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Posts Tagged ‘high school’

Dear J.

We met when I was in the seventh grade, and you were an eighth-grader. That was twenty years ago. There was always something between us; we were intense, you a Pisces, me a Scorpio. Ain’t it the truth. We talked, we laughed, we flirted, and I was scared. I didn’t know what to do with my body there in its wheelchair, didn’t know how to feel or be pretty in your eyes. But you were a kind high school boy, and said truly meaningful things like, “I really like when you wear that sweater, it makes your boobs look really good.” I am pretty sure we loved each other, in the sweetest, most longing kind of way. Time went by; we went on one date, to the movies to see Claire and Leo kill themselves for love, and you held my hand for the first time on the way home. It took another whole year for our first kiss, even after everything. I have never felt more special.

More time went by, we decided we were not for each other, met, dated, and screwed other people. But it was always there, that chance we had never taken, the secret refuge and promise of nostalgia. You always said you wanted to be married and a dad by the time you were 26, and you were. You are a great dad, even though you and his mom got divorced. Through it all we would touch base sometimes. We always knew the other one was out there, something good, something sweet, somehow ours. You used to call me long distance from overseas when you were in the service and you hated it.

More years went by, and I would hear about you, or see you on Facebook, and there was still that old pull. I asked you, out of the blue, to go out of town with me, and you wanted to, but had just started a new job, and couldn’t get away. But you wanted to, you said so, and I believed you.

You got a new phone this summer and texted me from your new number. We had maybe not really talked in ten years or so. You finally admitted that you had unresolved feelings for me, how much you wished we had taken bigger steps in our relationship, and how you thought of me so much. You said if we had gone out of town you would have taken your chance to make love,with me, and love and love and love with me. I asked you if you realized you are the person that other than my family has been in my personal interior life the longest, and wasn’t it great to know we still had each other in some way? You said you did, and yes, it was, and like me, you were glad and thankful.

We made plans to see each other shortly after that, when you were going to be in ____, an hour away, for a week-long work conference. We were going to meet here, at my house, alone and finally adults, on a Friday night. I cleaned the house from top to bottom and put on makeup. And all that day, you did not answer my calls or my texts. You did not come. You did not call or text, or make any contact with me. No excuses, no stories, nothing. I was sure it was because something happened with your son, or to you. You would never do that to me. Not the boy I knew, with those beautiful deep brown eyes. The one I had known for so long, and who maybe loved previous teenage me. I preferred to imagine you in some emergency, and was prepared to give you enough time to get in touch.

Weeks went by. No word. Casually, I saw a comment you posted on someone’s FB. With a sense of disbelief, I clicked on your name, because it meant that clearly you were right there where you had always been, and not forgivably run off the road, in a ditch and then in traction. And I saw your status, saying how happy and in love you were, and I saw your new girlfriend.

I just don’t understand. Did you decide it wasn’t worth it, that the chemistry was not enough, that out twenty-year history was not worth a returned phone call, or a straight answer? I will never know for sure, because I will never ask you, and because it doesn’t really matter. You aren’t who I thought you were. You are not the man you say you strive to be.

You wouldn’t believe it if I told you, but I’m not really angry anymore. I’m not hurt that you treated me the way you did this summer. I am very hurt, though (and you deserve to know and hear this) that you did not respect me or everything that had been between us. I am sad that I feel now that I never really knew you at all, and that when I look back on all those sweet, fond, innocent, exciting, charged, tender, funny, laughing, sexy, patient, stolen moments, they are tarnished now, and kind of empty. You have stolen away the brightness and warmth that you yourself gave me, and that I had made a part of myself for so long.

Goodbye. You made this choice. I don’t need to know why. But I hope you stay gone. I won’t try to find you.

A.

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I am an adult. The time when you are awkwardly squirming to see if you can get your knee to brush against someone has long passed. A good 15 years passed. That’s why it was so odd that I found someone recently trying to do that to me. And they were even older than I was – farther from their teenhood. Farther from years where it may have been an acceptable means of displaying sexual tension. At first I was kind of grossed out by this awkward display of teen-like affection.

But as I was walking home alone, I had to appreciate it for the memories it brought up. When you are a teenager, these moments are thrilling. Even if you aren’t into the person, there is a least a story to tell your friends. “omigod they were totally trying to touch me when they passed me in the bleachers!”

You were one of the best examples of this awkward inches-from-each-other-really-wanting-to-touch-each-other thing.

I have a heart around your picture in my 8th grade yearbook. You were the grade below me, but you probably stayed back, so I bet you were older. You were super skinny and really really tall. I was short so it probably was amplified by my shortness, but you seemed like a total beanpole. You would pass in the hallway and my friend and I would whisper to each other “so cute!”

