Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Boy Who Haunts Me

There's one boy from deep in my past who manages to come back to me in my head, my dreams, and somehow, in my heart at sometimes the most inopportune moments. And friends, I'm wondering if I'm alone in this...

He was perhaps my first love, if I ever even loved him because I'm not sure 1) that I have ever really loved any boy/man or that I'm even capable of such and 2) that I ever knew him enough to love him. But there is something that pulls at my heart, my memory and shuts down the smart part of my brain when I think of him.

I met him when I was probably 12 or so. He was my big brother's friend. He was the requisite cute, smart, athletic, sarcastic, if a tad short. I think it was the eyes and the dimples that did it for me. And I became the Number 1 Pain to him from that moment on. I teased him mercilessly. Never cut him slack on anything. Challenged him in every way. And totally wore my heart on my sleeve from day one.

In high school he was a senior and I was a freshman and we ended up on "stage crew" together for the spring show. The teasing continued, the tickling started. I was so over the moon. But he was older, with a date to the prom. I wrote him the dumbest poem ever in his graduation card. And said goodbye as he went off to the Air Force Academy.

Two years later he showed up at graduation - I was there bidding more friends goodbye and chatting up alumni. He stood by me for about 15 minutes, unnoticed. He had grown and matured. Finally he turned to me and said, "Aren't you even going to say hello?" And I melted there and then. My current boyfriend forgotten, I lapsed into the same, comfortable verbal jousting we always enjoyed. I said Yes when he asked me to go to the beach with him during his short break home. I fretted about what to wear for days, and didn't mind when the beach trip got cut short by the rain so we went home early to my parents' house where he kissed me on the living room couch and I melted.

Thus began a 6 year cycle - he'd go off to school and then later off to base, stopping home some summers and at Christmas. Sometimes he'd write a note or two inbetween. Sometimes not. But when he was in town, he'd call and I'd jump. Movies. Beach. Drives to Lookout Point. The time we watched "The Sound of Music" on my parents' couch and he sang to me, "You are 17 going on 18 I'll take care of you..." My boyfriend of the moment was always forgotten the minute he came to town. I never considered it cheating - we were just friends. And usually he just kissed me goodbye. So what if my heart ached for months afterward?

I remember Junior Year of college - he had disappeared for a while after his graduation. I was in the lounge in the middle of a dorm meeting when the hall phone rang and someone said, "Hey Mellie it's for YOU! Some Boy" I was currently dating a few boys (one the Ex). I called them "bachelor# 1 [or 2 or 3]" to their faces. I was not too happy with men in general. Until I realized It. Was. Him. Same feelings. Same buttery legs and racing heart. Same "YES" when he asked if I could see him.

We walked on the beach, had a nice dinner, shared music and laughs and a college party. "Top Gun" was still a popular movie. I thought he was Tom Cruise. I wanted him to be Bachelor #1. My friends thought he was an Arrogant Ass and kept calling him "Bachelor #4" - to his face. This time he did a little more than kiss me. I was pretty much a prude so he didn't get real far, but I thought about it. I followed him back home that night and spent the night in his otherwise empty house with him (my school was only 45 minutes from home). When it became clear I wouldn't do THAT he put me in his bed and slept in his parents' bed.

He left early the next morning, off to see the rest of his family in New Hampshire. I never did come up with a plausable excuse for showing up at my parents' house at 8am on a Saturday morning.

We saw each other one more time - about 6 months later. This time I didn't kiss him. I wouldn't even go out with him other than for a quick drink. I explained I had a serious boyfriend and that it just wasn't going to be that way between us anymore. He was so taken aback. And wished me well. When I got engaged 9 months later, I sent Him a note, explaining how much he always meant to me and hoped he would find his Mrs. Right one day like I had found mine.

We exchanged Christmas cards for a couple years - much to the total annoyance of Ex - and then we lost touch. About 12 years ago at my brother's school reunion the Boy was there and asked about me. He said to my brother, "Boy I really blew it with her didn't I." My brother's then wife [evil woman] got his number and passed it along to me. Ex and I had already begun divorce talk, although it would take another 11 years to pull the trigger, and I was home from Spain with the kids for a visit. I called the Boy. We talked. He made plans to come see me - borrowing a small jet and flying in to the local airport where I'd pick him up. I called him back and canceled. And walked away.

