In high school I rarely went to parties. I remember clearly once, my group of friends were asked to come because they thought I would have weed to give/sell – I didn’t, I never did; common misconception. Then there was a painfully lame, “mom’s away” party pulled by three or four girls in an apartment where friend Kent was asked to show up. I cannot fully remember who exactly was all there save for the slack lanky girl with that long hair whose name I couldn’t remember even at the time – whose house it likely was, Devin, Kent and I. There must have been more but those were the key players. I’ve learned charm and flirting over time, through anguish and embarrassment, but I assure those reading that I did not have either at the time. Did we hit it off? I cannot remember, we started dating though, pretty regularly and quickly.
She was below my social rung, smarter than me, more accomplished in life, and honestly cooler than I could ever be. Somehow she took me in – maybe it was because I was always willing to learn.
I can only remember glimpses of our relationship even though it was one of the longest relationships – likely 6 months or possibly more. Glimpse: We were driving in my car listening to “Le soleil est pres de moi” by Air, and she translated it – annoyed by the question – on a ride back to her house; she ended it saying something like ‘it makes no sense.’ Glimpse: I’m laughing so obnoxiously she stops me and I know I took it too far; we drove in silence. Glimpse: We’re dancing like two awkward children in the corner during the homecoming dance, making out and humping to the point of self-aware absurdity. Glimpse: Trick or treating, or maybe simply wandering her neighborhood with the slack lanky girl talking about smart things and and I’m the child who can’t keep on task and sings classic rock hits.
The worst and most painful glimpse: I start to ignore her.
My friends made it clear I could do better, date in my social circle, someone less strange and an outsider. See, I’m a horrible worthless worm of a human being. When I wanted out I just stopped talking to her. What made this all the more painful for her was our lockers were literally 4 away from each other – which while together was fantastic – but during and shortly after splitting became a reminder to me (and likely her) of my inability to stand up and simply say I wasn’t interested anymore. Worse yet, I liked her still. I knew I wasn’t likely to do better, but I had to end it to keep ‘my boys’ happy. High school.
Finally three days into my cold shoulder she confronts me, wondering – justly – just what the fuck my problem was. She was more mad at me for being weak than not being with her. To leave her hanging and wondering. The confrontation plays through my head like a broken record coated in dust, obscuring the words and sound but the message remains the same: you suck.