I was driving past a local high school just after the last of the mini vans and SUVs had spirited the kids off to karate, baseball, or dance lessons, but the traffic was still slow.
About 50 feet ahead I saw a teenage boy and girl stopped on the sidewalk.
They caught my attention because the boy was looking around, suspiciously I thought, in all directions. Then he jumped down from the sidewalk to the long grass and bent over. No doubt, earlier that day he had hidden some prescription drugs he had stolen from the medicine cabinet at home, or maybe that’s where he stashed his pot.
Maybe he had a bottle of wine or vodka waiting there, grabbed from dad’s downstairs bar.
He jumped back up on the sidewalk and from behind his back he brought out a bouquet of wildflowers he had picked and gave them to the young lady. She smelled them, pulled them to her chest and then gave him a quick hug.
I quickly looked away for two reasons. First, this was a personal, intimate moment that was only for them to share.
Second, I was embarrassed at where my thoughts had gone with these two young people on a sunny June day.
I am a romantic Pisces, a writer of dreamy love poems and tender country-western lyrics. When did I become so cynical that I didn’t see the obvious, but instead was led down the wrong path?
I realized now why he was looking around. If he had been spotted by some jocks giving flowers to a girl, he would have been the brunt of no end of jokes. If one of her friends had seen him, it would have been all over Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat before they got to the end of the block.
I suppose I have seen too many lead stories about kids dying from overdoses or getting swarmed and beaten in parks or on beaches. I read about them stealing cars and killing their friends while they are high or drunk. I guess I forgot about the majority that still live happy teenage lives.
I recalled a June day many years ago walking home from school beside a girl I had a ‘crush’ on. Most of the walk was in silence, maybe a word or two about a teacher or the weather. But when we came to the corner, we smiled and went separate ways.
What if I had been as bold as this young Romeo?
What if I had jumped that ditch on Roberts Road and plucked a wild rose or a handful of daisies and gallantly offered them to her saying, “These are for you!” I wonder what might have been.
But that was long ago and far away. I think we only have a few chances in life to pick wildflowers for our sweethearts. Spend less time with TV and more time picking flowers.
At least that’s what McGregor says.