I have tracked him occasionally through various databases and things available on the internet. I think I know where he lives. I don't know if he ever married. He didn't show up to my brother's last reunion like we thought he was going to. I was home, just in case...

And yesterday while watching Steel Magnolias, he popped in my head again. Sometimes it's an old song, sometimes a movie, sometimes an airplane flying by. My friends were probably right about him - I mean c'mon the boy used to send me photos of himself standing next to his fighter jet or his sports car. Yeah me and probably 20 other girls. I don't know why he pops in my head like that. I can't figure out why he still means anything at all to me - lost youth? Regretful choices? Carefree jousting? Woulda coulda shouldabeens? I don't know. When I really think about it, we didn't have but a handful of dates, shared a bunch of letters, a couple phone calls. How well did I ever know him?

And so, I thought I'd turn to my bloggy friends for a normalcy check - anyone else have A Boy in the memory banks who you just can't erase?

22 comments:

Busy Bee Suz said...

Gosh, I wish I did. :)
I think he has stayed with you so long in your memory, because you have nothing but GOOD memories attached to him. He sounds wonderful...but distant. Your destiny was set before you...none of those "woulda coulda shoulda's" missy...it is what it is. ;) What it was meant to be.
They are good memories though...he sounds almost too good to be true. In real life, he most likely had some faults...right???
You did not get in deep enough to find the real faults.

ChiTown Girl said...

What Suz said makes complete sense. And, who knows what the future holds. He may find his way back to you one day...

Persnickety Ticker said...

Ah yes, I have one of those...in another life...we would have been perfect together. We agreed that if circumstanced ever presented themselves, we would run off to a tropical island where we would be blissfully happy together in paradise.

A dream guy in a dream world.

In reality, he loves his wife and children, and I adore my daughter, but secretly hope that two tickets to paradise will show up at my door so we can run off and eat some cheeseburgers.

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I did have some big crushes on a few guys growing up. On in particular, I fawned over mentally from 6th grade till 8th grade. I so wish I could've gotten up the nerve to ask him out and not just settle as friends. I saw him 14 years ago at the church carnival, but by then I'd met Devildog and we'd spawned.
Enjoy the memories, but don't obsess too much. He probably digs in his trousers a bit much for civility anyway.
What?? everyone has a quirk or fault. Sheesh.

Jen said...

Yes... and I've tried to find him but I can't because I can't seem to remember his last name...

J.G. said...

Yes, definitely! My high school/early college dream guy proved totally unsuitable, despite a magical connection.

But it's more about nostalgia, being young, the poignancy of unfulfilled promise, mystery, What Ifs, and all that good stuff. That's where the power comes from, I believe.

A real relationship isn't always better than fantasy, but at least it's real.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm married to the one that would have been my boy. You've got some great advice from other commenters.

Fleur de Bee said...

I have three words: LOOK HIM UP!!!!!!!!!!

How adorable this story!! I am all giggly that you wrote him a poem! How cute! Maybe I am not like the rest of the people here, but if you are still unattached then you never know until you get that closure. If you are attached (assuming the Cptn. is your man) then move on. I had an old college boyfriend that recently found me off one of those databases. While he was sweet and all, it was a bit strange and I could see all the reasons why our ending up together would never have worked. But each person is different! Only YOU can decide that!

xo

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

This is probably my favorite of your posts, not only by your words of choice, but also by the connection you know you made with each us. Of course I have a boy, And I now know that it is completley normal, and that I am not the only one who never forgot him, and committed "Carefree Jousting" (perfect description I love this). I'm with Bee, Call him while you are amidst your flight of freedom, before the journey ends.
WHY NOT?

Anonymous said...

