Thursday, March 24, 2005

boys - part two

I bet Brian doesn't like my boy stories. actually, I'm sure he doesn't. he's funny like that, this kind of stuff bothers him. it doesn't bother me to hear about his old girlfriends or whatever. maybe it's only the more recent stuff that he doesn't like, I'm not really sure. I do know that we don't talk about my "romantic" past unless it's absolutely necessary.

I'm not really sure what made me start writing about old boyfriends. but now I have so much to write I don't even know where to start. that doesn't happen very often. I guess the easiest thing to do would be to just start where I left off:

after Rob and I broke up, Jimmy and I starting hanging out at school more often. we had gotten closer since that first time we met, plus he was friends with Rob so we all spent a lot of time together. I don't think he knew how much I liked him, or for how long, but I was pretty sure that he liked me too.

my best friend and I were friends with a boy in our grade who looked a lot older than he was. he was a big guy, over six feet tall, and I had known him since third grade. he was one of those boys that had liked me for years. we were great friends for the entire time that I knew him. he was one of the few people I tried to keep in touch with after graduation. eventually he got married, had kids and moved away. I haven't heard from him in years.

Bob had his license and didn't mind driving us around when we didn't have anything else to do. one night, we were all going to hang out and drive around, maybe go to the arcade or a movie. I wanted to invite Jimmy to come with us. Bob didn't really want me to but he was such a big softie, I could talk him into anything. so we called Jimmy and convinced him to come along. we picked him up at his house and the four of us (Jimmy and I were in the back seat) just drove around trying to think of something fun to do.

when we ran out of ideas, someone thought it would be cool to try to buy some beers. apparently Bob looked old enough to buy beer without getting carded (at that time you only had to be 18), despite having two very young-looking girls in his car. we got a 12-pack of Old Milwaukee, 3.2 beer, and we all opened one up.

I hadn't ever had beer before, the only other time I got drunk was at a JV football game the year before when one of the seniors gave my friend and I some Everclear punch. so after a couple of beers, I had a pretty good buzz going. I didn't notice that Jimmy wasn't drinking at all, I didn't see how worried he looked when I accidentally spilled a little beer on his shirt. I didn't know that his father was a psychotic tyrant who physically and verbally abused his wife and children. I found out about all of those things later.

we had about an hour left before Tina's curfew so Bob headed back to the little town my friend and I lived in. I was feeling pretty good by then, and had my head on Jimmy's shoulder. I decided that it was time to tell him how I felt about him. so I tilted my face up and told him everything, how much fun it was to be around him, how he could always make me laugh, how much I really liked him and had since that first time we met. he looked down at me, smiled and kissed me. it was wonderful, exactly as I had imagined it would be.

we girls needed to sober up so we stopped at our elementary school playground for a while. Bob pushed Tina on the swings while Jimmy and I sat at a picnic table. he had his arms around me and every once in a while, he would lean down and kiss me. he made me feel so happy and content and at peace. it was like nothing I had ever felt before that night.

he was so sweet, and so funny. we spent all our free time together at school and at band functions. all our friends saw it coming, and everyone, including Rob, seemed happy for us. he loved to tease me and make me laugh and our first month together was so perfect. his parents seemed pretty strict, especially where girls were concerned, so we didn't get to see each other much outside of school. we both hated that but it was just as well. I didn't have a lot of free time after school anyway.

once in a while we would both make up excuses to stay after school (band practice for me, weight lifting for him) to have some time alone together. we would usually walk around and end up at the middle school playground and just be together. I was perfectly happy just to be with him, to be holding his hand and sitting beside him for a few hours. we would talk about our future plans and how we spent our day, he was so easy to be with. he never, ever pressured me for anything more than kissing and our time together was very innocent. I would almost always get in trouble for staying after school but it was worth it. I'm sure he got in worse trouble than I did but he never said anything about it.

he had a younger brother who was a freshman that year, a funny kid who would hang out with us once in a while. he was quiet, shy and a little withdrawn, he seemed to like me well enough. Don was in band too so he would be my buddy during games when Jimmy was playing football. I have a nephew who reminds me of Donnie. it's weird.

a few months after we started "dating" Jimmy's parents decided that we couldn't see each other any more. the story was that one of them heard that I was a slut, and they didn't think I was good enough for him. I'm not sure why I believed that. I mean, I know that's what they told Jimmy, I don't think he would ever have lied to me. but considering what I later learned about his childhood, that excuse was complete bullshit.

