My first failure at romance

I talked to a boy in church whose hockey team had the perfect season this year… until the championship game, which they lost to a team they had already defeated during the regular season… and in double overtime, when the losing team was a man down! Ouch. That hurts, especially since the family had been praying through the whole season that this would be a great season, that the boys would do great and be a good example to everyone.

I talked to the parents and the kid and reminded them that in my life I have learned more from my failures than from my successes. Now, I know that this is such a cliché, but it is so true for me.

Now, I don’t know that this is scientifically true of my life, but I bet you I have had a lot more failures than successes. First off, I was not very tall, never thought I was good looking (no one did!). I was so thin some people called me “skinny a–” when they got mad at me. I was not allowed to play sports like most of the kids I knew were and when I took on the toughest kid in the neighborhood, the best I did was bloody him into a tie. I never won a decisive victory in all of our fights!

I was not “popular,” I was not rich, I walked to school and I wore “hand-me-downs.” I lived in a wooden house, albeit big, still not good enough to give me bragging rights, and I shared a room with some of my brothers throughout the whole time I lived at home.

So with all that impressive “pedigree,” I was surprised when, still in my teens, this one cute girl from our neighborhood sent message that she was interested in me. I will spare you the details but on a given Monday evening, after I fretted the whole week because I had no idea what to do when alone with a young lady, we “scheduled an encounter,” like we used to say in Brazil. When we said that, we all knew it was an encounter of the romantic nature, but most of us didn’t even know what it meant.

I heard that she had an adopted dad who was very protective of her. I was scared, but sure enough, I hopped on my bike that night and went to a certain dimmed corner of the street. We were carrying on, just warming up to each other, I remember that she had strapped her radio on the passenger seat of my bike, when all of a sudden I hear this a coming toward us. She screamed, “It’s my dad! Run!” As my son would say: “Failure!”

I jumped on my bike like a bank robber would a getaway horse in the old days. I heard a man’s voice screaming “#%&*+” and something about getting in the car, so I pedaled my bike as fast as I could, down the dirt road while the headlights trailing me like a laser beam. Then, I heard tires screeching. Not mine, the car’s. Mine were already down the deep trench they had dug across the road to fix it. I heard radio parts flying everywhere. I picked up the bike, out of the mud, put it back on the other side of the road and rode home. You would think there was a million dollar reward at the end of that race.

The next day, early in the morning, I examined the bike, which miraculously had survived its first romance going bad, I looked for the radio to no avail, and returned home to write love notes for weeks on end without ever hearing back again from my “secret lover.”

My failure that night taught me two things: the first was, a radio is not as good as a flashlight when trying to flee from a furious father… More importantly, I learned to use all means necessary to befriend the father first, before I even had illusions of “encounters” with a young girl. And that practice paid off much later on when my father-in-law and I became the best of friends!

Ivanildo C. Trindade