My beautiful first volunteer has graciously submitted her story. If you recall, I'm asking for tales of first all-consuming loves. Not crushes (those fleeting fickle things...)not even first boyfriends or girlfriends, but the first one that knocked you off your chair and turned you on so much you had to cross your legs in your desk super hard during homeroom. Whether it was requited or unrequited, positive or negative. Whether it was your best friend or your worst enemy, your cousin or your neighbor. Your Latin teacher or your brother's best friend, I'd love to hear the story. I think it's cathartic for us to release these stories into the wild and allows us to understand the souls we are as adults; the choices we make, the lovers we take...
The first volunteer is J.L. I am so grateful to her for sharing her story and I'd love to hear more. I'll share them, anonymously if you like, here. xoxo
'I have always felt in my life that I don't belong in certain circles. When thinking back on this, I wonder if that's what happened? I wasn't cool enough to hang out with the skater boys that frequented Lincoln Park on the weekends? I know when I had my "cool" boyfriend, I was still on the outs - mostly because I was young and naive and didn't notice when people were sneaking off to do coke in the basement of the Night Owl.... I guess now I am jaded and feel old all the time, but maybe it's for the best - no one will ever break me again.
It was the year of 9th grade, remembering back when it was the cat's meow to cover your books with old grocery bags (yeah, they used to give em out by the truckload, you know) and then draw band names, pictures, sayings, have people sign them. I had a special person in my Latin class that always drew all over mine - I remember specifically it was some sort of superhero slug cartoon, and on all my books he was doing something else. I never drew over them, or too close to them - they were special, a gift he gave to me. He was a shy one, grunge before it was mainstream, skater before it was a million dollar industry, and he tried to teach me how to do ollies, but anyone who knows me knows that was destined to fail. He was a mini Kurt Cobain, and I was so totally in love with him, what happened ruined me for a while. I don't remember how it started, but he would always remark that he hated to talk on the phone, yet, if I hadn't called him daily after school within a half hour of getting home, he would call me and make sure nothing was wrong. We never talked on the weekends, but every single day during the week, we would talk. Sometimes it would be about the new CD's I had just received from that music house, sometimes he would read me lists from the David Letterman book of top tens.
Eventually, though, we needed more than just phone conversations. We started meeting at the park past my parents house - a good 40 minutes for him on his skateboard, but he never once complained. We would walk up to the hill in the back of the playground, the hill my dad and I used to play alligator on, and sit together, sometimes not even talking at all. One weekend it started to rain, and we walked all the way to Polen Farm to sit in the gazebo. He sat behind me, just holding me in his arms, once and a while stroking my arm. I think we sat like that for hours, just staring off into the rain, arms intertwined, both not knowing what to do next. I had braces, bad mall hair I was growing out, and thought, this person thinks I am attractive, this person wants to be close to me so badly that he spends hours just getting to me and back. I thought for the first time I was experiencing real love. It was different than physical - although there was NO problem in that department - he had that mental connection with me, and that was what hurt the worst. We would sneak off in school to just hug each other in a corner of a locker bay, occasionally putting our hands under each other's shirt to gently strum each other's sides with our thumbs. It never went any farther than that physically, and I have no idea why. I would have done anything to be with him, near him, have him love me like I loved him.
Christmas break came and went, talking to each other every day. It was too cold to meet outdoors, so our rendezvous were delayed until spring. He was very brave one day and came right to my house, knowing that my father would be home soon. We stood in my bedroom, holding each other, looking out the window for my dad's car to pull onto the street. It came too soon. He was out the front door as the garage door opened up, and didn't stick around like I thought he would once the coast was clear. He could have come in once my father was home, but I would have gotten in so much trouble had his 14 year old had a boy up in her room and him found out about it.
Spring break time now, and I thought maybe this was the time, maybe one day this break he would finally ask me out - the ultimate show of his love. I called every day, every day to his house, and he was never home. I was so hurt, so fragile and crying, that I could not wait to get back to school. It was there that my heart broke - he had asked another girl out that week at Lincoln Park, a girl that went to the opposing junior high, one that he didn't know as well, but she was friends in his inner circle. I was devastated. He knew me, my fears, my emotions, and he told me that I was different at school than outside of it, so he didn't think we would work. Of course, at 14, all girls have multiple personalities, and all he would have had to do was tell me, I would have tried to move the moon and earth for him. The rest of the year, all I remember feeling is a horrible longing in the pit of my stomach, a feeling I had somehow been betrayed by this boy whom I loved so.
High school was more of the same - although at this point, we were moving away from each other dramatically. For a few weeks, we could be found leaving lunch early to meet each other in corners of hallways, embracing, stroking sides, not knowing what to say. It never worked. I never touched his lips with mine, never found myself naked against his stark white chest I was sure was sinewy and taught. I always wonder, even now, when I am happy and in a healthy relationship, what would have happened between me and the first boy that stole my heart, knew my mind, and could have done anything he wanted to me......'
Written beautifully and honestly by J.L.