September Surrender: Day 10
What I’m Letting Go: Leading by ‘Ex’-ample
My first boyfriend was in high school. I’ve written about him before. It was the first time in my life a boy I liked actually liked me back. I was completely beside myself. I remember the first day after we had declared it official, we walked the halls hand in hand. My classmates were audibly shocked at this new development. I was into it. I thought it was for real. It was fun for the six months we were were together. But I was devastated and blindsided when he called things off shortly after my birthday junior year.
I just didn’t understand it. I thought things were going so well. I wrote him a love letter during my one and only In-School Suspension, and I had written down when our next monthly anniversary would be in my planner. We couldn’t be over, we were totally meant to be because I said so. He said it was because my mom didn’t like him, which was true, but now in retrospect, I think he was just tired of dealing with me. As is his right. But I just couldn’t accept it then. We had something special. I wanted to get back together with him more than anything, and I think, for at least a little bit after, he let me believe we could.
Today, I opened my junior year yearbook because I could not for the life of me remember the last name of the next guy I’ll be talking about. But I got a little distracted reading the end-of-year messages people left for me. Lots said some really nice thing, which caught me off guard a bit. Then I saw his message to me. I think he was the first one to sign it. He told me how much we had both learned over the last year, and said he hopes that if one I read his message again, I pick up a guitar and play it. Well, sorry dude, but there was no guitar at my parents’ house. He also signed it “Love.” I remember hanging such hope on this note at the time that I didn’t realize he was making it clear we were officially over.
It’s okay now, don’t get me wrong. Absolutely nothing in my soul yearns for him like I once did. I’m sure he’s perfectly fine without me. Last I heard, he was a professional skateboarder. Always destined to be an artsy kinda guy. I have no way to contact him as I deleted my Instagram long ago, but sometimes I wonder how he’s doing. Whatever remnants of those puppy love feelings he once gave me, I hope to have again one day. I just wish someone had told me back then to not get caught up on what’s not currently present. All I wanted was for him to love me like he once did, but it simply could never be again. That was made clear to me when he got a new girlfriend our senior year (but not before getting a hickey from the newly-transplanted Mormon girl, and I’m embarrassed to say how I’m still a little bitter about it.)
Either way, I’m older and wiser now. I should have trusted my gut to emotionally depart when I realized all my attempts were not working. I can’t blame myself now. I was just a kid. You never quite forget your first love, but you do have every opportunity to finally get over it.
What I’ve Discovered: Not What I Pictured
I didn’t know this guy had a crush on me in high school. We had already graduated by this point, and somehow struck up an online friendship in our respective freshmen years of college. He and I only spoke really in our senior year, when we were both in Acting Troupe together. We’d chat nearly every day online back in 2004-2005, and I thought it was cool to still be in contact with a high school pal.
One day, he made a confession to me. He said that one time, when our acting teacher was out and we spent the whole period watching Family Guy DVDs, I was doing something that caught his attention. “What was it?” I asked. He then told me that as I lay on the floor, one foot over my knee and lounging, I was absent-mindedly grabbing and pawing at my own breast, and was doing so for a long time. I kind of remember doing this, just a thing girls sometimes do when they think no one is looking. But he was. He said he just watched me the whole time. I was so embarrassed but also kind of into it when he told me he also was. He started cluing me in a little more over text that he thought I was super hot and if I was interested, he’d love to take some pictures of me when we were both home in Jersey.
I was a little taken aback, because I had no idea this guy even thought that about me. He was a pretty well-liked cat. No one had a bad word to say about him. Attractive in the sense he did sports and hung with the cool kids. So for him to think little ol’ me was anything to write home about, I guess you could say I was flattered. But I was also a little curious as to why he didn’t approach me before graduation if he enjoyed my mid-class titgrab so much.
Now, let’s be clear, I never ended up letting him take pictures of me. He just wanted to try getting a few modeling photos out of me. I just never felt ready, or honestly attracted to him enough to do it. However, that didn’t stop me from talking naughty to him at least a few times. It was exciting. A rush in its own ways. Something I just wanted to try, like he wanted to try taking pictures of me. We actually did have a meeting set up where I’d be his model, but all our talking sort of came to an abrupt halt. One night, after he had asked, I sent him a picture of what I was cupping in our senior year. No tact attached to it, I pretty much sent a front-facing photo without my face in it. My email featuring my bust was pretty much the last interaction we had. I can’t explain it. My tits just meant the experiment was done. I didn’t really mind that much, either. I went about my life like nothing had happened.
