Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reckless

I was such a fool. I mean, seriously. I knew he liked my best friend in "that way," so why did I even bother?

I was friends with him. He was one of my best guy friends. He looked at me as just a friend. I knew that. I would never NOT know that. I could never not know that.

My best friend didn't like him. Not that way. But she flirted. It was fun. We were in high school. Why wouldn't she flirt? I would have. Wouldn't you?

And yet, there I was. In his bedroom.

He kind of had his own apartment. His parents - his father, at least - lived upstairs. Maybe it was his mother? I honestly don't think I'd ever met either of them.

He was so reckless. The bad boy. The bad boy who did what? Nothing, truly. He wasn't that bad. He just liked to pretend he was. Right?

I mean, sure, he smoked. But so many kids our age did. Did he drink? I don't know. Didn't everyone? I didn't, not really. Maybe sometimes when we had a sleepover, or we all kind of hung out at someone's house. Safest place to be.

He was never there. He wasn't friends with that crowd. Maybe some of the girls. But the guys, nah. They wanted nothing to do with him.

And if my *other* closest guy friend from that time were to speak to me now (if I could find him, but that's a whole 'nother story) he'd bring up the old days. Mention how wrong I was to be friends with him. Or something. It'd be the kind of thing that stuck with me forever, if those friends all had. I'm sure.

And nobody really knows this. It wasn't something I freely shared. He was such a tease.

My parents hated him. My mom, especially. Never trusted him. The other friend, with my life. This one, not so much. But she'd let him come over and watch movies. Late into the night, on the living room floor. Nothing ever happened.

Hair tousling, laying on one another. Resting. Bodies touching. But nothing there. Slight pulsing through my own, thinking, what if? Maybe some day? And yet knowing. Knowing I was "just the friend" and he had much more in mind for other girls.

But yet, I stayed. I stayed friends with him. Through much of college, even. Probably wrote unrequited poetry about him. Ask my roommate. And current best friend. She would remember me, sitting at my desk, writing. "And who's this one about, Ang?" she'd ask. Her - and only her [minus one or two friends later in life, and my cousin's husband who passed - why a nickname brings forth so much memory for me - amazing isn't it?] - nickname for me.


And yet, there I was. In his bedroom.

We watched television for a while. A movie? Two? I have no idea. We made silly bets with one another. He knew he toyed with my heart. Tugged on the strings a little too much. Laughed. Smiled. Loudly. Too loudly in the small space that encompassed us both.

I think back and say to myself ... if my daughter finds a friend like him, I'll tell her. Warn her. Tell her to walk away. Try to shield her heart from being maimed or broken.

Mine was never truly broken. But maimed - sure - just a bit.


And yet, there I was. In his bedroom.

We shut the TV. Lay in the dark. Talking. Laughing. Talking. He leaned over. I can still remember it. I was 16? 17? 18 - even? We were so close. TOO close. Talking about a foolish bet. A joke. Somehow it wasn't funny anymore. His breath drawing closer. We'd been this close before. But this was different now. Why? I don't know. Or I do. I knew something was going to happen. Not sure why it would, or what he was thinking. Planning? Something?

He leaned in and kissed me.

Somehow, suddenly. Over me. On his bed. There was nowhere else to sit.

A kiss.

We'd kissed before. Like friends.

This? This was not a friendly kiss.

I knew he did not want more. I knew I could have, but wouldn't as he didn't.

My first real kiss. The first time I felt passion, or compassion, in that certain way.

Why? I have no idea.

It never happened again. I knew it never would.

We stayed close friends. Went to separate colleges, but close enough that now and then he'd come to visit me. We'd hang out together, with my roommate (that best girlfriend he always had his eye on), with other friends.

We lost touch, eventually. I stumbled across someone who knew him at their school. Random. Ironic? Something of a not normal nature.

Even more so? She was dating him. Or she had been.

What has happened to him since then?

If I only knew.

====

This memory DOES still affect me. You can surely tell that. My guess is that while you were reading it, you, yourself, wondered what happened. Did the relationship move on? Why is she talking about this now?

I have no idea.

Maybe because I recently wrote about the start of my relationship with my husband. Maybe because at that point I kind of wanted to skim through old (handwritten) journals to see what my thoughts, dreams and life were like back in the day. My ex-boyfriend on my mind a bit. And then this person - from my past. Sometimes I would have the dream that I would run into him somewhere. Show him how much he gave up when he didn't want me.

