As a student of life and a writer (of sorts) some of my favorite thoughts are about key moments in my life as well as what I assume happens in others. One such moment of course is the infamous “First Time”. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about that subject recently. You may think its odd that a nearly sixty year old man is suddenly thinking about his first time enough to want to share it with you. But stick with me for a few more sentences and see if you can relate.
The first time is supposed to be special. It is supposed to be a memory that will last a lifetime. I can’t tell you how many hours of thinking and a little desperation went into the preparation for that moment. You go through so many highs and so many valleys.
“This is gonna be amazing!”
“What if I don’t do it right?”
“How can anything go wrong… people have been doing it forever”
“You mess this up boy and everybody is going to know it… you’ll be ruined”
The weeks and days leading up to the magic moment produce heart pounding stress and make you sweat in the middle of a freezing cold room. You focus on small things like sharing special words of reassurance and grasping onto anything that keeps the upcoming day potentially positive. You hope no one can sense the underlying fear as you try and keep the rest of your life balanced.
The day finally comes. You are not ready. But you have spent years building up to this very moment. Its time. The place is selected and you walk up to the reception desk. The clerk looks at you with a mixture of suspicion and maybe a bit of jealousy. She hands you the plastic card with the black strip. You walk slowly to the room that has been designated as “The Place”. The card is in your trembling fingers and you pray it opens the door to paradise.
You slip the card through the reader on the door and you get the magic “green light”. You are in. There is a filled ice bucket with a bottle of fine Champaign sitting next to the bed. You check your breath (Listermints) You do one last glance in the mirror… there is a soft knock at the door…
Those last four steps to the door seem like they are made with boots made of lead. You reach for the handle and pull it down as you open the door…
Outside of the room stands ten guys you haven’t seen in over thirty years holding cases of brewskies, bottles of various kinds of rum and smiles that are familiar from days long ago when you conquered the world together. Your wife of thirty three years holds your hand as you try to hold back the emotions that come from finally seeing guys who were a really important part of growing up in a pretty hard world.
You have just arrived at your first submarine (or any other service related) reunion.
Did you think I was talking about sex???