When my daughter, Huh, was in the 7th grade I remember her occasionally coming home from school and talking about a David that she’d met.  It was exciting for her to be meeting kids who didn’t go to the same elementary school that she had.  She, of course, met lots of  kids and settled into Jr. High life quite comfortably.

I kept hearing about the David who could sing.  Whenever there was a school talent show David was the favorite act.  Huh would come home from school and tell me what a great singer she thought he was and how the whole school cheered whenever he walked onto the stage.  I tried to keep all of her friends straight in my mind, but it was difficult because, at that time, she wasn’t the type to bring her friends home with her.  I just had to hear about them when I asked about her day after she got home from school.  

There were a few Davids and I kept getting them mixed up.  She would have to correct me, “No, Mom, David Z. is the one who we played basketball with after school, David M. is the one who always asks me to do the “Running Man” and David Archuleta is the one who can sing.”

“Oh.”

Silly me for never being able to keep them all straight.  When American Idol became a big hit Huh and a few other girls told David Archuleta that he should go on the show.  He always said no.  He was so shy.  At 9th grade graduation Huh pointed out her friends to me so that I could finally put a face to the names.  “That’s Austin.  That’s Whitney.  That’s David–the David who can sing.”

Huh didn’t realize at 9th grade graduation that that would be the last time she would be with her group of friends in a school setting.  I had remarried during the summer break before Huh’s 9th grade year and we had moved.  Both Huh and Mack had chosen to stay with their old school, but after one year of a twenty-five minute commute they both decided at the last minute to switch to the schools closer to us.  

Huh kept in touch with most of her friends from her former school, though that contact became less and less as she got involved at her new school and made new friends.  One day she came to me and said, “Mom, remember David Archuleta?  The David who can sing?  He’s on American Idol!”  We had watched the show a few times, but it wasn’t something we tried to watch regularly–until David Archuleta was on it.  Suddenly it became our new interest.  It makes it more interesting when you know one of the contestants.

Huh watched it in the beginning with us.  She even sent David a text that said, “I thought you said you would never go on that show.”

The answer back:  “Well…ya know…”

As time went on Huh became more and more disturbed by all of the attention David was receiving.  She even stopped watching the show with the rest of us, but would still ask us the results after each evening.  She kept worrying that David would change, that all of the attention would go to his head.  She remembered the shy kid who was nice.  She didn’t want him to become some stuck-up teen star. 

 We followed the show to the end and got caught up in the voting frenzy.  Everyone in our family called in votes.  I even phoned in one vote just so I could say that I had voted.  Then it was over.  David took second.  Our lives got back to normal, but David’s life was forever changed.  He was a star now with a huge contract and a very busy life.  He no longer attended the high school.  There was no more contact with David.

Fast forward to last Saturday night.  Huh was asked to her former High School’s Senior Ball by one of the kids she knew there.  Dances here are big deals.  The kids do a “day” activity as part of their date before getting ready for dinner and the dance in the evening.   The “day” activity for Huh’s group consisted of meeting at a church (to use the gym inside) for various games.  It turns out that David Archuleta was in town and had asked a date to Senior Ball and was a part of the group.

David arrived a little later than everyone else and was greeting those in the group that he knew.  Huh stood quietly waiting for him to notice her so that she could greet him too.  She wasn’t sure he would recognize her because she has changed her hair style since switching schools.  He glanced at her and then continued greeting others without saying anything to her.  She waited until he was finished then punched him in the arm and said, “Fine, don’t talk to me, jerk!”

David looked at her, then his eyes got big and he said, “Oh. My. Gosh.  Huh!  C’mere!”  And he pulled her into a big hug.

After the hug Huh decided to be accusatory, “Thanks for disappearing on me!”

“Me disappearing?  You’re the one who disappeared!  All of a sudden you moved and everybody was sad.”

The group had a good time playing the games together–basketball, dodge ball, Apples to Apples, and musical chairs.  David was, of course, in charge of the music for musical chairs.  And when they played dodge ball, if David got someone out he would sing, “I got you out,” instead of just saying it.  David was unable to attend the dinner with the group but he joined them again at the dance.  Because of his contract he couldn’t be in the group picture with them.  Huh is unsure if he was even able to have a picture taken with his date.

When Huh was recounting her date to me later I asked her if David had changed.

“Well, he’s trendier now.  He dresses trendier.”

“But, I mean, how is his personality?  Has he changed in that area?”

“No.  He’s still nice.”  She reported that he is still pretty shy too.  When the DJ at the dance played his song “Crush” everyone turned to look at David but couldn’t find him because he’d disappeared.  He was uncomfortable having people stare at him.

Huh is pretty certain there will continue to be no contact from David, he is living his dream right now.  But she is content that, at least for now, he hasn’t changed.  He hasn’t let all of the attention go to his head.  He is still just David.

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