Isn't that often the case? Hasn't every woman or man had an imaginary high school reunion where you go back and are ... choose any or all ... thinner, richer, prouder, more famous, happier, brighter or whatever else you can think of to fill in that blank? Whether you just want these things for yourself, so everyone can see you for who you are, or you want to be more of those things over the people who missed out on you, who you lost touch with, who you think of now and then and say - where'd you go?

This also
kind of makes me want to pull out my high school yearbook. Read what he, and all the other people in my life who were SO essential, so important to me back then, had written remind me of how special I was, how incredible, how our friendship would be forever. How it would NEVER die.

And yet, as we all know, so many of them do. They fade away as we move on to college, the work-force, families of our own.

There are ways to track people down. The Internet. Facebook. Twitter. Classmates and other connecting websites. I avoid many of them like the plague, but love when my mom connects with someone that I DO care about. Someone I DO wonder about. Like an old girlfriend I lost track of when we both worked and went to school in Manhattan. She now has two kids, me my one. Amazing how things change.

Why did I flash back to this? Why do I remember it the way that I do?

I can see the room, I don't even have to close my eyes to bring myself back there. I can feel the emotion, the anxiety, that pulsing. I never told anyone that he had kissed me. Why would I? Then it'd be laughed off, made fun of, maybe? Maybe he even knew that I'd never talk about it? Maybe that's why he did it?

Whatever it was, why-ever [so not a word, I know] it happened, it is something I'll carry with me, tucked away for always, as it was really and truly the first time I'd been kissed like that. In such a way that for a sweet second, everyone else in the world, all the people we knew, the reasons that were there or not there, mattered not, and all that mattered was the simplest kiss.
For there I was. In his bedroom.

This post is in response to this week's memoir prompt at The Red Dress Club.

14 comments:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Okay, totally off topic, but you cashed in some swagbucks didn't you? Whatcha getting?

I definitely think this piece is something most can identify with in some way.

Certainly I have those I still wonder about. One in particular I recently found out died, about a year ago, of a heart attack. I was filled with such sadness to find out, even though I hadn't talked to him in 15+ years.

Also. Moms are always right about those kinda boys.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shell said...

Definitely have someone like this in my past. Maybe more than one someone.

Well-done, my friend!

Tracy said...

Oh did I feel this post...completely. So wonderfully written and how it ring oh so true. ugh

caitlinsconcepts said...

So strange the way our memories work. There are.. were? a lot of boys I remember feeling those things for, and yet, when I look back on it now, I don't know why. They certainly had done nothing to warrant it. But sometimes... sometimes you wonder "what if?" It always makes me glad they never panned out - I think, in most cases, I would have wound up miserable. And, of course, without my beautiful boys! ;)

I loved reading this.. thank you for sharing!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I remember those times. There are a couple boys I remember like that.

MultitaskMumma said...

Your post brought back memories of my best friend in high school. My prom date. The guy I could never have. Looking back i remember my desperation. And I wouldn't change a thing.

Cheryl said...

Ah, the unrequited love of a good friend. Sigh. It's amazing how some things stick with you.

adrienzgirl said...

Great writing my friend! Great writing. I was there with ya. Just so you know, he did like-like you. Boys don't kiss girls, or hang out with girls like that if they don't. He may not have wanted to take it any further. Didn't want to lose your friendship, didn't want to lose his poaching ground for other friends, whatever the reason. But he did LIKE LIKE you. Period.

moveovermarypoppins.com said...

I had one of those... it went a little differently, but the general trajectory is familiar.

I found him on facebook, and debated for a long time before deciding to friend him.

In the end, it was... anticlimactic.

But he stayed with me, the idea of him stays with me still.

Sandra said...

Was riveted to your tale. I think so many women can relate. We've all had that boy that we shouldn't have been with. I tracked mine down on Facebook, and whenever he sends me a private message or a "poke," I become that 16 year old all over again.
Fantastic post! Brilliant.

Karen Peterson said...

This just sent a dozen memories flashing through my mind. Mine never kissed me, though, and I'm glad.

Jenna said...

oh man. BEEN THERE. I totally get this post.

Thank you for writing a little bit about your story, and I will read what you linked to as well. I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on why you write it too!

kate hopper said...

I love this post and your wonderful dialogue. I look forward to reading more.

~Kate

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