The end of the year, the start of ‘THE BLACK PAGES’

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…sounds ominous…but it really isn’t.

A lot of things had happened in the months after the Halloween dance. After getting saturday detention for being the “ring leaders” of the bathroom war, Anna* and I were seen as resident badasses. It was the furthest from the truth in my case, but I loved the newfound attention that the ‘bad girl’ status gave me. Towards the end of November I once again became obsessed with becoming Jack’s* girlfriend. So obsessed that Anna and I resorted to three-way calling him nightly.

I was, of course, to chicken to talk to him. Anna would call and ask him about his thoughts on me, while I listened intensely with the mute button on. Mostly our little calls backfired because he would say something slightly hurtful like how he thought I was strange and hyper. He followed up, in his slightly raspy voice, that he did think I was sort of pretty.  All I got from the conversation was, OMG! JACK THINKS I AM PRETTY! I dropped the ‘sort of’ in my head because…I was stupid.   I was oblivious to the fact that he was just trying to be nice. Nope, I thought he loved me.

I was getting tired of waiting for Jack to ask me out. I wasn’t just being naive about his feelings, but there was actually a steady rumor going around that he was finally going to ask me. After months of unrequited torture it was going to happen. I filled my journal with all the possibilities of us as a junior high power couple. How, with Jack on my arm, everyone would know who I was. Not really thinking that given his past track record, our relationship probably wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks. I convinced myself that we were meant to be.

One night, I had finally had enough waiting. During another one of our three-way calls, Anna demanded to know why Jack hadn’t ‘popped the question’. He mumbled something about how he had to focus on his upcoming wrestling season and that he wasn’t going to go out with anyone. The disappointment hit me right in my heart, but it quickly went away because I was the glass half full type girl. Jack said he wasn’t going to go out with anyone, meaning I would just wait for him.  I mean wrestling season was only a couple months long and I could wait. Instead of being mad, I respected his focus on athletics. It only made me obsess over him more. That was until I learned about Kayla.

Within the month Jack had started going out with Kayla, a peppy seventh grader with the body of a tenth grader. So much for wrestling season, I thought to myself. Not only had Jack bypassed me, but apparently he had bypassed the rest of the eighth grade girls and moved on to the younger ones. I started to grasp the reality of my situation. Jack never wanted to go out with me and he probably felt sorry for me. I was over it. The school wasn’t.

The rumors of my obsession with him spread around until it was full public knowledge. So quickly I went from badass ring leader to crazy stalker girl. I kept my head up in public, but honestly it was hard to avoid my feelings in my quiet bedroom. I resorted to spewing all my feelings in what was left of my Lisa Frank Journal.

After so many blows a girl has to do something to keep what is left of her dignity. On New Year’s Eve, I vowed that I was over being treated the way Jack treated me. I had new goals and better yet, I had a new journal. The spiral bound black pages would help me get over my heartbreak and into the new millennium.

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*Names have been changed because….just because, who cares?

A HORROR-ible night to remember, Part Two

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I was thirteen, so my only real knowledge about how to win a boy’s heart was from endlessly watching high school romantic comedies and reading Tigerbeat.

My plan went as follows:

  1. Look H-O-T-T! (required spelling in my journal)
  2. Dance with Jack.
  3. Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me.
  4. Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s new girlfriend.

Best plan ever.

A few of us arrived at Sara*’s house a couple of hours early to help decorate her garage for the party. Pretty much everyone in the eighth-grade class was going to be there. I grew up in a small town, so my entire class consisted of about seventy kids. It was going to the best night of my life.

STEP ONE: Look H-O-T-T! like a dead, hot person?

After we placed the finishing touches on the impressively large garage we all went into costume mode. I had chosen to go as a saloon girl because it was the only thing left that was pretty and in my size. The girls Jack usually went out with had only two things in common. They were all thin and pretty. Most days I didn’t feel like I was either of those, but I determined to not let that change anything. This night was going to be different because I was going to look like a babe.