You had a blonde bowl haircut. That described everyone in my town though, so it didn’t make you stand out. I just still picture you like that now. An adult with a 7th grader in the 90’s haircut.

Somehow I took you to my semi formal. I actually don’t know how I arranged that.

I was thrilled to be dancing with you. Holding you close. Hoping my hair was in place. Hoping my bobby pins weren’t poking your chest. Hoping I smelled good to you. Hoping my dress was short enough, but not too short.

After the dance we “watched a movie” at my best friend’s house. That basically means you put a movie on and spend the next hour and forty five minutes trying to discern what every millisecond of movement means. Trying to inch closer with an exhale? Trying to move away with a stretch?

I don’t think we took it anywhere from there but even that one evening of crazy tension and eventual hand-holding-under-the-blanket was exhilarating.

Even though you are kind of gross and old fashioned now, I’m glad that you were a young crush. Back when innocence made a simple brush of flesh more thrilling than anything you can imagine now. Back when it wasn’t some odd creepy thing an older man does when your skirt is too short for them to contain themselves.

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I had another dream with you.

First I was on a hill in the dirt and I was being dragged down the hill by a baby carriage that I was trying to hold onto and not let go of, because I didn’t want the baby to get hurt. But it was dragging and dragging me down the hill, and I was running to hold on and dust and rocks and twigs were everywhere. When we got the bottom of the hill, my mom was the one in the stroller.

Then I realized I was sort of running from something.

I ran to your house and you and your dad were inside the kitchen. I told you I was in a rush, and there was this man in your house. I didn’t trust him and he made me feel really uncomfortable so I asked you to ask him to leave. You wouldn’t help me and told me that I shouldn’t have a problem with this guy and you and your dad were both jeering me for being nervous about him. But I knew he was a bad man who was going to do something bad and neither of you would help me and you both also thought I was stupid and you were laughing at my fears, so I ran and ran away and I couldn’t believe you were letting the stranger stay over me.

I don’t actually think that you were protecting him and not me.

But I did trust you.

I would run to you.

And all I ever wanted in the world was for you to protect me.

I know you can’t or won’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.

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You told me you had a girlfriend, but it blew my mind because you ALWAYS told me about how much you hated her, and how annoying she was. It just surprised me.

You called me late at night telling me you loved me, and you couldn’t wait to break up with her. Then one night we were playing 20 questions, and I said, “What’s the worst thing about me?” and you quickly replied, “That you might not like me any more.” Honestly I thought I was over you, because I went months without talking to you. I thought I didn’t need you, until you showed me why I fell in love with you in the first place.

Now that you guys are broken up, you barely talk to me. I mean we have lunch together, and everyone in our whole high school can tell that we have chemistry. We are just alike, attractive and funny. We are the cutest couple, and everyone says so. And two weeks ago when you came over to my house, you kissed me, and then you didn’t talk to me, until today, the first day of school, when we sat with my friends at our normal lunch spot.

On our way out to the buses, you told me that you wanted me to sit with you tomorrow and that you wanted to randomly start making out. I love you, and I don’t want to wait for you to get the balls to ask me out. I mean im not the dork I used to be. Im going to move on, and find someone, who will give me all of their love. I don’t want to wait, when you don’t want anything, but sex.

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We used to sit in band rehearsal and draw on each others sneakers.
We used to swim in your neighbors pool, yearning for the moments our skin would accidentally touch underwater.
Someone told me you looked a little bit like you should have been my brother, not my boyfriend. But I thought that would turn out okay for how cute and blonde our babies would be. Creepy!

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I lost the only love note you ever gave me. It was the best love note I ever got. Most emotional. Most intense. Most real. Most true. I put it in the blue cup on my windowsill. At some point, I must have gotten worried it would fade in the sun, so I moved it to my box of notes. Under the bed. That must be what happened because the only other terrifying possibility is that my mom found it. Read it. And threw it away?

I had a confidence in our love that I have never been able to replicate. I was so sure that it was forever that I wasn’t jealous when you told me about girls you had crushes on. I wasn’t jealous when you went away to college and were surrounded by other women. Older women. More experienced women. I wasn’t jealous when you dated other women. Women you really liked a whole lot and had a lot of feelings for. It didn’t matter to me, because I knew we would ultimately be together. We had to be.

I almost feel like I wasn’t even jealous when you married her. I still didn’t think it was real.

