Friday, July 25, 2008

Before I Was Jaded, I was 12

Those of you who follow my blog, or know me personally are well aware that I don't believe in baggage (the emotional kind, not the designer kind...that, I believe in fully). But I can say respective to my beliefs that there comes a time in our lives when we become permanently or temporarily jaded by love.

There also comes a time before that, when love is new like a fresh bottle of water; before lip gloss and backwash taint it's clarity. I forgot about this time. Until today when IM'ing Roscoe, and she told me that she was fully convinced and still is to this day that she was in love in Jr. High.

When I was 12 I had a boyfriend named Donald. He was the tallest boy in our class. Everyone always teased him because his head was shaped like an egg. Of course they called him "egg-head" but with respect to the fact that he was big enough to beat some ass. He took it in stride. He always had a basketball under his arm, and always glared at me during 4th period. It was a nice glare though, a look of speculation. At that age I was very shy with the exception of my circle of friends, I hardly talked to anyone I didn't already know. Which made me appear to be the most stuck up girl in school.

One day, my teacher gave me the task of bringing our attendance sheets to the front office. I of course elected one of my "circle-friends", Elizabeth, to accompany me. We walked into the office and suddenly I realized why I hadn't seen Donald's puppy dog brown eyes in class that day; he was getting suspended from school. I didn't bother asking (outwardly, it was beneath me; inwardly, I was too shy to initiate conversation with him), I simply completed my task, and turned back towards the door to leave.

"Ashley.."

First I looked at Liz, then at myself in the window pane in the office door. I was one of 11 Ashleys in my grade, so maybe he was talking to someone else. Liz nudged my elbow...no...he meant ...ME. I turned around transforming from a deer-in-headlights to a casually collected raised eyebrow.

"Yes?"

"I'm about to be gone from school for like...a week. But...u wanna go out with me?"

"Going out" back in 1997 meant to be boyfriend and girlfriend. It was, at that point in my life, as significant as a marriage proposal. I'm sure I only thought for split second before saying, "Ok. See you in a week I guess." Me and Liz held our excitement until we were safely from ear-shot before exploding in high pitched screams. That day Liz did her duty of spreading the word of our newly-founded courtship to everyone in school. Donald's "cool-points" were boosted and suddenly I was the topic of conversation that week.

Over the course of that year, we went on school trips together and held hands on the bus ride (inducing stirs and whispers), kissed after school ( I was 4'10" so I had to literally get on my tip toes while he bent down in order to kiss his lips), we talked on the phone after school for countless hours, and played coy at lunch to keep the rumor mill down (Jr. high is like Roberts Ave. in Beverly Hills and the Paparazzi clan), in that time and that place, he was my everything. I was sure it would last forever, especially since our first and last names lined up in length perfectly.

Then came the summer before 8th grade. Everyone went away for summer vacation, except me. My mom didn't have the money for family trips anymore, at least not one's that stretched out beyond the weekend. Donald went to LA to visit his mom. In his absence, he appointed his best friend Russell to look after me during the summer. Russell did a good job, calling to make sure I was ok, giving me updates about how Donald was (because his mother wouldn't allow girls calling the house) and making sure I hadn't found someone new. When Russell went to LA for the weekend with his parents, he sent me a letter in the mail professing his undying love and affection for me, and included a necklace with the drama faces on the pendent. (I never responded to the letter or brought it up, but wore the necklace every day until 10th grade when it was replaced with a necklace from my new boyfriend Gerald). One day I got a call from Donald himself. It was a few weeks before school started back up.

"Hey" he said, sounding deflated. I was just happy to hear his voice. We talked casually for a few moments, and then he said he had to get off.

"Before I go, I have to tell you something. My mom wants me to live with her now. You know, in LA." I didn't process it at first, and then my mom stepped into the living room so I had to pretend as if everything was fine and was talking to one of my girlfriends.

"Oh, that's cool." I said convincingly even-keeled.

"Yea, um..I guess. So that means I won't be coming back this year." He said.

"Well, when will you come back?"

"Probably not for a long time."

And that was it. I never saw him again, never heard from him again, not even a letter.

As my first lesson in love, it taught me that love is just like a faucet. It can burn, it can freeze and it can wash you clean at the drop of a hat.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was good lady.

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I truly agree with you on your thoughts about love.