If you haven’t already guessed, I was a very anxious and shy person. While changing into my costumes, I started to think about the flaws in my plan. What if I get all dolled up and never even get noticed? At the same time, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. My plan practically required that a large group of thirteen year olds would stare at only me as I entered the party. The more I thought about it, the more I was freaked out.

No, I couldn’t go through with it. I just wanted to blend in, hide. So using some crappy Halloween makeup that one of my friends had brought for their costume, I covered up. Declaring to all my friends that I decided to become a scary version of my costume. I wasn’t ready to be the center of attention.

My friends Sara and Anna* promised to help me with my ultra brilliant plan. Part of me believes they were just sick of seeing me pine over Jack. I trusted that they would find a way to help.

Sara’s garage quickly filled up with the majority of my eighth-grade class.  We were all enjoying the large amount of junk food and dancing to awesome hits from early Destiny’s Child to Britney Spears. Eventually, a slow song hit and kids started to self-consciously pair up. Waiting for a boy to ask you to dance has all the same uneasiness as waiting to get picked for a team in P.E. I hated both situations equally. I was trying my best not to look like I cared by pretending to tie my shoe when I saw a pair of feet appear next to mine.

“Wanna dance?” Jack asked, his pure blue eyes focused on mine.

I smiled and shook my head, dumbfounded and unable to form words. I was back in business.

STEP TWO: Dance with Jack.

I placed my hands on his shoulders; he placed his lightly on my waist. My eyes darted back and forth from his face to my friend’s faces. They were all looking at me with gleaming mischievous smiles. I honestly started having a tiny panic attack, trying to awake from this obvious dream. No, this was real, really awkward. We were spaced too far apart unnaturally swaying to the beat of the song. Then I started to think of all the things my friends probably did to do to get Jack to dance with me. What if they had to like, pay him or something? Eventually, the worry swept away as we started to swing in unison. I relaxed a bit and starting to enjoy myself.   After the song, Jack wrapped his arms and patted me on the back.

“Thanks,” he said and walked away. I’ll take it! I thought to myself.

STEP THREE: Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me someone else.

Sara and Anna* among my other friends dragged me upstairs into the kitchen for a recap. I replayed everything, leaving out little tidbits, like how he smelled of soap mixed with a splash of Brut’s cologne. We stayed up in the kitchen for awhile, discussing who had the best and worst costumes of the night. Breanna Morris* was trying to get attention as a “sexy” pirate. We had a debate on what Madison Miller* was even supposed to be.

Eventually, we went back down to the garage. Seal’s “Kissed by a Rose” (a junior high dance classic) was playing. I looked around the party for Jack, hoping maybe he would be waiting to ask me to dance, or better yet to be his girlfriend.

Everything was moving in slow motion when I saw them together. It was as if they were swaying under a big bright spotlight with a sign with the words “HEARTBREAK! BETRAYAL!” illuminating above them. It was Jack and Breanna. They were intertwined slowly rocking to the music. His hands were resting on her…BUTT!

I could feel it coming. First it was the stinging of the nose then heaviness filled my chest. My eyes were filling up and there was no way to stop it. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in all my thirteen years. I hid on the top of the garage steps trying not to think about what I just saw. It felt like my whole world, my whole dream world, was demolished. My friends tried to tell me he wasn’t worth it or that Breanna was not even pretty. All the usual lies that good friends tell you to make you feel better.

STEP FOUR: Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s girlfriend ALONE.

I couldn’t help but stare at them. They looked so happy. It should have been me, I kept telling myself. Word got around fast that Breanna was the one who asked him out. Of course she had a plan too.  It was something that I would have never been able to do. She probably knew that.  We had history.

The night went by, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the party, except me. My friends did their best to cheer me up. I even danced with a couple of boys who I had crushes on before Jack. It wasn’t enough; I was still too devastated.

The sight of my Dad’s gold Pontiac was a welcome relief. I told him about everything on the way home. My dad’s advice was that Breanna was probably a “rebound” from his breakup with April. I looked at my dad with curious eyes.