Now I’m not sure if it was the best love note ever because I can’t reread it repeatedly. We didn’t have electronic archives of every emotion back then. We only had rereading the note until the corners were bent and the creases started permanently fading the ink. Maybe it was a horrible love note and you weren’t even that into me. It’s lost forever though now, so I’ll just never know. I guess getting jealous wouldn’t have helped, but perhaps it was foolish of me to not see. I sometimes feel more mournful about the lost note than the lost love. However brief, that emotion was real and spoken. Not lost forever.

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I met you at the beach. Of course. Like a movie. That’s what teenagers are supposed to do. All my years of beach going with my family, I hoped I would meet some tan lifeguard or something. But we always went to beaches that were way too secluded – no other teens in sight. But I was dead set of some Sweet Valley High-esque moment sometime in my life.

So it happened when I was vacationing with a friend’s family. They knew the sort of beach a tanned teen would be at.

We spotted you on the first day of our week there. We pretended to play catch near you and miss catching the ball so that it would roll towards where you played paddle ball with your little brother. We crept closer and closer to you using this well-known teen stalking method. We pretended to take pictures of each other with you in the background so we could capture the moment – you without your shirt on in the sand.

It’s really quite embarrassing looking back. But somehow our antics worked and we ended up hanging out with you on the beach. Until your parents dragged you away.

Your last night there, you invited us to a party. But my dad came to town that night and decided 15 was too young for such shenanigans.

I was devastated. I got your address and we became pen-pals. You would send me pictures. You in your football uniform. Our town was too tiny to have a football team, so this added to the allure.

I can’t believe we actually wrote letters back and forth.

What did I think was going to happen? What did my parents think? You had sloppy handwriting and poor grammar. I guess we flirted in a way, and then it just faded. I wonder if it would have if we had gone to that party. Had a proper summer boy on the beach kiss. I would have really thought you’d be my husband someday then. Alas. I’ll just have to wait year after year after year for a new beach boyfriend.

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Your photo hung in my locker.
Your doodles were all over my notebook.
Your signature was in my yearbook.
Your phone number was memorized.

You tucked my hair behind my ear.
You pushed me up against my locker.

I was so afraid.
But I wanted you so much.
I wished I was older. Older enough to handle it.
But now that I’m old enough to handle you, we don’t fit.
Don’t match. Wouldn’t belong together.

Maybe teenagers are just less judgmental.
They love easy. No discernment.

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Has somebody written about this already? Does anybody else want this? Would you do this with me?

I want to make-out to a mixtape of my favorite make-out songs. While it plays for half an hour or more.

I want to make this tape with you or for you. I want some songs to be from when we were teenagers (because we are the same age and grew up in the ’80’s and ’90’s) and some songs to be ones that teenagers listen to now. Because I’m older, lots of times passion happens with mad strong kissing and grabbing of body parts. Quickly getting down to it. Rolling and sweating in the bed. Two strong flexible people. I like that too.

I want the discipline of a make-out session where you keep your clothes on and there’s some drool involved and concentration. Ebbs and flows. Some embarrassment. Hesitant tongues.

I want to be 15 years old again in that way. Do you want that?

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We sat next to each other in first grade.

You used to share your crayons with me. I wonder why the teacher pushed our desks together into pairs like that. I thought you were kind of adorable, I think. I mean, I felt some sort of rush when you leaned towards my desk and offered me a crayola. Not the generic kind, of course.

You stayed back a grade though, so that was that.

But in middle school they changed the bus routes, and we ended up on the same bus. It was a small enough school that being on the same bus meant some quality time every morning and afternoon.

I thought of you as a pretty good buddy. You may have had a crush on me that whole time, but I was blissfully unaware.

You eventually invited me to a dance.

I love dancing, so obviously I obliged.

I can’t remember what I wore. Which is strange because teenage girls are supposed to remember these moments.

Somehow all of our friends were going in a limo that was full, so you got a limo that only you and I rode in. That was the beginning of the awkward. The dance was fun, but I know that I danced a little too close to a previous fling. He had gone with his girlfriend, but held me a little too close while Jewel played. We had that sweaty minty nervous closeness and it made me want him again so badly. Rumors abound that his girlfriend was pregnant though. I don’t remember how we got to the after party or home after that, because I think the limo was gone by then. I hope you didn’t spend too much money on that dance or think we were going to make out. I don’t think I have a single picture of it. You just can’t fake which sweaty teenage boy you want to stand too close too when fucking Jewel is on.

I’m sorry anyway, though. I’m sure I was more preoccupied with whether or not he was breaking up with his girlfriend at the after party than I was with whatever movies and popcorn and teenage happenings were right in front of me.

Fucking Jewel.

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