“Why do I keep thinking about her… It’s been so long, and she never showed me more than kindness… But after all these years, I still wake up with her face in my mind… Dreaming about what might have been.”
In my continuing effort to be more open with the limited emotions I have, and my promise to blog more, today’s post will be an explanation of why I posted the above as my Facebook status at 4:30 AM this morning.
It’s always your first love that hits you the hardest. For me it was a girl I first noticed in 5th grade, just about the time I started noticing girls in general. She was smart, funny, beautiful, and I knew she and I would be perfect for each other. Of course, being the social retard I am, that meant I avoided eye contact with her for the next year and a half.
Near the end of 6th grade, at the behest of my parents, I attended my first (and also last) school dance. Alone of course, I was more than content to sit along the west wall of the cafeteria and sped the evening gorging myself on the complimentary tortilla chips and fruit punch, but my plans were abruptly changed when the dj’s mix cd switched from the upbeat pace of Will Smith’s classic “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” to the slower pace of Savage Garden’s “Truly Madly Deeply”. That vision of grace that had been the object of all my prepubescent fantasies floated across the room and asked me to dance. I was dumbfounded. This angel descended from the heavens, and in an unparalleled act of benevolence, granted me the honor of accompanying her on the dance floor. It took all my composure too eek out a weak “yeah” and stand up to follow her. I placed my hand at her hip with all the nervous delicacy of a museum curator handling an original Bernini statue. I was sweating bullets as I did my best to sway to the music, and not step on her toes. At the end of the song, she thanked me for the dance. I could swear she was glowing as I watched her glide away (though, in retrospect, that may have simply been back-lighting). It was a half a minute into Smash Mouth’s “Walkin’ On The Sun” before I realized I could move again. Being me, I took that opportunity to immediately leave the building.
After that night, I knew what I had to do. I somehow found the courage to ask her out on a real date. Granted, it took me a good year to work up the nerve to complete that task. Amazingly, she said yes! for the first time in my life, I knew what happiness truly was! It seemed somehow that all my prayers had been answered. It was April 1999. I remember, because I suggested seeing this new movie called “The Matrix” I heard good things about. We instead went to see the romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed” starring Drew Barrymore. I even felt bold enough to hold her hand during the movie (which is like getting to second base for a 7th grader). For the life of me, I can’t remember the plot of the movie, because I spent the entire time split between worrying about the impression I was making, and silent ecstasy that this was really happening. After the film, she bought me a gumball from the lobby vending machines (white I believe) before her parents picked her up from the theater. I was in such a happy stupor that I didn’t even care that my dad was an hour late to pick me up.
The happy feelings were not to last though. We were “a couple” for all of about a week before she called it off, citing my inattentiveness and immaturity as the reasons. Congratulations, Robert, you just alienated the girl of your dreams. However, considering this was in 7th grade, lasting one week is quite a successful relationship. (Not surprisingly, that one week in 7th grade constituted the entirety of my relationship experience prior to my sophomore year of college.)
At any rate, by 9th grade she was dating one of my best friends, and by that extension, we had become reasonably good friends. I came to accept that a romantic relationship with her was indefinitely off the table. But somehow my subconscious couldn’t let her go. Every day I would come to school and see her with my friend and I would be jealous and sad that it wasn’t me. For the remainder of my high school years she stayed with him and I feigned obsession with one popular bimbo after another to cover my feelings for her. I went to her graduation party, and aside from one chance encounter at McDonalds, that was the last I saw of her. Sure, we’ve kept in contact on Myspace and Facebook, but as far as face to face contact, I haven’t seen her in 6 years.
End of story? Not quite…
Here’s the part that haunts me: Sometime around the end of my sophomore year at college, I heard third handed info that she and my friend had split. The part of me that still had feelings for her saw this as an opportunity. It had been 7 years since she left me for being immature. “I must have changed enough that it would work out” I thought. I took my time and composed a page-long well-worded polished and refined email to her asking about how she had been doing, and inquiring whether she’d like to have dinner some time. I was pleased with the message, and about to send it when I thought to myself “I had better check my bank account to see if I can afford to take her out.” I minimized the email, opened my bank’s website and logged in. As it happened, my account was $30 overdrawn. Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit.
Email scrapped. I now needed a way to cover my overdraft. I knew the university would be having its yearly book buyback soon, but since I never paid attention to school functions, I had no idea when. To find out, I decided to email a friend I made in my Japanese class.
I’m sure you can figure out the rest. That email was just the ice breaker needed to initiate a series of emails between myself and the Japanese major whom I would shortly thereafter begin dating, and the following summer, ask to marry.
At any rate, it worked out for the best.
But I still occasionally find my mind wondering, thinking about what might have been. Had I been more mature the first time around… If I had been in my friends shoes during high school…
And most often, what might have happened had I bought a few less DVDs my sophomore year and never overdrafted my checking account.
I know on some level I never really got over her… What’s worse is after all those junior-high years of fantasizing, my subconscious has apparently linked her with some kind of unspoken idealized perfect woman. Last night I woke up in the middle of a dream about her. First, those who know me know I rarely dream. When I do, usually I forget what the dream was about by the time I’ve brushed my teeth. But when I dream about her, the dreams stay with me for days… In my dreams, she’s a goddess; an ethereal embodiment of love and compassion. In her arms, I feel all the positive emotion of the universe and I break down and cry. Then I wake up and just feel empty again.
It’s strange, I can’t usually remember what I had for lunch the previous day, but somehow every detail of my limited time with her is still crystal clear in my memory. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give up what I have with Adrianna for anything, I value our relationship too much for that. But I know I still have the ticket stub for “Never Been Kissed” in the bottom of some lost box in my closet at my parents’ house, and similarly, I have little pieces of memory in the back of my brain that occasionally rise to the surface and make me think about the past.
In closing, I’ll just repost my status update from 8:00 this morning, after I had a clear mind from a few more hours of sleep:
“NVM, insomnia makes you say funny things.”