May 05th, 2013; tumblr; AFG
I have a list on my phone. It’s on a blue “post-it” titled “xo.” This list contains the names of those who’ve caught my attention, for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t say for sure why I’ve bothered with it all these years but I can say that it has only gotten longer over time. So to begin as this will surely be a lengthy process:
It was kindergarten. I was in the single digits. There’s very little else to go on. She was interesting. Couldn’t say if it were a physical attraction or one based on personality. I wasn’t even a teen yet. But I remember her name. And that was enough for her to be the first name on the list. Her name was M******.
It was perhaps third or fourth grade. There was something about her. I don’t recall much else. Just that she was different; special in some way. She could keep up with the boys at recess. Maybe she was even better than a few. Her name remains ever clear in my mind. That and the rumor about how she left school grounds to go to the mall that one time. It was a strange part of my youth. I never approached her with my feelings. I wasn’t sure what they were. I just knew I appreciated her company. She was friends with arguably my closest friend. And just like that associate, and so many others throughout my life, she would move away never to be heard from again. But at least, never forgotten either. Her name was R****.
It was my last year of elementary school. I had a good run. I’d made friends. I wasn’t terribly popular but I wasn’t picked on relentlessly either. I’d lost many a friend in the journey to that point. Only one because of a petty thing like a disagreement. She was different. To be fair they all seemed different when I found myself attracted to them. They were all unique. Not like the rest of the masses. I was embarrassed, inexperienced, lacking of confidence. I’d mention a few years later about the crush I had for her and she’d proceed to stab my reputation in the back with it but things were simpler back then, easier. We would eventually have a falling out not to long after we graduated from high school. Sometime during the first year of college. I remember talking to her on the phone when I was back in my hometown because of winter break. Haven’t spoken to her since. Funny enough, she stopped talking to me. All over a disagreement about the significance of Marxism. I owe her an apology. For crap I did in my youth. I tried to be a better friend because of it but when she ended our friendship I think I may have felt relieved. I was a coward, too afraid to own up to my misdeeds. Because of the split I no longer had to. What a fool I was and probably still am. Her name was RoX.
This one was something else entirely. I can’t possibly explain it in a way that wouldn’t sound crazy but here goes. It was my first year of high school, seventh grade. And though that was the first time I’d met her, it wouldn’t be the first time I ever knew her. A year prior, or maybe even two, I recalled an assembly. Someone was called on stage having had the same last name as her. It triggered memories of her. Of this girl I’ve never even met before. Going into a new school and at the lowest level, there were maybe three things I knew. This was a new adventure, my world was no longer as tiny, and that I desperately needed to find her. Lucky for me she ended up in my Homeroom. Sitting a seat or two away. To this day I never figured out how I knew her before I ever met her. Never told her about it either for that matter. Did ask her out once but circumstances what they were, it was truly poor timing. She was nice to me. Nice to the weirdo who didn’t do homework or study or pay attention in class but would still ace all the tests. She invited me to her sweet sixteen. She invited me to the movies. Just her and me. I remember that was the first time I ever snuck out of my house at night. Certainly wouldn’t be the last. But then again I guess it will always be the only time I ever did to meet someone. We had some good times. I remember almost having a nervous breakdown. I remember a friend convincing me to ask her if I could walk her home. She agreed to it. I remember just so much about that. We never dated. We were never more than friends. I always held her in high regard because she, though popular, was into a lot of the nerd/geek stuff I was into. In hindsight I wonder if maybe the attraction was mostly because I was so desperate to figure out the memories that shouldn’t’ve existed when they did. Either way, she was a most cherished friend and I know that if not for her I probably wouldn’t even be where I am today. One letter from her and I changed the entire course of my future. I didn’t transfer to the other high school. I didn’t avoid the crippling depression that would consume me around the time of my first true relationship. I didn’t avoid all the potential I put to waste. Or all the fond memories of friends I’d have never met had I left. Maybe it was all because of her that I started down a path that led me to where I am now. Maybe not. I just know that she once told me about a dream she had about me. We were both elderly but she was happy that we were still friends. Too bad that dream doesn’t seem feasible anymore. Just another failure I can chalk up to this life I lead. Her name was Rain.