“What’s a rebound?” I asked. My dad just shook his head and laughed as we continued home.

*Names have been changed because I like looking at baby name websites.

A HORROR-ible night to remember…

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Sometimes I miss being so incredibly naive and hopeful like I was when I was thirteen. Watching too many romantic teen comedies gave me a false sense of how things worked in the real world. Like that one night or one party could change my luck. The luck I was looking for the boy of my dreams to notice me. Not just notice me but fall in love with me. Like I said, I was naive.

It was October and my friend Sara announced she was going to have a Halloween party at her house. If my life were a movie, it would have been Sixteen Candles. Jack* would have been my Jake Ryan. Most days I felt just as invisible to the whole world as Molly Ringwald did. I only wish that the boy would notice me.

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For the past month, I had been pretty bummed about the Jack situation. I felt like he didn’t notice me and if he did it was because I was that “weird girl” in his science class. He had been dating April*. She was pretty and nice which was a rare combination in junior high. I never had a problem with her until I saw her sitting on Jack’s lap one night.

Anna* and I decided to get some fresh air one night during the high school basketball game when we noticed them and another couple practically making out on the swings. It scared me. I wrote in my journal that night declaring that I was “afraid to grow up in a world of sex” and that Jack “made me sick!” (Lisa Frank Journal).

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After that, I tried to accept the fact that Jack was too advanced for me, and I should just let our love go.

Ok, I let it go for about a week. I kept writing about how I wanted to find a new boy to make Jack jealous, but it never happened. My second plan was to make April unpopular, but I didn’t know how to manipulate an entire eighth class into hating one of the prettiest girls in school. Eventually, I gave into the idea that maybe they were meant to be. I overestimated the seriousness of a typical preteen relationship.

A couple of days before the Halloween party the rumor broke out that Jack and April broke up. At the time, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was fate, I thought. That day I came up with a fool-proof plan to win Jack’s heart.

First things first, I needed a killer costume. Being only thirteen I had never dressed “sexy” for Halloween, but this year was going to be different. My idea of sexy was, of course, wearing tons of makeup and looking girly. I just wanted to look different, look prettier. I begged my parents to drive me the twenty minutes to the city to buy the best costume I could find. The costume store had been raided, but I ended up finding a red “saloon girl” dress. The day of the party I got self-conscious of trying to intentionally look pretty. I panicked and ended up changing my costume to “zombie saloon girl”.

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The second part of the plan was a bit flawed. I would ask Jack to dance and not just Jack, but other boys. I was going to make Jack jealous. I thought if he saw other boys taking an interest then he would be interested. I never took into consideration that other girls would be coming up with fool-proof plans.

Come Saturday night, someone was going to be Jack’s girlfriend. It just wasn’t me.

To be continued…

*Names have been changed because I don’t want to be sued for defamation. ☺

Ex-boyfriend plus new crush equals disaster.

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The first time I saw Jack* was pure magic. Our school never had any luck getting cute new boys, but with him, we hit the jackpot. He was everything I never knew I wanted in a boy. His “pure blue” eyes and curly brown hair overtook everything else that was perfect about him. I thought he was flawless because his short, muscular frame looked far less awkward than all the other boys in my grade. Before Jack, I never knew what “love at first sight” meant. The minute I saw him our life together flashed before my eyes. Our epic love would last forever. Unfortunately, he was the fresh meat in a tank of hungry preteen female sharks. I had no chance. 200-29

I didn’t know what to do about Jack. I couldn’t get him out of my head. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. I never wanted anything more, but I couldn’t even make eye contact with the guy. I got red every time he even considered looking my way. I was the “weird girl” because of the multiple times he would catch me staring at the back of his head during science class. I tried to play it off as if I was “zoning out” when really I was trying to Jedi mind trick him into loving me. The worst part about science class was the presence of someone from my past, Trevor*. Yes, my first real boyfriend, Trevor, was my first obstacle in getting Jack. They quickly became friends, which was the worst news for me. Trevor acted weird around me ever since we broke up in sixth grade. I felt as though our break up was amicable, but apparently Trevor had seen it differently. I was so worried about the things that he was telling Jack about me. Cause you know he was. Or I was just paranoid. Nothing is more awkward than my elementary ex-boyfriend catching me admiring the back of his best friend’s head. Oh wait.

