I was thinking about this the other day after a conversation w/a friend. She said to me, something along the lines of, “Do you remember the time in high school that you tried to explain to me how you felt it was safer to stand back from life & watch it, rather than try to live it, so as not to ruin it? You know, how you had that enormous crush but would never dare to make it REAL” … I knew exactly what she was talking about.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. Really. It’s not a “this one time, at band camp”… but I am going to start out in grade school.
I was quiet. Nerdy. Ashamed of myself. Usually dirty; clothes, hair, skin. My then step-father had a thing about using too much water, even though we lived on a farm & had well water. Showers were limited to a weekly basis, instead of a daily basis. The laundry rarely got washed, because it too obviously used this “precious water”. Let me tell you, living on a farm did NOT provide for a wear-your-pants-multiple-times-between-washes atmosphere. Pretty much, as soon as you walked out of the house, you were dirty. Especially since we lived on a pig farm & I rode horses daily. This kind of crap didn’t go so well with the other kids at school. I was an outcast. I accepted it & never tried to change my “place” in life – always hiding in corners & being as unseen as possible.
When I was 13 my mom & step-dad split. We moved to a much smaller house on a few acres, still out in the country of course. I moved to a new school to start my high school days. I knew very few people in the entire school, so it was my chance to start over. And shower daily, by the way.
I made a few close friends in my first few months at CN; friends that still stand by my side to this day. By winter months I had come out of my shell enough to even try out for the school basketball team.
One of the few people I did happen to know prior to starting at CN was Randy. Let me rephrase that, “know” doesn’t exactly fit the bill here. I was captivated by him. He only knew I existed, and probably only ever viewed me as a pain in the whoo hoo. My mom was friends with his parents & had been for as long as I could remember. I held onto that child-like crush for years, and then suddenly I was attending the same school as him, even if only for his senior year.
I would sneak off during lunch to see him play basketball with his friends in the gym. My friends thought I was nuts. Maybe they were clued into something, even back then! J I would never breach the unspoken barrier between us. To attempt to make myself known to him was an open door for failure. No thanks.
When my mother would visit his parents, I would wait in the car, sometimes for hours, just to avoid the possibility that my dream would be ruined with reality. That he would laugh at me, or tell me to stop following him, or stop watching him. Luckily for me, he was quite on the shy side himself & never went out of his way to chastise me for being a silly young girl. He knew though. Our parents teased me about it.
I continued throughout the school year, watching from afar. Always trying to hide & seem unnoticeable. Threatening any of my friends that suggested I actually talk to him, or offer to talk to him for me. In my head, our relationship was perfect. Fairy tale. In real life, it was non-existent. I would never make a move that would jeopardize that non-existence. To me, it was more acceptable to fail at something knowing it never had the chance, than to fail at trying. Why take away that magical feeling? Ruin it with reality? It was easier to wish & dream than it would ever be to attempt to live in reality.
I wish I was still dreaming.
The Tao of unsaying
5 months ago