You race each other to finish lines, the drivers liscense
bureau, through red lights and to homecoming parades.
You're in band. You hate it. Alegebra is hard. Hold hands
under blankets. You hate your hair. Say you freak out when
you see "him." Ah...the "him."
Today I admired other people's entries, and that lovelorn
feeling of being a high school sophomore when everything
hurts and the world has a virtual soundtrack babumping in
the background of some seedy place underneath something
where your parents don't want you to go. Good times, I
thought. How far I've come emotionally from that place.
Through five serious boyfriends, four who thought we'd get
married someday, five one night stands, one one week stand,
one six month stand, and 40-some random makeouts at some
Then, enter Chase. Chase, who like a drink, I should be
allowed to inhale in, in small, small, dixie cup doses. 6'2
and a face I truely cannot understand. Can I picture him
now? Heck no. Just the idea. The face changes. Just a dark
shadow with dark rimmed glasses and a healthy dollop of gel
kneaded into his thick dark hair. Sings "I can't explain
exactly what I'm doing standing in the rain..." like a
would-be acoustic phenom. Slow walker, it looks like it
hurts for him to laugh, but when he does it is a deliberate
chuckle of infliction. Like everything he does. Parks here
so...puts his hand on my knee when he dropped me off
because...yells "I had fun" out the window to... Doesn't
always answer the phone since...
Says "Hi, Ashley!" tonight like he knows my cup size, but
doesn't want to bother with a predatory wink. I smiled with
all of the ease that I hadn't had fifteen minutes earlier
when I realized he was on the premises. When I had a knee
bob going 95 miles per hour at my desk and was lamenting my
decision to wear this frickin old man's sweater and how I'd
pulled my hair into some "just out of the shower, rushed to
work" muddle of mayhem that usually suffices on a Sunday
"What are you doing here? I thought they took away your
key?" I said smiling. He fake laughed. I fake laughed. He
fake laughed again, and mid-return fake laugh I really
laughed and thought "what are we laughing about." Asked him
a question and walked away when he'd answered.
Back to my desk for some serious knee bobbing.
How old will I be when that lukewarm oatmeal voice doesn't
make me crazy? When I stop repeating his voice mail
messages and deconstruction them for timing and inflection
on certain words. It sounds like he has a cold. Does he
really want me to call him back? Why is he laughing. "He
calls me "Ashley, not Brett -- what does that mean?" Says
we should try hanging out (again) sometime. Then laughed.
Can I actually sit on his leather couch ever again without
some semiporn being recreated? Last time was swing dancing
to the late 80s alternative scene. Change cd. Kisses me
suddenly. Lunges actually. I stop the action and remind him
that he was the instigator this time. He agrees and attacks
again. Reminds me that he is in no condition to drive,
offers his bed as an alternative to walking four miles home
on my birthday at 4 a.m. alone.
Four hours later I watched him, fascinated by the process
of a grown man preparing for work. The rolling of sleeves.
The hangover throb throwing him back onto the bed between
shower and khaki pants. Glances at the newspaper. Drives me
home. But first puts his hand on my knee at a stop light.
Yells the aforementioned out the window in front of my
So what now? What would I have done as a high school
saxophone player. As a cross country runner. As a placer at
the state track and field meet. As a college graduate who
lived a little and is now trying to live less. As an
advocate of the game. THE GAME that we learn the wrong way,
but glean valuable information to pass along the next time
when we start it up. Does that desire to strap on pads and
go in ever go away? I envy people who were satisfied to
never play. But how boring.