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My assigned seat was next to Trevor, who sat right behind Jack. One day in particular I caught Trevor’s eyes burrowing holes into the right side of my head. It took a while to realize because my eyes were busy as usual valuing the curves of Jack’s impeccable earlobes. (Yup. His ears were beautiful.) The sight of Jack’s head moving in my direction broke my gaze. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I glanced over at Trevor to see him staring with a devilish grin. I looked quickly back at Jack, who looked slightly nervous. I quickly shifted my eyes towards my desk in embarrassment.

“She was totally staring at the back of your head. For like ten minutes straight, dude! She must like you!” Trevor exclaimed, so loud the rest of the class heard. Giggles, then, full-blown laughter erupted in the room. Jack’s face turned a light shade of red as he turned towards the front of the classroom. I sat staring ahead, trying to pretend the whole class wasn’t laughing at me. After class, I barely made it the bathroom before breaking down into tears. I sat in the bathroom, waiting, hoping that no one notice I wasn’t in the lunchroom. My best friends Anna* and Cas* found me, trying to reassure me that Trevor must be still in love with me. “It was the only responsible explanation” they explained. Maybe it was a good thing, I thought to myself. Now, Jack would know that I was interested, and it would only be a matter of time before we would be a couple.

Boy was I wrong.

Summertime Sister Girlfriends, Part Two

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Round Trampoline

After Anna’s idea of jumping on Luke’s trampoline it was hard to separate us from Luke’s side the rest of the summer.   We would all ride our bikes around the neighborhood, go swimming in the river, and of course jump on the Luke’s trampoline. Anna and I thought our three-way relationship was golden. Never really wondering how Luke felt about the arrangement. Never really questioning whether he saw us as his girlfriends or even if he liked one of us over the other. I mean yes, sometimes I caught myself wondering if he actually liked us at all. It was brief thoughts. I would remind myself that he would be stupid not to like us both. At the time I thought everything was so black and white, so easy. We were too young to have sexual tension. There was no hand holding or kissing. We were like three best friends. Two of which were continually planning to one day wed the third, but it was innocent.

One day in July, we all decided to go see a Titanic together. I had been dying to see it because of obvious “LEO” reasons. It was our first real date with Luke and unfortunately my dad was the only free parent to drive us. We agreed to meet at my house at 5:00 pm. At 4:45 there was a knock at my front door. It was Luke, early. After a moment of freaking out, I let him in. Until that day, Anna and I had followed our “no hanging out alone with Luke” rule. I was too nervous to remember my own name, let alone the rules to our friendship. Luke had never been inside of my house before, so I showed him around. Since we had some time before my dad or Anna would be there, we sat and listened to music on my bed. It was going pretty well. I was actually carrying on a conversation with the boy of my dreams without Anna as my safety net. He started to tease me about my large stuffed animal collection, which somehow turned into a wrestling match. It was mostly innocent.

My dad had a hard time deciphering the situation when he walked in on me sitting on top of Luke, his hands pinned to his chest. Surprisingly he didn’t freak out; he nervously asked if we were ready to go. A couple of minutes later, Anna rang the doorbell and our date officially started.

I never told Anna about my alone time with Luke. I did however get a talking to by my parents about being alone with boys in my room. At the time, I didn’t understand it. I mean, yes, if we had been alone any longer maybe Luke would have tried to kiss me. My intentions, however, were strictly innocent. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything with a boy until was I in eighth grade. Even then it made me extremely nervous to think about. After our date, things slowed down in our three-way relationship.

