Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

The Note

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In the fall of 1974, a group formed to attend an October session of Bill Gothard’s Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar at the Civic Center in downtown St. Paul. Cyndie was not only in the group, she offered to drive. It would be my second opportunity to spend time in her proximity and she was a powerful blip on my radar.

On the second to last night, after we pulled out of the parking ramp, a 3-ring binder that someone left on the roof of the car slid off, hit the road and burst into a cloud of pages. What a disaster.

Without wasting a second, Cyndie choreographed a controlled response where we pulled over safely, everyone jumped out (probably dangerously) and chased down pages. Shrieking and laughing, we saved every last page and made it back into the car without further incident.

We drove on as if nothing had happened.

It was such a combination of out-of-control chaos, yet at the same time, calm, controlled recovery, that I struggled to comprehend what I had just experienced. Cyndie didn’t show any sign of stress over the situation. I was captivated by the mastery of her response to the calamity.

I ended up in the passenger seat directly behind the driver in a station wagon packed with bodies. Suddenly, Cyndie’s arm swung around and the huge parcel she carried as a purse landed in my lap.

“Hold this while I drive.” I was instructed.

I’m not sure how I managed it in that car full of rowdy teenagers, but with little light and less space, I decided to write her a note to express how taken I was by her impressive handling of the event and the screaming car-full of panicked kids.

It was a little scrap of paper that I slid into that huge bag, wondering if it would ever be found.

Wanting to convey that I was falling madly in love with her, but not knowing her well enough to justify it, I remember ending it with the precautionary qualification.

“Too mushy?”

The following day, the last one of the seminar, I learned Cyndie did indeed find the note. She handed me an envelope filled with multiple handwritten pages in response.

We were sensing a similar vibe.

Sometime after that, we went on our first date. My mom dropped me off at Cyndie’s house and Cyndie drove us to the Southdale shopping mall. I was fifteen years old, she was sixteen.

Cyndie saved that note I slipped into her purse. Last time she pulled it out again to show me, I had a hard time reading it. I don’t know exactly what that was about. I’m probably just too old now to deal with the fifteen-year-old version of myself.

I’m so grateful that she was able to accurately interpret what I was trying to say that crazy night in the seat behind her in the car.

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Written by johnwhays

December 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

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