I moved to the big city, sure that I could change my life around with new scenery.
To appease my inner child, I found retail work at a large toy store. Also, it held the promise of college funding if I met a certain set of criteria (which I later learned was near impossible as managers cut my hours when I got close to the achievement).
The closing shift was what I typically worked, which often meant just a bit of overlap with the morning shift.
After a couple of years, I met Damion.
He worked the opening shift, and we’d talk a little in the few hours we worked together.
Damion was terribly immature, but nearly everyone who worked at the toy store was. It was just the sort who were drawn to the place, I guess.
Tall, handsome, with this bright, happy, perfect smile, Damion had me swooning when we talked.
He asked me out for coffee, and I quickly agreed. Unfortunately, the logistics of our would-be date didn’t quite work out. We kept trying to plan a time that would work, and then, suddenly, Damion asked me to Prom.
My brain nearly exploded. I was twenty-four at the time, and I had been sure Damion was at least twenty-two.
With probably little to no tact, I asked him his age.
He had just turned eighteen.
I died a little inside.
He again asked me to Prom, or, he said, if that wasn’t cool enough, I could come cruising in his car with him and his friends instead of going to the dance.
I shuffled off as much embarrassment and guilt as I could, and I came clean with Damion. I explained that I hadn’t realized how young he was, and that he was very nice, but our age range, at this point in our lives, was going to make dating an issue for me.
Thankfully, he took it really well.
And, on the plus side, someone finally asked me to a dance…