I had gone to Manitoba to visit relatives one summer. My cousin, Jane, and I were at a dance in the community center the first time I saw him.
He was standing with a group of his friends, looking at me from across the room. He was tall and lean, with dark hair and flashing eyes. And he wouldn’t stop looking at me.
“Who’s that?” I asked Jane, trying to indicate with my eyes and a subtle nod of my head in his direction.
“Oh, that’s Richard Hardy. He works at the Co-op. Looks as though he likes you!” she teased.
My face grew hot with embarrassment.
“No, he doesn’t! I’m only 15! He’s a lot older than I am,” I stated, wishing I could hide my glaring self-consciousness.
“Yeah, he’s probably about 19 or 20.”
I tried not to look at him that evening but I could feel him staring at me over the next hour or two. Being so much younger than he was, I was certain he wasn’t really going to bother with me anyway. I thought I was safe.
But with one simple request for a dance, he changed both our lives forever.
The breeze coming off the lake drifted in through the open window of Richard’s pickup truck. Reaching past the burger and chips on the dashboard, he grabbed his pack of cigarettes and then turned up the radio as Seals and Crofts began to sing.
“Diamond Girl, you sure do shine, glad I found you, glad you’re mine…”
“That’s what you are to me, you know,” he said. “My Diamond Girl.”
I felt myself blushing as I looked down, self-consciously flicking the filter of my cigarette over and over again.
Putting a finger under my chin, he tilted my face upward and gazed lovingly into my face. Stroking my hair and my cheek, Richard said, “I worship you. I adore you. I need you, my Diamond Girl.” And as he laid the gentlest of sweet kisses on my lips, I knew he meant every word.
“You’re so beautiful,” he continued, “Those eyes…I can’t forget those incredible blue eyes— and your…