Yes! I definitely have one of these. We even got together after seeing each other at a class reunion. (I was unhappily married, shame on me) We were off and on for a couple of years. I wanted to know he'd be there after my divorce, he didn't want to be the reason my marriage fell apart. So, needless to say, it ended with him asking me not to give up on him and to please stay and my driving away without looking back. Still wonder if that was the right decision. Sorry to post anonymously but the divorce never happened so can't be too careful.

Saucy said...

Everybody does! Even my mother copped to that once.

Actually, in a soap-opera like twist, mine showed up out of the blue, returned from California, standing in front of me where I worked, the night before I was going to leave town to get married to someone else who I had just met.

Duh-duh-duh! What did I do?

Jennifer said...

SInce I left my Ex a few guys would come to mind. A lot of wondering goes on in my mind as to whether or not I did the right things. I was shy and never dated until after high school. I probably should have stepped out of my comfort zone more. With one I should have stepped back. The good memories always come up when we're down or lonely. Until I find Mr. Right and Perfect then the memories wil continue to come to mind.

Lana said...

Yea, I had one of those. For 9 years on and off. (in all fairness 5 of those years there was zero contact)
Only he didn't have jets and fancy cars!!

PS - I wish you all the best with your stick people drawing. ;)

hulagirlatheart said...

Yes, and it pisses me off that I can't forget him. I look back at that time and wonder why I was so willing to allow myself to be treated so poorly and rejoiced in any scrap of attention he threw my way. In fact, it hurts just writing about it.

ModernMom said...

I think you should submit that little antidote to some of the soaps on TV!! They could use some freshening up and yours is a great little love ...or love that got a way story :)

dkuroiwa said...

okay...really...are you in my head, or what???!! I was even working out a post in my head all day today...maybe I'll just link to yours and call it good? :-D

I have one of those "boys"...he was maybe not THE love of my life, but definitely in the top 3. For 15, 18 and 27 year-old-Debbie...he's the one. In the past couple of years, thanks to yahoo and other internet connections, we have gotten back in touch....when he messages me, I feel like it was 25 years ago...I have to remind myself that even though he seems like a nice guy now, he ripped my heart out (quite a few times) and stomped it flat (thanks Lewis Grizzard for that line!). "Talking" to him makes me feel good, though...flirting back and forth...yeah, that's fun, too. Harmless and oh so far away.

You should try to find him...you were friends, first...you can never lose that...and one can not have too many friends.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Yes I do, have someone I wonder about, I mean. But I don't wonder what if. Because really, I know it would not have worked. In fact, he's four years older than I and still not married. And me? I'm married to the guy who I want to be with, so I'll never call. But you? Can call. And not wonder any more.

Big Bro said...

Other than the fact that I think you are retreating to your childhood (I'm the baby-gotta love me-days) out of fear for what you have with the Capt, which, by the way, I think is wonderful, I say call him.
My bets are on finding closure-you aren't who you used to be but the memories will always be there.

The Girl Next Door said...

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in the "long lost crushes" department, sorry that it still hurts some of you. I do have a lovely, caring relationship with the Captain and have no interest in calling the Boy Who Haunts Me. I truly just wondered if this was a kind of "normal" thing. And I think you all have answered me - "yes." Well except for Jenn who managed to Marry "The Boy" instead of just dreaming about him. Which is, among other reasons, precisely why I knew she'd have the perfect shovel for me if I ever need it... [see previous post]

thanks all for your bloggy support and love! (and you Big Bro. Love ya, Flash Jr.)

Maggie said...

OMG!! YES YES YES YES...for sure! I have one and he still gets to me everytime I think about him.

Momlissa said...

Ah, you got me with the Steel Magnolias reference. On my favorite movie list, for a variety of reasons. "If you can't say something nice at all...come sit next to me" and "the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize" both classic, classic lines.

But I digress.

Yes, I do have one of those haunting boys you speak of. I think about him a lot and feel bad about that at times. He's married, I'm married and all that, but he does haunt me.

Anonymous said...

Yes!!! I do. I was hoping I'd forget about him, but so far it hasn't happened.
And everytime I see him I fall back into the old schoolgirl giggliness, it's dispicable!