It was a week before school started when things were getting weird. I hadn’t seen Luke or Anna in almost two weeks. Every time I tried to call Anna she said she was doing something with her parents or she was grounded for some stupid reason. She was always the one that would call Luke, so there was no way I was going to do it without her. One day I decided to ride my bike to her house. I figured if she didn’t want to hang out she could tell me why in person. As a rode past Luke’s house, my heart sank. There was Anna, her long blonde hair bouncing in the air on Luke’s trampoline. They were both jumping and laughing, without me. I froze and just stared. I didn’t understand why they hadn’t called me. I didn’t understand why she was breaking our rule. I didn’t understand anything at that point. As I stood there wishing I could be anywhere else, Anna caught my gaze. I peddled as fast I could as tears ran down my face. No one called. No one followed me. I was alone.

That Friday, my brother was starting in the first football game of the season. Friday night football games in my small town were pretty much the only thing on the social calendar. I knew that Anna and probably Luke would be there, along with the rest of the town. My parents dragged me to see my brother. My mother reminded me that it would be good to see some of my other friends. Friends that I had neglected to see the whole summer. Luckily when I reached my small group of friends, Anna was nowhere to be found. They were all chattering about who changed the most over the summer and who was dating who. I wasn’t really listening until I heard, “Did you hear? Anna and Luke are like together, TOGETHER. Can you believe it? Random.” Knowing that information didn’t hurt as much as seeing them together on the trampoline earlier that week. The last couple of days I tried to make sense of the whole situation.  I realized then, they didn’t want me around because they wanted a real two-way relationship (as real as a seventh grade relationship could get). It became all too real when I saw them across the stands, holding hands while talking to a group of Luke’s friends. Anna didn’t talk to me that night.

In the end their “relationship” lasted less than a month. Anna never apologized for breaking the rule, but we became friends again anyway. As for Luke, well, after the whole situation my affections grew smaller for him. I moved on by finding new unrequited crushes (some more heartbreakingly awkward). Every once and a while he would nod my way and I would remember the summer we all had together. But junior high was a cruel place that separated the awkward kids from the cool kids. Eventually Anna and I became invisible to cool kids like Luke. Sometimes I wondered what would have happened if our three-way relationship would have worked out. Would he have acknowledged us at school? Or was it doomed from the start? All I know is that we would always have the creaky sound of Luke’s trampoline.

Summertime Sister Girlfriends Part 1…

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In the summer before seventh grade I was in love. His name was Luke* and I obviously was going to marry him and mother his children. I had actually been in love with Luke since fifth grade when his family moved to my ridiculously small town, but every girl was. He was quite dreamy with his big blue eyes and strawberry blonde bowl cut. He basically looked like a more attainable Devon Sawa with a little Brad Renfro mixed in. The problem was that my best friend, Anna* was also in love with him. Nothing was more thrilling than finding out that we rode our bikes past his house every day to get to each other’s. With this new information we made a pact that we would make him fall in love with both of us and ultimately share him. Yes we were going to be Sister Girlfriends. It was quite ambitious but it was the beginning of summer vacation and we were determined.

Our mission was set and the first step was to make sure that Luke knew we existed. So we did what every logical twelve year old girl would do, call his house and hang up about fifty times. That was until we worked up the nerve to actually talk to him on the phone. By we I meant Anna because I was still a crazy wreck with boys. The phone conversations were not long just asked what’s up? or what did you do today? His answers were usually something dreamy like watched some TV, took my little brothers to swim in the river, or mowed the lawn. Yes, Anna and I pretty much thought Luke was the coolest person ever. Eventually we needed more. We started riding our bikes past his house just waiting for chance to get a glance of that beautiful bowl cut of his.

One day I was on my way to Anna’s when I saw Luke jumping on his trampoline in his front yard with his little brother and his best friend Bryan*. Bryan yelled “Hey, what’s your number, girl?” at me as I rode past. I couldn’t peddle fast enough to get to Anna’s to tell her. There was no way I talk to Luke and Bryan by myself. Not to mention it would break the number one rule in our summer pact. We promised to never see Luke without the other. Our thought process was that if he spent equal time with us then he couldn’t help but fall in love with both of us. Got to love preteen logic. When Anna and I rode by his house they were all still outside. This time was not the first we saw Luke outside his house, normally we had the “shy wave and giggle drive by” protocol. Anna boldly decided that this day would be different. We were going to jump on Luke’s awesome trampoline.

