately knew I wanted to be there.

 

I told Mone my plan and we– slowly, slowly– inched our way ever closer to where they sat. Finally, a carefully aimed “mis-toss” landed just a few feet from this group of people and I meandered over and made my apology. You know where this story is going– they invited us to join the bonfire.

 

Mission accomplished.

 

We sat down with these people. They represented all ages and there were probably 15 or so family and friends at that fire. We talked, laughed, and ate roasted marshmallows with them.

 

A brown-haired young man took a seat next to me while I stretched my tanned legs in the warmth by the flames. He was well over six feet tall and had that gangly-starting-to-broaden build you often find in the teen set.

 

“Hi, I’m Danny,” he said, and we started to chat. He was delightful company and seemed positively enthralled with everything I had to say. I told him about how I would be a junior that year and how I was nervous about A. P. History. I told him about how Mone and I had been friends for six years. I told him all sorts of things and, frankly, I adored how he hung on my every word.

 

Finally, taking a breath, I asked him– “What about you? What grade are you going in to?”

 

He smiled down at his lap for a second, then looked up. “Well, I’m not sure what you’ll think, but…”

 

And my heart started to pound. Oh. My. Gosh. I was flirting with a college boy. Maybe even a grad student. How old WAS this guy? I waited for him to finish…

 

“… I’m going in to eighth grade and I’m only twelve.”

 

. . . . . . . . . . .

 

Huh.

 

Well.

 

I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

 

To my credit, I kept chatting with Danny and asked him questions about his interests, and I tried to be very subtle in increasing the physical space between us. I continued to chat and laugh with all his family and we had a really wonderful time at that bonfire.

 

But let me tell you.

 

Danny was a good reminder to me that you can never judge a person by how he or she looks. You hear, all the time, about men who get tangled up with young girls and claim, “but she looked 21!” or some such nonsense.

 

Well, maybe she did. It doesn’t much matter though, if she’s not. 

 

Know who you’re messing with, people. That’s the moral of this story.

 

(That, and I still find it kind of funny. I wish someone had a picture of my face when he dropped that bombshell… :) )

 

 

Other people who’ve made me who I am:

Mrs. JohnsonMoneThe Guy in StarbucksKeithMr. Dorfman, Jay, Hannah, Reno, Dr. Y., Jessica G., The Reading Sub, Peach, Asif, Mr. McG., Kim, Herman

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