I was devastated. I couldn't imagine who would have ever said such a thing about me. but at the same time, I felt like it was true. because there were ugly things in my childhood, things that I thought I had kept hidden, things that I hadn't told anyone about. I thought that somehow, his parents knew or could see it on me. I didn't know what to do. he said that he tried to stick up for me but he wasn't able to change their minds.

we didn't really think it would change anything. we hardly ever saw each other outside of school anyway. so after the initial panic, things went back to normal. for about a week. before we found out that Donnie had been reporting to his parents that we were still going out. oh, I hated him so much for that at the time. now I realize that he was just trying to survive a horrible childhood any way that he could. Jimmy's parents were furious, I can't imagine the kind of trouble he must have been in. his father wasn't the kind of person who would ground his kids for disobeying him, that much I know. anything beyond that was too terrible for me to imagine.

it took us a while to figure out what to do. but not seeing each other anymore was not an option. we both knew that what we had was something really great, and great things weren't all that easy to come by for either of us. luckily we had a lot of friends that cared about us and were willing to help us keep our secret. friends who would warn us if Donnie was around or distract him when we were together. our band director was one of those friends and he would let us stay in his office before classes and during lunch. it wasn't ideal but it was better than nothing.

there was never a doubt in my mind that he was worth all the trouble. he understood me like no one had before. he was the first person to really know me and love me for who I was. I didn't have to pretend around him. it was so easy to love him. I would have done anything for him.

every once in a while, out of the blue, he would tell me that his parents had changed their minds. and it would be okay for us to see each other. their change of heart would last for a couple of weeks before they would take it back. during those weeks though, we could actually spend time together outside of school, without having to worry about being spied on. Donnie would be our friend again. we could hold hands in the halls or hang out with our friends or sit together on bus trips. we could go to school dances or eat lunch together or go see a movie or even talk to each other on the phone. then they would take it away and we would go back to hiding from the world.

it wasn't always easy. there were times when I really needed him and he couldn't be there. and probably times when he needed me. it got harder and harder to deal with, because everything was out of our control. and as hard as it was for me, I know it was worse for him. because at home, his father would make comments about me. saying that I was the type of girl who only wanted things I couldn't have and he was my forbidden fruit. or telling him that I was a slut. or that I was probably cheating on him. and even though I constantly told him that his father was wrong, I'm sure over time it started to affect him. I know it eventually got to me.

somehow, he worked up the courage to ask for permission to take me to my Junior Prom. and even more amazingly, his parents said that they would think about it. so my grandmother and mother took me out to the mall and got me a dress. I was threatened with physical harm if I didn't end up going to Prom. you know, she had spent all that money on a dress so I was going to wear it or else. I pretty much had to go whether Jimmy was allowed to take me or not. and of course, he wasn't allowed.

instead, I went with Rob. and the whole night was a disaster. the people we rode with got very, very drunk and we were actually scared to ride back with them. Rob's uncle had to bring us a car so he could drive me home. I didn't dance once that I can remember. it was so boring, I didn't have the least bit of fun. we did have a yummy dinner before the dance but it was definitely not worth the hype.

on the way home, Rob pulled the car over and tried to kiss me goodnight. I let him. I don't know why, out of frustration from the last few months I suppose. it was a huge mistake. he tried to take off my dress, I yelled at him to stop, which he did, then he drove me the rest of the way home.

when Jimmy found out, he was furious, at me, at Rob, at his parents, at the world. I had never seen him angry before and it scared the hell out of me. I can't handle it when someone is angry, being near anyone in a fight makes me physically ill even now. anyway, he flipped out, walked away from me, grabbed one of our friends by the shirt and threw him into a drum set. I had to leave the room before I was sick.

