But I digress, today we’re talking about another vacation and a very different beach—a beach in my distant past. A beach packed with bikini-clad bodies, where insulated cups concealed more than lemonade, and base thumped from the cars cruising past. And boys. Cute boys everywhere! Yes, I’m talking about—Spring Break!
It was my first year away at college and my BFF and I headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Our first day on the beach, a boy with a Harrison Ford-ish, crooked smile plopped down on the sand beside me and didn’t leave my side for the rest of the week. Rich was nice and funny and one of the best-looking guys I’ve ever seen in real life.
|Valerie and Virginia, my BFF Jen in the back and that's Rich sitting next to me on the far right.|
We spent every waking moment together playing in the waves, hanging with our friends or just sitting on the beach sharing details about our lives. One starlit night he told me that the first time he saw me, he knew if he didn’t talk to me, he would regret it for the rest of his life. *Sigh* I just knew I’d found the boy of my dreams. And when we discovered we were both from Ohio and our schools were within a few hours of each other, we agreed it was fate and promised to visit at least once a month and talk on the phone every night.
But faster than I could get the sand out of my clothes, reality set in. This was back in the early 90’s. There were no cell phones or internet, which means no texting, emailing or free long distance. My roommate and I shared one phone with no answering machine and no call waiting. So, while she was talking to her boyfriend for hours on end, I was biting my nails off, dying to know if Rich had tried to call. When we did finally connect, every minute we spent talking on the phone cost money—precious spending money neither of us had to spare.
A few weeks after spring break, Rich made the drive from Ohio University to see me at Miami U. The drive took him over four hours. (No Googlemaps or GPS to warn him ahead of time how long the trip would actually take.) We had a fun weekend, but it was clear that musty old dorm rooms and sorority parties couldn’t compare to our week in the carefree sunshine. Our romance soon fizzled out.
My fourteen-year-old niece told me how she met a boy on vacation in South Carolina last month. They text almost every day, send each other pictures, email and even video chat. Will they fall in love and live happily ever after? At fourteen, a long-term friendship is more likely. But it did make me wonder if things would’ve turned out differently for Rich and I if we’d had the same world-shrinking communication tools. Or if vacation romances are meant to be just that—a perfect moment in time that can’t be replicated in the harsh light of reality.
Your turn! Have you had a crazy, intense romance while on vacation or at camp? How did it turn out?