Until now, I really did not know how much innocence was being captured in this photograph.
I mean, look at us.
All smiles and bangs and hearts filled with hope.
Little did I know that in less than an hour, our shiny, happy faces would be covered in shaving cream and pond slime.
We would spend the last, first day of high school soaking wet from an early morning swim in the pond.
I can still smell it now. I had to throw away my underwear and socks and my spray painted t-shirt never came clean.
But it was special and I love that someone captured this moment on film. It’s my favorite picture from high school.
I coasted through my last year with passing grades and homecoming court and the superlative for the Most Talented.
I was even voted most likely to become Miss America.
I smile at the thought of that last one-I’m so not Miss America. I would have never pranced around in a bikini and I would have been laughed out of the interview process.
I loved high school.
My senior year flew by in the arms of one boy. He was a sophomore in college and I think I spent my whole year waiting for the weekends. We had fun and while we talked about marriage, I knew I didn’t want to attend East Carolina University when I graduated.
That should have been a big ‘ole sign to me that he wasn’t the one, but it wasn’t.
I visited about 6 schools before I landed on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Small, beautiful, and only a handful of folks from high school were planning on attending.
I loved the idea of starting over in a place that no one knew me. It was an exhilarating thought.
I spent the last year of high school, running from the Lord and at my boyfriend’s pond. We talked about life and marriage and kids and hunting and his dog and where we would build the house.
The hunting and the dog in the house should have been more big ‘ole signs that he wasn’t the one, but he was so nice…
We spent our last summer together, wrapped up in each other. We stopped double dating and the relationship turned a corner.
I really loved him and he loved me, but I think deep down, we both knew my college of choice said more than my words or actions ever could.
I chose Greensboro instead of him. He knew it and I knew it, but we both pretended that we were going to be fine. He only had 2 years of school left and he’d look for an internship near me.
We promised to write letters and call everyday and he said he’d come to UNCG and spend the weekend, but even before I left Rocky Mount for the first time, I knew the truth.
I just needed to get away, long enough to find me.
The me, apart from him…
And the place that had made me.