Sometimes, I'm wrong
As kids we were climbing
trees and playing pointless games for hours.
It was sitting on the hardwood floor
watching the thundercats, throwing each other in the pool, stealing secret kisses
in the prop room on the stage at school. I thought that you would be the
girl I'd marry. All through school we always, somehow, came back to each other
to find that
our feelings had never really changed from when we were kids. It seemed
confirmed when we left home and we lived together in that tiny, one room
apartment at school. We talked about dreams all the time then. I still
find it amazing that we drifted apart even while we occupied that same, small
so long. I moved away and went out on my own to dry summers and a lonely
river. I looked back at you just in time to see you marry
someone else. In my heart I wanted it to fail. When it did I grieved
for your lost marriage and lost dreams. It's been fifteen years and you
have faded into a warm, sweet memory. I hope you've found your dream.
Sometimes, I'm a fool
You intended to hurt me. You made sure that I would think of you whenever I hear the line 'After you just taught me how
to kiss you' in the song, 'That's what I get'. I think of the time when I sat on
the pool table with you standing between my knees with your hands on the back of
my head - pulling me to your mouth. It was so hazy dark in that firehouse and the only
light was a fluorescent stick casting shadows on the ceiling. I could see
it shimmer off your clean black hair and in your green
eyes. I was amazingly warm, with my arms
crossed behind your neck,
had goosebumps. I know that you painted that picture for
me to remember, you set the stage and scripted out each kiss. For such an amazing boy, you were very callous
to create your own
foreshadowing. You knew I would think of you whenever I heard that song.
Sometimes, I'm cruel
I felt like an ass after I got mad at you at the CD store. First standing
beside the rows of plastic cases while you argued your point to me, then later
in the car when I yelled at you for making me feel stupid in front of the girl at the counter.
It was so fucking cold out and the car wasn't even warm yet and I was
yelling. I could only see your yellow hair because you wouldn't stop
staring out the window. You were very pretty when you cried and I liked seeing
that sometimes. But it was such a pointless fight: Mea Culpa
was Latin, I was right about that, but the lyrics were in French and you were
right, too. I misunderstood what you said and you misunderstood
what I said. I shouldn't have made you cry. Later I just stopped speaking to
you - no calls, no letters, nothing. It was wrong. I shouldn't have let our
relationship wither as it did. I'm sorry, a beautiful girl doesn't deserve to have her
heart broken by an arrogant jerk.
Sometimes, I'm a coward
When you asked me out at the record store I was too far in the closet to
be very nice about it. I can see you with your starched white shirt and dark
hair, swinging your arms as if making a hole-in-one. My heart pounded in my chest with flattered
excitement. I did see your blue eyes and the way the edges crinkled as
you grinned at me, but I still rebuffed you with a laugh. You took a risk on
me and I turned you down - not because I didn't want to - because I was afraid
of what saying "yes" might mean. Sometimes I play the scene
again. I imagine
that I said yes to your forward, transparent invite to teach me to play golf. In
that world we ended up eating Chinese food on some tacky red tablecloth and talking in your car,
listening to music, until 5 am. It took two hours for me to sit still long
enough for you to touch my hand in the dark and another two for me to work up the nerve to kiss you.
Sometimes, in my head, you and I are still together. I wish I
remembered your name.
Sometimes, I'm brave
glad I sat in
that kitchen with you while we searched fruitlessly for a clean ashtray. I was always outgoing
when I was a child, but as I got older I
learned to never speak out of turn. I avoided making friends from strangers around
me - and I was so nervous meeting new people. You, cross legged on the dingy
yellow linoleum while Eric filled in my dragon tattoo with bright red and blue
and gold. Afterwards, I sat in your place on the floor, while he smeared
the shiny, wet, red and yellow lines from your ankle to your thigh. I remember
how cold that paint was. I'm
glad that we all became friends out of it. I know it was just silly, pointless
body painting, but he sat us all down and allowed us to have a nice, long
conversation. The room was crowded and smoky but there were only a few of us in that isle of talk -
good. He was painted gold and I'm glad he understood that beautiful girls should have
flames painted on their legs like hot rods. I'm glad we took the time to be
silly. I only wish it lasted longer than a few moments.
Sometimes, I shouldn't
I was only in 7th grade but you were like 'Penny
Lane' to me, and I loved you. You were this mysterious redhead who held my hand on the bus and
laughed when the popular boys asked you why you were with me. For one
week you were mine. You rode the tall, blue
Cedar Point with me, ran through the ridiculous, dingy fun house, we played
cards in the bus while the mountains and mist and clouds passed by
unnoticed. I wasn't a fool. I knew you were only mine for as long as the tour- one week
Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, and finally Indiana. When it was over my heart
broke. We all wandered that last night in some nameless church and wept.
Everyone else cried because the tour was over. I wept because I knew you were going to go away.
When I said goodbye, and told you that I loved you, you kissed me on the mouth.
I felt your lips on mine
for months afterward. I never saw you again. It's easy to fall in love with beautiful
girls when you're young, but they should never know.
Sometimes, I should
I had no idea that you were close enough to hear us mention your name.
I gaped, cigarette dangling from my lip, when you suddenly asked us why we were talking about you.
I didn't want to tell you that I was simply saying that, of all the people at
the party, you were the one I found most attractive. I wanted to know how long you were standing behind
me and if my friend had somehow set me up by leading me to your name. I hoped you were
too blissfully stoned to care, remember or see through my lie. I know I was too
drunk, at the time, to feel any regret or even remember what lame excuse I gave
you. I wish you hadn't snuck up on me. I should have just told you what I said. Instead, I made you feel suspicion over something
innocuous and fleeting. Who knows, you may have been flattered.