Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Still Slightly P.O.'ed, 17 Years Later

My senior year of high school, I was pursued. He was a boy I didn't know. A year younger than me, went to a different school, was in a different grade, went to a different church. I wasn't looking for a boyfriend. But he liked me. A lot. He played basketball in our church gym with my best friend's boyfriend. It was Wednesday night, mutual night (church youth group), so we girls were around. And he was always checking me out from a distance. At first I dismissed the idea of dating a younger guy. But he didn't let it go. I started hearing reports through the grape-vine of how much he liked me. So eventually I let it leak back through the grape-vine that I might entertain the idea of him taking me out. So he did. And what do you know? We fell in love. Fast. Hard. It was awesome. He was tall, handsome, athletic, spiritual, sensitive, generous. He treated me like a queen. He called me, wrote me letters, bought me trinkets, invited me to dinner with his parents. When I got my tonsils out for my 18th birthday, he took good care of me, brought me soup. I went to his baseball games and practices (he was an amazing pitcher), he came to my school plays. Then school ended. And all that summer before I went to college, we spent in bliss with each other. We were together every single day.

The weeks before I left for the West were rough. We cried a lot. HE cried a lot. We clung to each other more and planned how to stay together until Christmas break, and then a few more months until I would be home for the summer again. We were going to make it, we knew it.

The week before I left, he bought me a necklace: black beads with painted roses on them on a black leather band. And he made me a mix tape. It was a mixture of songs we'd listened to together, and a few he thought I would like. He talked in between the songs of what each one meant to him and how it made him think of me. He wept about how much he would miss me. How I was everything to him. We were so in love.

I left for college. I spent two weeks on a road trip with relatives before arriving in Happy Valley for school. I was the first to move in to the student apartment my mother had picked out. The next day roommates began arriving. Just as the one who was to share my room started moving in her stuff, the phone rang. It was HIM. And he had bad news. During the two weeks that I was gone, he had met someone else. They were in love. It was over. To say that the timing was bad to hear something like this is an understatement. I was completely alone at school. I didn't know a soul within 1200 miles. My new roommate and all her family were traipsing in and out with baskets of clothes and linens and school books. I had no privacy in which to interrogate him on where all his tears had gone and what all the promises on the tape had meant. All I could do was clutch the necklace at my throat and sob.

I never saw him again. Don't worry. I got over him. Fortunately, college has a way of occupying you so that you don't think of home too much. But I still pulled out that tape once in a while and rubbed the smooth rosy beads of the necklace and let a tear fall. Especially right before I went home for the summer.

Flash forward 17 years. Somehow a jewelry box of old and discarded items fell into the hands of my toddler, Daphne. Among the items she wore around the house, a black leather band with black and red beads. I rarely thought about the necklace and its significance. It was dress up for her. And it meant nothing to me.

Then yesterday when I was vacuuming the playroom, I accidentally sucked that necklace up into the vacuum's spinning chamber. And out the pieces rattled, broken, twisted, pulverized.

I just stared at them for a moment.

And smiled.

It was extremely satisfying.



.

15 comments:

Kristina P. said...

Isn't it interesting how a thing can either have a ton of memories, or none.

I'm not very sentimental, but every once in a while, I will see something that will put me right back to a certain time in my life.

M-Cat said...

Great story! Smells are like this for me. Smells can put me right into a memory as if it were happening in the moment. Most times, it's a good thing, sometimes, not so much

tiburon said...

Atta girl. I can just hear you chuckling along with that smile....

Mwa ha ha ha ha ha

Tiffany said...

SUCH a great story. (I feel a little mad at him, myself.)

Loved the ending.

SO said...

And they say that women are fickle. I bet that was so difficult...but I LOVED the ending to this story. Loved it.

MiaKatia said...

I am with Tiffany, I'm a little mad at him too.

Isn't it interesting that the piece had lost it's sentimentality, but seeing it destroyed was still so gratifying.

Chelsea said...

You are such a great story teller!

I think those past hurts, the really deep ones, never completely go away even though we move on and gain perspective. And I think that's a good thing, because it helps us empathize with others who are going through similar things. Just think how you'll be able to help Daphne when she has a boyfriend who turns out to be an ignoramus.

Shawn said...

I still have a toilet chain from the guy that dumped me---only 12 years ago....

But I still occasionally wear it---yes, choker style, thank you very much.

alex dumas said...

Love a good story! That was a fun post.

Heather said...

AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing! LOVED the ending, that made my WHOLE day!

Heather said...

AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing! LOVED the ending, that made my WHOLE day!

L. said...

Ah, yes, I remember it well! He was SO cute and so madly in love with you. So what happened in such a big hurry?

I'm glad you've recovered, 17 years later. Hip, hip horray for you, and a super entry!

rychelle said...

GREAT story! i think i need to break out the vaccum......

i'm still here, and still reading!!! (you can't get rid of me that easily) things have just been a little stressful since i got back from NYC, so i haven't even logged into google reader all week. but, i'm still your biggest stalker....uhm, FAN.

Nicki said...

The only consolation I got from a break-up is that I'm almost positive that he's gay :)

Jeanette said...

I totally remember that. I was only about 400 miles away but still unable to give you a big hug. Who knows maybe if I was there we would've had a burning party, but then you would'nt have this story to post. Are we really old enough to say that 17 years ago we started college?! Yikes!