Next time…. First three person date, heartbreak and betrayal…

*Names have been changed for the privacy of the people who will probably never see this anyway.

First kisses with sixth grade boys…

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When I was young I wasn’t very popular with the boys. My incredible shyness did not help matters, even as I got into my late teens. Yet there was a point in school where I seemed to be the “bees knees”.

I peaked in elementary school.

It was the summer before sixth grade when I first starting getting phone calls from a couple of boys in my class. I had no clue why, but it was a nice confidence boost to my 12-year-old ego. We would have innocent conversations of how our summers were and how excited, but not excited we were to start school. Most of them were brief in length and ended with the question “Would you be my girlfriend?”. A question I would deflect because the thought still terrified me. What did it mean to be someone’s girlfriend? I had no clue and didn’t plan on finding out. I would nicely state each time that I would have to think about.

Throughout the school year the two boys would persistently call me and by spring break I had a mini fan club that doubled in size. One time in particular all four boys called me from one their houses and fought over who could talk to me. Or I should say fought over who gets to listen to me breath because once again I was fucking shy. Still the small convo between long pauses of awkward silences was interesting. Again the conversations would always end up about who I was going to pick to be my boyfriend. The truth is that I never said yes to them before because I think I liked the feeling of being wanted. Another part of me believed that it was just some big joke that they came up with when they were bored one day. Let’s be honest, these boys would have had to be masterminds to plan a eight month old plan to trick some girl just for fun. Or completely bored psychopaths. I think I was giving these preteen boys too much credit.

Eventually I realized I liked the attention from one of the boys more than the others, Trevor*. After asking again I finally said yes to being his girlfriend. The other boys gave up easily and moved on except for Trevor’s best friend Bryan*. Bryan had been the first one who liked me or at least made it known. To be honest he had been asking me out regularly since the fourth grade. His level of awkwardness went beyond mine with his orangish red hair and freckle spotted skin. I always thought of Chuckie from Rugrats when I looked at him and not a potential boyfriend. One day during spring break Trevor, Bryan and a couple of the ex-members of my fan club decided to come over to my house. My parents were at work and my brother was off doing who knows what with his friends. (I look back now and wonder how bad my dad would have freaked out at the thought of his baby alone with four boys.)

The five of us sitting on my couch was even more awkward then the phone conversations. I could tell some of the boys were bored as they watched Trevor and I hold hands. Finally one of the two other boys(whose name I can’t remember) jokingly suggested that Trevor and I should kiss. My stomach jumped and I felt sick to think about the pressure of having our first kiss in front of an audience. To make it worse Bryan (who was still “in love” with me) looked horrified at the thought. He started to leave the room saying he didn’t want to see it when the other boys held him down. They thought it would be hilarious to force him to watch.(WORST FRIENDS EVER, right?) Under the pressure of the small group, Trevor and I reluctantly shared our first kiss. Trevor’s lips were soft and tightly pursed together. As if he was keeping something in his mouth from coming out. I mimicked this because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So many questions raced through my head. Should it be this long? Where do my my hands go? Why does anyone like this? On top these thoughts, I swear I could hear Bryan’s heart break. It wasn’t my proudest moment. Luckily for him it was brief and quite frankly the beginning of the end of my “relationship” with Trevor, we broke up within a couple of weeks.

As a very innocent twelve year old, the pecks on the lips every so often were way too advanced for me. Even holding hands turned my stomach into knots just thinking about it. Trevor would be a lot of firsts for me (more on this later), but the kiss will be something I will never forget. It made me realize that having a boyfriend was not all it was cracked up to be. Not to mention, it will forever be a unbearably awkward moment in my history.
*Names have been changed, not that these two now grown men would be reading this lady’s blog. If for some reason they did, WHAT’S UP, guys? Catch you at the reunion?