It is too bad that the world can’t have the tenor of a Simon and Garfunkle song. They are easy to listen to and don’t jolt you. There are no loud crashes of cymbals or gunshots.
There is a song, “Cecilia”, that, when I hear it, my mind goes back to when I was a senior in high school.
I needed a date.
No one had asked me, so I was left to my own devices. I knew my mom would make my dress. I was nominated for Queen, but knew I wouldn’t get it.
When I was about 10, my oldest sister was nominated for Homecoming Queen. I went to the football game, where the queen would be crowned. As usual, I didn’t sit in the bleachers with my parents. I was a wanderer.
I walked around and watched people. I was by myself.
As halftime neared, I took my place, standing by the fence, as the convertibles with the candidates for queen, slowly came by and were escorted out of the cars.
I was nervous as all get out as my sister, in.her formal she had made, complete with a hoop slip, took her place.
I was so nervous that I had tears coming down my cheek. A couple of high school girls saw me and asked me if I was okay. “Yes,” I said. “My sister is up for queen and I want her to win.”
There was an audible, “aaah,” from the girls.
“Which one is your sister?”
“I want her, too,” the girl said.
After my sister was crowned, queen, I ran to where the cars would bring the girls. I waited for her to get out of her car and ran up to her. Still crying, I hugged her.
The next day, I wore her crown and her hoop slip around the house.
But back to “Cecelia.”
The summer of my senior year, I met a guy. I was dipping ice cream at the UDF, when this sun-tanned, hunk of a guy walked in and ordered a malt.
It was the day I got my senior pictures taken, so my hair looked fine … Mighty fine.
Thank goodness for cash register receipt paper. That is what I wrote down my phone number on.
I didn’t think he would call, but he did. The next day.
He had graduated from Woodward High School and was off to Xavier University to play football.
We dated that summer. He was very nice and we had fun, but he wasn’t “the one” for me and neither was I “the one” for him.
Eventually, he was busy with football and I was busy trying to be a twirling senior who drove a fire-engine read station wagon.
But when I didn’t have a date for Homecoming, I called Ben … That was his name. I asked him to go and he said yes.
I could tell that he wasn’t into it. But he was a good guy. He was a poor college student and didn’t have money to go to dinner or do an of the other things that constituted a big night.
I, in my formal, and he in his suit, sat in my driveway and chatted. The radio was on. “Cecelia,: by Simon and Garfunkle was playing on the radio.
“That’s the song that was on the first time I made love to Debby,” he said.
Woe, I thought.
I don’t recall what I said. Maybe I smiled. Perhaps I looked like I had been shot.
It did cast a shadow on the evening.
We went to the dance. We danced some. But I felt strange. Unsure. Unsettled.
I made myself not cry.
It wasn’t that I was in love or anything. It was just a but of a jolt of a thing to hear before we went to the dance, where, sure enough, I didn’t get Queen, like my sister had.