This was a big school, and I was pretty new to it. He had to re-take this history class in order to graduate, and he sat behind me. I was almost instantly smitten. We started studying together and eating lunch together, and before I knew it, I was hanging out with him and his really super cool hippie friends.
I had heard of the Greatful Dead before, I actually really loved one of their songs, Ripple. My older siblings had turned me on to a lot of different music as I was growing up. Until I started dating Nicky, though, I loved top forties and metal. Think Cyndi Lauper, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, and early Madonna. My first concert was Motley Crue in 1984, my second was Ratt with Poison. (Ha-ha, Ratt & Poison, what a marketing gimmick!)
My third concert, thanks to Nicky, was the Greatful Dead. What a difference! I was hooked. I was also hooked to the lifestyle. Nicky and his younger sister and brother were all musically inclined. And so were all of their friends. They held huge parties that either featured a band of their friends, or everyone sat around a group of guys playing guitar and everyone sang.
I felt like I belonged, for once. I loved music, I loved singing. Any songs I didn't know, I learned quickly. I met a bunch of people, and mostly everyone made me feel like I was included. Having moved around a lot as a kid, I was painfully shy. Just when I started to make friends, we up and moved again. Being part of a large group of friends was really new to me, and I loved it.
Nicky and I usually met at his house. It was not only party central, it was amazing. His parents had built an incredibly huge modern house on a property that already had a couple of houses on it. They also had a pond put in behind it. They were very open and welcomed their children to have parties in their finished basement with a full kitchen that opened into the back yard with the pond. I'm not sure, but I don't think they quite knew what their children were up to, all the time. They were very nice to me, and drove me back and forth for Nicky and I to spend time together. Sometimes, they even allowed him to do the driving.
Nicky and I never went "all the way". But we had ample opportunity to do so when I was at his house. In my own house, however, the rules had changed. Previously, I ran wild. There were a lot of things going down during this period of my life that I will write about at another time. The fact that I was raised by wolves is one of them. My mother had instituted a new discipline plan, kind of like closing the barn door after the horse had been let out. This plan was nowhere in evidence when I needed it, but now that I had turned a new leaf, I suddenly had restrictions. And I was not used to restrictions, or rules, or any kind of discipline in general after my father moved out.
One of the restrictions was that I was not allowed to have a boy in my bedroom with the door closed. Another restriction was that I was not allowed to have any friend in the house if my mother was not home. I tried to go along with it, I really did.
My mother worked third shift every night except Saturday and Sunday. That meant that Monday after school she was actually awake during the day. One Monday, I got home from school and was working on my homework. My mother had gone out with a friend, and I was home by myself that afternoon. There was a knock on the door, and when I answered it, Nicky was standing there. He had brought over a tan suede jacket, with fringe. I have no idea where he got it, I only knew at the time that he brought a present unlike anything anyone had ever given me, and it wasn't even my birthday. It almost matched the one that he always wore.
I remember thinking how uncomfortable it was with us standing on the front porch talking, and he didn't seem to be going anywhere. I don't think he had even been inside my house before, although I had been going to his house on a regular basis for months. Never once thinking about the new rules, I asked him to come in. And then invited him upstairs to my room. There were no intentions other than entertaining him the same way he had entertained me in his bedroom when we were studying. I was so excited by the jacket, and him just stopping by, and really didn't think anything of it. My bedroom was the only place that was mine in a family with no personal space and no boundaries.
I'm sure I was trying on my new jacket with fringe, and admiring it in my full length mirror, when all of the sudden my mother came home. I didn't realize she was home until it was way too late to get Nicky out of the front door. All of the sudden all the new rules went crashing through my head, and how much trouble I was going to be in and I had No-Idea-What-To-Do! So I shoved Nicky in the closet and told him to hide and be quiet, and I went downstairs.
I have never been a good liar, I have no poker face. Apparently when I went downstairs, my panic was written all over my face. My mother took one look at me wouldn't take "nothing is wrong" for an answer. She stomped through the house, looking for trouble. My bedroom was the first at the top of the stairs. She went into my room and immediately took in the new coat on the bed. She opened the closet door, and there was Nicky hiding in my closet with his eyes closed. She shrieked, "Get out of my house!" and the poor kid ran for his life. Amazingly, she let him go.
I was in a lot a trouble, but not as much as I thought I would be. Ultimately, my mother believed me that nothing had happened. She didn't really hold a grudge against Nicky, either.
When I was finally able to talk to Nicky again, I asked him why he had his eyes closed when my mother opened the closet. Do you remember being really little and playing hide and go seek? Do you remember being so young that you thought that if you couldn't see someone, they couldn't see you either? Maybe that is why peek-a-boo is so funny for very little kids. They really don't think you can see them. When Nicky heard my mother coming up the stairs, and into my room, he closed his eyes. He actually reverted back to childhood, and closed his eyes hoping that if she opened the closet door, she would not be able to see him.
Might I add he was 17 years old at the time, and over a foot taller than my mother? Like I said, I thought he was endearingly goofy. We broke up shortly thereafter, he kind of turned out to be a jerk. In later years he was upgraded to extreme jerk status. I'll write about that another time.
He just happened to have his eyes closed for this picture, which is what made me remember "the incident" to begin with.