I took a couple of days break due to, well, let’s call it bloggers block. Let’s be honest you wanted a little break, I don’t blame you. You know it’s interesting, I want to write (I know, I know, obviously). It’s only taken these few posts to convince me of that. I find it therapeutic and fun as odd as that may seem. So, if I am going to continue it will mean that not all of my stories will be funny or even true… But I want people to read and I need the practice. This may be overly honest or pathetic to some of you, but I want to be great at this and I am going to continue to work extremely hard at it. There, that is off my mind, now I will tell you a story. This will definitely be part of an ongoing series of stories but as we know it is important to start at the beginning, so here we go.
I saw her. I saw her before she knew I did. This is not to say that it was love at first sight, it is fair to say that 14-year-old feels that several times a day for a whole year. Believe it or not I was a little less awkward at 14. I was still a little heavy (still am), still had the freckles (still do) but I didn’t look like a giant anymore and my ability to make people laugh made people like me. The rest of my classmates were catching up to me in height and it actually made me look somewhat normal. However, as far as I was concerned she was out of my league… But I had one advantage, a pool.
Summer 1999. It must have been late June or early July and I had the benefit of living down the road from a cute girl in the grade below me. She was having “a couple” of friends over and wanted to come over to hang by the pool (jackpot). As these girls walked down the driveway it was obvious that “a couple” meant more than two… There must have been 10-12 of them (did I mention, jackpot). I think my mom was a little freaked out by the attire these 13-14 year old girls arrived in but she was a good sport about it since I told her only “a couple” of girls were coming over. I was participating in my normal, er, discussion about the rules with my mom when I saw her. I was standing in my living room in the window overlooking the pool when I saw her sitting there smiling.
She was the only girl in the group that I hadn’t met before, I don’t even think I knew her name. There was something about her, she was gorgeous of course but I think it was something else. Something else that I can’t describe. Maybe it was because it was a perfect summer day and she was in a swim suit next to my pool, but I was drawn to her immediately. Something happened that to this day is out of character for me, I summoned up the courage to go talk to her. Just like that I walked over and started talking to her. I was nervous but had no shame in voicing my displeasure with her boyfriend at the time (sorry dude). We moved on and got to know each other, it was the most mature conversation I think I had been involved in to that point (maybe ever). I knew immediately that I wanted her to be my girlfriend. I wanted to have more conversations like the one we were having. It’s funny looking back, we were so very young and what did it really mean to have a girlfriend? It basically meant someone to talk to on the phone (hey, I would take anything that I could get).
About a month passed and I had yet to cross paths with her again (I’d be lying if I said I thought about her every day). Not a day passed that I didn’t think about her (it just makes the story better, right?). Then, July 25th I got a phone call. I can remember it as if it happened this afternoon. I had a couple of friends over (this is a frequent occurrence when you have a pool and are 14, have I mentioned I was the favorite?). Anyway, the phone rang and I looked at the Caller ID – “Badeaux, George 828-1892.”
I said to my friends, “who’s badukes?”
They informed me who it was… My heart raced, not possible… I was nervous as I picked up the phone and… it wasn’t her, but it was one of her friends inviting us out to her birthday party (cha-ching). Her brother picked us up and brought us out to her party on one of the scariest car rides of my life driving way too fast down a dirt road. It was a party on the lake that she lived on and when we arrived there were already tons of kids swimming and having fun.
My friends and I were the older guys at the party and we did what we could to play our part (you know, acting uninterested in everything that was going on). I was pre occupied, however, trying to make eye contact with her at every chance because I had already lost the courage to go talk to her again.
That evening there was a dance at the Brainerd YMCA (where I now have a tile dedicated with my name on it, yeah, I’m a big deal). Normally I hated these dances.. I always felt like I never had anyone to dance with during the slow songs (like “I Swear” by All 4 One), I was extremely insecure and I was a hopeless romantic (still am). But the information had been leaked that someone wanted me to go to the dance. Now I was excited, things were starting to look up.
When we got to the dance I found out that she was not the one who wanted me to come, in fact, she was interested in one of my best friends. To say I was devastated is an understatement, I am pretty sure I cried (I cry a lot, ok? Get over it). Shortly there after she was “going out” with this friend of mine, I was crushed. Now, I got to hear about her all of the time… this was torture.
I decided I had to move on and try to find someone else to crush on and attempt to make my girlfriend. I actually succeeded shortly after the school year started I had found a girl who was interested and we were talking on the phone every night, it was great and I felt a tiny bit of confidence brewing, 9th grade was going to be alright. (Quick side note: this girl started saying “I love you” when we hung up after a week, I never said it back but I liked the idea that she was saying it to me. I don’t know why I think this is relevant but it was really awkward every time she said it.)
After 2 weeks of “going out” with this new girl there was a high school football game to attend where I thought I would have the opportunity to either hold hands or even put my arm around my girlfriend. I was so excited, it made me feel cool. So, I got ready and put on way too much Tommy Hilfiger cologne. As I walked through the gates to the football field I saw a couple of my girlfriends friends headed my way, uh oh. I don’t know if you all remember, but I do… your girlfriends friends coming to talk to you in junior high is the kiss of death. And it was, shit. I was officially dumped.
The lump started in my throat and my eyes welled… shit. It wasn’t because I really liked this girl and was heart-broken that she didn’t want to be my girlfriend anymore (honestly, I don’t think I really liked her all that much, sorry). But, I loved the idea of having a girlfriend, for whatever reason I craved the attention and feeling of knowing that I had a girlfriend. Anyway, some of my friends saw me crying and it quickly circulated the bleachers (awesome).
I was greeted with laughter and people making fun of me as I denied the accusations of crying over a meaningless 2 week relationship. Again, it wasn’t the relationship it was that I needed to feel liked, wanted… like every other teenager, right? I sat quietly for the majority of the football game, content with being the quiet and depressed guy wallowing in sorrow (looking for attention). Then I got the news that would change my life forever…