About two years later, I was at the airport for some kind of solo trip to a destination I can’t remember. When I was on line for the security check, I looked up to realize I was right behind this guy. My mind pretty much exploded when he turned around because the last time we spoke, I was nothing but a pair of sweet boobs. He was also with another girl, so clearly he was over me, but it was just one of those silly coincidences of never really getting something off the ground. I realized that maybe we could have had something in high school if he had said something, but not everyone can say just how they feel in that exact moment. Sometimes it takes years to get here. And maybe you discover in the end, it’s not even meant to be in the first place. Should I ever have a high school reunion he’s also at, I might ask him if he remembers what my taters look like. You know, just for fun.
What I Hope to Find: A Not-So-Secret Smooch
I had my first kiss in high school. I don’t’ seem to have ever written about it, but I do remember telling the internet about it one time. Perhaps it was in a YouTube video, but I don’t have the time to go check. Either way, I had the biggest crush on this guy pretty much from the moment I saw him. A reminder that I was coming from a class of twenty kids, ten of whom I had known since first grade. This guy was unlike anyone I had ever seen. Tall, handsome, and quickly became one of the most popular boys in school. And not just in our grade, either. He was an all-star on the freshman football team, and was a backup on the varsity team. Everyone loved him. Even the older girls. But especially me. I barely spoke to him the whole time I knew him, and was always looking for an excuse to do so. I was so shy, and so far away from his league. What could he possibly want to do with a nerdy girl like me?
About two months into our sophomore year, he announced that he was moving away and would have to change schools. And it was happening soon, he was only staying around for two more weeks. I was beside myself. My crush on this guy was so massive and I didn’t even get a chance to let him know. Now he was about to walk to of my life completely, and that would be the end of it.
Thankfully, he was still around during the October Homecoming dance. I went stag. He went with a girl in the grade above who I didn’t like for reasons completely unrelated to him. When it was the last song of the night, I finally found the guts to go ask him to dance, after talking about it with my girlfriends in the locker room. Amazingly, he agreed, opting for me instead of the girl he had arrived with. I want to say the song was Shape of my Heart by the Backstreet Boys, but there’s a real possibility it was Hero by Enrique Iglasias. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. Because when the song ended, he looked at me, and as if we were just both meant to do so, we kissed. It was a short peck but a real one, and something that caused me to run away the moment it happened. I went back in the locker room, announcing to my girlfriends about how the love of my life had finally kissed me. I didn’t know at the time if he was just being nice to me or what, but I didn’t care. I had my first kiss that didn’t come from a dare on the school bus, so mark that life accomplishment off on your calendars.
That Monday at school was the beginning of his last week. I was so embarrassed about what had happened the prior Friday that I was going out of my way to avoid him. But during fifth period Latin Class, I got a strange feeling that if I left the classroom to “go to the bathroom,” I just might see him in the hallway. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. I stepped outside the last classroom in the hall to find him wandering around. I wasn’t sure if he was skipping class or what, but he spotted me, he walked over, said hi, and put his arm around me. We walked all the way down the hall like that, hooking two rights to end up on the opposite end of the building after passing through two long corridors. I had the chance to tell him how much I was going to miss him, and why did he have to go and leave me here. He said it was all going to be alright, and how I was a great girl, and I’d be hard to forget. When we were at the double doors leading to the stairwell, he leaned down and kissed me again before turning and heading to the second floor. I still think there was a secret there he harbored for me, and I hope one day to experience it fully in this life I lead now. I’d love for my inner nerdy fencing chick to win the heart of her heartthrob high school football star, even if it’s only for a little bit of time.
These are all cute little tales to share because it’s always kind of funny reminiscing about high school. Each and every one of them taught me something all through vastly different means. I haven’t a clue what happened to my crush, but I hope he’s in a good place. While you couldn’t pay me to relive my public school education, I’m glad I got out what I needed to. After all, no one wans to think they’ve peaked in high school. There’s plenty of time to do just that.