This one would probably be the most outlandish. She was my first interaction with racial preferences. I remember quite clearly her defense as to why she wouldn’t even consider dating me being because I wasn’t a certain race. To be fair, this wasn’t the first interaction more than just the first direct acknowledgement of it as a determining factor in a relationship. The first time would had to have been with my first true relationship. She told me about her father’s bigotry toward her dating outside of her race. It was strange to deal with. I certainly handled it poorly but this isn’t about her. She isn’t on the list. This is about the girl who could say with a straight face that it wasn’t about me as person but me as my race. This was all during the middle of my high school career. We’d eventually become close and she’d come to appreciate what I could do for her. She’d call me one of her closest friends even though I was a guy. I never told her this but after a point when the depression took hold, I could no longer see her as a friend. Not when the only time she seemed to remember my phone number was when she felt like killing herself. Not when the only time she felt like talking was when things weren’t going well for her or when she wanted to trash people she didn’t like, some of which I was still friends with. She was a case. I couldn’t leave her because that was what I was. I wanted so badly to help people. I would give up anything, even my life. It was maybe two years after I flunked out of college when I found myself in a situation to try something new; something that might have lifted my spirits. We’d kept in contact, so -to-speak. Whenever she called me, I dropped everything to calm her down. And whenever I felt in need of a friend I’d, go on the internet and update my blog. But I did the unthinkable. I tried to treat her like a friend. Like one of the three pillars I counted as brothers. She always used to say she was one of “the guys” and though I knew exactly how stupid it was an idea to pursue, I did so anyway. She promptly asked for space shortly after. We haven’t really spoken since. I hope she’s doing well though. I hope they all are. No matter how low things had gotten or even messed up my life gets I still care deeply for all of them. They’re people. And that’s what his mission was, at least part of it. Save people. Her name was Saucy Pimento.
This one was shortly after the debacle that was the previous interest. This was the middle to end of my high school career. It was also the first time I’d get the, “it’s not you it’s me” speech. Not to say I didn’t believe her. It’s just that I can honestly say I’ve heard it more than once in my life and not from the same people. She was smart. That was the appeal. She was smart, probably smarter than me. Definitely smarter than me, at least in the case of book learning. She was also a colossal terrible person. She knew her standing intellectually and would lord it over people. I understood why; she would get made fun of because she didn’t fit society’s “perfect female image.” But I didn’t feel comfortable accepting that it be fair that she take it out on everyone. Even the people who had never done anything to insult her or bash on her. People like me. She had two other close friends and the three of them were all generally in the same boat. And when one of them stopped talking to me due to the fact that–well honestly I’m just really not good with people trying to do things for me, especially on my birthday–things happened, the others followed suit. I sometimes catch glimpses of her on facebook. Seems to be doing well. I hope she has found some happiness. I hope she’s still not taking out her frustrations with ignorant people on the rest of the world. Her name was Quichie.
This was toward the end of my high school career. Perhaps junior year is the most accurate. She was special. Truly special. I thought she understood me. We had some similarities in upbringing and plenty of overlap in interests. She was cute. And I don’t know how I’d never heard/seen her throughout the previous four years I spent at that school. I remember all the crazy adventures that would follow with her. From Karaoke to the famous night I had to hop out a window on the second floor of a house and shimmy down a garage roof, while helping my buddy do the same, just to escape an angry father. Keep in mind all we were doing that night was just talking about life and whatnot but it was still late at night and in a girl’s room. I had some good friends back then. This buddy of mine, though he had nothing against her, was never terribly close with her. I was and he was just willing to follow along for the ride. I’ve asked so much of that guy it’s surprising to see he still attempts to contact me from time to time. But this isn’t about him. This is about her. She was, wild. Unlike any girl I’d ever met before. She was strong, confident, a little sadistic, but also had a heart as big as any saint. I liked her a lot. More than any girl on this list besides but one other. We were alike in some ways. Our penchant for falling off the face of the Earth but then being able to pick right back up with people like no time had passed is one such example. That fact that she liked video games, the fact that she could out drink me, the fact that even though I shared with her all my most embarrassing secrets she would never hold it against me. Well, not seriously anyway. And the talks. We’d explore so many things from life to everything after. But then a tragedy came about. I wasn’t around because I’d gone away to college. It changed her. I don’t dare talk about it even in the vaguest sense but I know I’ve failed her. If not then specifically, now, as I’ve thrown away that old life and though unintentionally, our relationship as well. I remember asking her once why we never dated. She told me flat out that when I asked her out she thought I was joking. Yeah, she just couldn’t take me seriously. I know just how tough she is and know she’ll be alright but I still worry about her even now after all this time. She really was one of my truest friends in every sense of the word. Her name was Julian.