we didn't speak for the next few days. he tried to talk to me but I just couldn't face him. I felt like I didn't even know who he was anymore and I'm sure he felt the same way. but it hurt me to think badly about him and it hurt even more to be away from him. we eventually worked it out somehow and things went back to the way they were before, seeing each other in "secret".

the end of the school year was coming way too quickly. I knew he wouldn't be allowed to see me that often, if at all. Donnie was being cool at the time so over the summer we were able to talk on the phone while his parents were at work. unfortunately, I had a job during the day so I could only call him during my lunch, which I did every day.

there were a couple of other guys at my work (no girls that year) that I hung out with on breaks or while we ate lunch. they were both so nice, one of them even knew Jimmy which was very cool. he was going to be a freshman when school started. the other one was a little older than me, he was 21, and really nice and funny. he was the cousin of a guy I knew at school. we went out a couple of times, even though he knew I had a boyfriend. it was mostly harmless but I never told Jimmy about it.

things were weird between us when school started again. we weren't spending much time together and having to hide from Donnie was really getting old. my feelings for Jimmy hadn't changed at all but it was my senior year and I was afraid I was going to spend it locked away in the band room. we stopped seeing each other for about a month, and it was horrible. so we got back together and that was how things were for the rest of the schoool year. it wasn't ideal by any means, but it was better than the other option, which was to not be together at all.

we had a few opportunities to see each other outside of school. almost all of them involved band trips. our friends would distract Donnie or talk him into ignoring us for the night. once we even got to spend a weekend in Denver when the basketball teams went to State.

I guess we never really had a chance of making things work, no matter how much we both wanted it to. I needed to be with someone who could spend time with me, who would be close by when I fell apart. someone who wasn't as screwed up as I was/am. we were too young and too battered to fight for what we wanted. it was just too hard. I was going to be graduating in a month and he still had a year of high school left. there was no way we could have stayed together without our parents' help. my mother was already off living her new life and of course, his parents weren't going to ever help us.

so that was it. it wasn't ugly or dramatic or terrible. it was devastating to leave him though, the hardest thing I had ever been through, which says a lot. it literally took me years to get over it. I met someone else (who I later married and had two kids with), he finished his last year of high school. I did run into him at a basketball game his senior year. he had a new girlfriend and said that she didn't want him to talk to me. we never saw each other again after that.

in January of 2002, I found his email address on classmates.com and tried to contact him. when he wrote back, I couldn't believe it. he was happy to hear from me, I was very grateful to read that. we emailed each other for a couple of months. we exchanged stories of our lives after high school. he moved to Oklahoma after graduation to go to OSU which had always been his dream, but had to leave after a year. he finished school back in Colorado. after college he joined the army, which was a complete shock. he was so not the type of guy that would do that. but apparently he loved it, travelled to lots of different countries and only quit because his wife didn't like him being gone. he was married, to someone he met in college back home, and had two sons.

his relationship with his parents was still pretty strained but I think he said that they liked his wife. he spent time with Donnie every once in a while, having a beer or playing golf, things I never would have imagined him doing.

it was so incredible to be in contact with him again. it was so easy to write to him and tell him all the things I had wanted to say the last time we saw each other. how sorry I was for not being more brave and how sorry I was for breaking up with him and how often I thought about him over the years and how I always wondered if he was alright. it was so great to find out that he didn't hate me and that he understood how hard things were for me when we were together and that he was okay for the most part, even though from the things he wrote I don't think his marriage is as happy as he would want it to be.

he seems satisfied with his life. he loves being a father, I knew he would, and would do anything for his boys, including not emailing me anymore. because I think his wife found out and didn't like it. I don't really blame her. I know he never really got over me or our time together, he told me as much. hell, at the time, I felt the same way. but then I met Brian and he taught me what love actually felt like. and even though I don't ever doubt that I loved Jimmy, I know now that it wasn't even a fraction of the love I feel for Brian.

I do miss hearing from him though and wish we could have stayed in touch. it probably wouldn't be the same but it would still be nice. he always could make me laugh.

1 comment:

psalcido said...

Relationships can be complex, and memories of old friends are always interesting. I imagine I can say thanks for posting this. I found your page while looking for others from Marysville, but my focus is on chess.