Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a gangly teenager called Jellyhead. She was a bit of a romantic, and was hoping that one day she would meet a real 'prince' of a man, with whom she would fall in love and live happily ever after. Indeed she did one day meet a prince, though he had a scary-looking mutant toenail, and he had a funny habit of poking his head in and out like a turtle whilst listening to music. He was definitely a prince, though. But that's another story, years down the track.
So anyway.... one New Year's Eve, Jellyhead and her friend Belly went to a celebration in a big public park near the river. There were going to be fireworks, bands playing, and there were even some Tall Ships docked at the wharves that were open to the public. Jelly and Belly had been given permission to go off on their own for a few hours, meeting up with their parents later.
Jelly and Belly were sitting at the water's edge, probably talking about boys, when a clean-cut dark-haired boy in a US navy uniform approached them. Jelly was an innocent young girl but not completely naive - she knew enough to be wary of 'sailor boy'. Yet Sailor Boy politely asked permission to join them, and proceeded to chat warmly with both Jelly and Belly... though Jelly felt instinctively that SB was attracted to her. This may have been complete rot, but she believed this, and it made her heart soar.
Sailor Boy was from Pennsylvania, USA. He told them his hometown, which was located near an Amish community. He was 20, studying science at university. His manners were impeccable; he was clever and funny and charming. He took both Belly and Jelly on a tour of the Tall Ship, and he asked a friend to take a photo of him with Jelly. Altogether Sailor Boy spent about four hours with Belly and Jelly. He never once laid a hand on either girl. He gave each girl a commemorative silver coin from his ship.
Jelly thought about Sailor Boy for months afterwards. She felt so sad that she could never get to know him - he had been like a mirage, a glimpse of something amazing that had disappeared before she could reach it. Mostly, she was not sure she would ever meet someone as honest and good and true as Sailor Boy had seemed to her that night.
For some reason, she has kept that coin to this day. Perhaps it's just a fond memory she wants to preserve. Or perhaps it's to remember that longing, that wondering about the future..... to remind her to always cherish her real-life love - a man who is honest and good and true to the core.
(Fatty - that's you!)