Her name was Puddles. I had a very strict criteria for what could be considered love. That being said, within the confines of that criteria, my feelings for her were as close to it as could possibly be. The time frame was just before the previous girl I mentioned but would span up until the last night I spent in my hometown. Up until the day I said goodbye to everyone and everything in my old life. Aside from being born in the same month we didn’t share many topical similarities. Our personalities however, well, that’s a different story. By the time I met her I was in fairly deep into a whole new kind of depression. I had sunk so low I was positive the person I was had died. I took a new name and with that finally felt like maybe I could get by from day to day. But that darkness I now held, that pain, that sorrow, that predilection to seclusion was something she seemed to understand. I never understood it truly. I couldn’t figure that out about her. She was gorgeous. She was smart. She was an athlete of high caliber. But, she was unhappy. On the outside of the group. I brought her into mine. I first met her in an English class. Advanced English. I only remark about that because had I not transitioned to advanced classes I doubt I would’ve ever met her. I was walking down my isle when I tripped over her foot. I took my seat and decided to write her a note, an apology. I wasn’t sure how to spell her name so I just used the first three letters. She wrote me back that it was okay and filled in the rest of her name. I have all these memories of her. Fond ones. But when it comes to why she wouldn’t date me. At first she said it was a race thing. Strict parents. Didn’t want her dating outside her race. It was the 2000’s. Color me surprised such was still the case. That such could still be the case, especially in a place like New York. Especially being so close to the City. The “Melting Pot.” She was the best person I ever met. We once held a conversation over the phone for just over eight hours. I remember one of the last nights I saw her. We were out at a club for my buddy’s birthday. She for some reason felt like dancing with me. We danced quite a bit that night. At some point later on, some guy had been pursuing her for a dance she promised him so she asked me to step in when she gave a signal so as to not have to deal with too much of the creepiness. I did and the guy kind of backed up and I guess just waited for us to finish dancing so he could try his luck again. It was weird and the song couldn’t have lasted that much longer so she moved on to a different plan. Now, I was drunk. Probably drunker than I’d been in a good long time. But I remember her clearly explain that she was going to try this move where we’re wining and then she wines down by my crotch comes up and then I do the same to her. Not sure why it was going to work, not sure why after we did it, it did indeed work, but I just remember her saying one last thing before she went down. “Try not to get too hard.” I never really told her too much about me. The embarrassing tales and adventures back in high school sure but after that, the college years, the times after college, not so much. But even with that, she still knew more about me than I was ever willing to admit to myself. I never actually thought about having sex with her either. I thought about dating her. Kissing her. Even marrying her. Just never sex. Even in my 20s I was an idealist. Like I’d just figure things out as they came along. Cause it worked so well the last few times. It didn’t but this isn’t about that. She confided in me, told me about how I was this and that to her but could never be more. Never because for whatever she felt emotionally, she felt nothing physically. No attraction to me in that regard whatsoever. It’s a weird place to be. It’s a strange state to find your head in. Effectively she marks the end of the list but there were still those in between our initial meeting and the end of that old era. And they all must get their due if this is to mean anything.
This was the first person I had developed an interest in while attending college. I didn’t stay close to home. Far like 400 miles away. New York’s a big state. Anyway, there’s not much to say about her. I found her attractive. We worked together for a year in the Dining Hall. She was the drummer in a band. She gave me tickets to a battle of the bands concert that she was in. We talked a little on AIM and eventually just drifted. Nothing ever became of it because I was in my head too much. I’m always in my head too much. The fact that I’ve written all this in one sitting is proof of concept. She was nice. She had a twin. The first female twin I’d ever met. Her name was S******.
It was around my second year of college. I wasn’t doing well but I was still treading water at least. I’d known her while in high school. She was close friends with my ex from, of course, the same school. This is a rough one to recount because with her was one of the few times I’d come face to face with just how much of a monster I truly am. We talked a little. I don’t quite recall the telltale signs of her interest in me or rather when that interest took hold but I do remember one night while we walked in the rain. We were entirely too close. And eventually, we started kissing. It was like out of a movie. If only it wasn’t destined to be a tragedy. It was summer break. We’d talk a little and meetup sometimes where we’d proceed to go back and forth with the flirting. We had three make-out sessions. Always on our walks. As you may notice I’m not describing her personality on this one. She was smart. I think I have a thing for smart women. She was a year younger. Outwardly strong. Different. Unique. And I was a pig. I asked her out. She said no. That was probably the best thing that could’ve happened. I’d find out later that she wanted to say yes but was too nervous. A friend of hers tried to coax me into asking again. I declined. I’d already been bad enough to her. It was primarily a physical thing. But then I was too close to it to see it for that until I got back to college. Her decline certainly gave me the time. I spent a good amount of time trying to apologize for my actions. She always would just say it was okay and that she’d be there if I ever wanted to talk. I forced myself on her before asking her out. It was the second worst I’d experienced of myself. Though it didn’t go as far as it could’ve, I still regret it to this day. Yet another reason I can’t let go of those words my closest friend bestowed upon me in our youth. I’d die alone. No one could love me. I don’t know that he was wrong about that. But I do know she represented a good reason his words may yet ring true. Her name was Sim1.
It was my last year of college. Not that I graduated but it was the last year I’d be in that university. She was new. She was also the first person I can say I found the courage to approach. I found her attractive. She was two years younger than me. There’s not too much else to say. I never really got around to asking her out. Timing never seemed right. We didn’t quite mesh well either. Never truly got past the meaningless conversation phase. Her name was Lil Yeezy.
This one surely came out of nowhere. I was in Georgia at the time. My college career, in the flaming toilet it had been making its way toward for almost two years. This was the end of what culminated in about eight months of training. All to do the job I’m currently doing. Supposed to be doing. Anyway, she was new. Just got into the school as I was in my last month or so. We were on desk duty while a holiday was taking place that involved moving everyone who stayed into a different building. She asked to borrow my phone. It was the first cell phone I’d had in maybe five or more years. One of the first purchases I made upon arrival at the school. She put her number in it. I wouldn’t find out until a little later that day. We set up to have brunch together. I overslept. To be fair I had been on shift for 27+ hours. The last few weeks there would be spent exchanging text messages and talking outside or talking in the lounge or talking and eating places. We never did more than that. I never asked for more. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Whether she was interested in me or just thought I seemed like a good person to talk to. I just remember when I had to leave. We texted a little afterward but eventually she stopped replying. I was in a completely different state. She was going to another country. It made sense. I guess, I just don’t know what to call that now, looking back on it. Her name was Moron but without the O.
This next one I’d meet almost two years later. There no real story here. She was new to the company and I heard she was single. I thought she was attractive so I spent some time trying to set something up to get to know her better. Never made much progress and although we still work for the same company she ended up marrying someone else who’d recently left the company/retired. I found it odd because of the time frame in which it occurred but can’t really judge it. Sometimes you just find your match. Though that did little for the fact that close to a year after that marriage while out here with the rest of our company I heard she was going around telling all the other women in our company about how I was trying to get with her. Now, I don’t have a frame of reference for this. Maybe she was using the past tense. Maybe there was more to the story. Either way, it was, weird. Still is really. But she’s no longer here and I stopped caring about her in such a capacity long ago. Just well, I feel bad that things turned out the way they did. I hope she finds whatever peace she needs. Her name was Bonkers.
This person was the first person I’d ever met online. Dating website. We were texting back and forth for a couple of months. Even set up a few meetings that, well, she kind of had to flake on. Either way, so I left and we emailed a little when possible and then one day just, nothing. A month goes by, still nothing. I sent out a last email and though still no reply facebook granted me the answers I’d been looking for. She found someone. I’m happy for her though it would’ve been nice to get the message. You win some, you lose some I guess. Her name was A****.
This one is a little tricky. I liked her but not so much in a romantic way. She was from an area close to New York. She had that attitude that just oozes New York and the style to boot. Hanging out with her reminded me of the good old days back with my old friends on the odd adventure in the night. It was like an active nostalgia. Though she was new, being with her was like being back in those, brighter times. She wasn’t like me though. We had little in common. She wasn’t terribly open either. It was kind of a weird thing. That on top of the fact that I was slipping in and out of complete indifference didn’t help. I was making grand gestures to appear human enough to get by during this time of camaraderie and bonding. It eventually just escalated into me feeling forced to ask her out. She declined, of course. I still remember the words. The “it’s not you it’s me” speech and then something unexpected. She seemed to have so much concern over me thinking less of her. I didn’t. I couldn’t. But reiterating it over and over again made me wonder if I was missing something. I was. I certainly did. Things are past that now though. She’s doing her thing and I’m doing mine. I still have questions but at this point, I think I can be okay just letting them go for once. I mean really, this was never something I expected anything from anyway. Her name was Mary.
She was married. She was married and hitting on me. It was not a situation I was accustomed to. I honestly thought she was going to be shooting me eye daggers during my entire stay but once I got in she was warm and friendly. Only problem was, she was too friendly. She’d ask me if I loved her, ask why we never got together. She’d talk about the way her husband treated her and the things she does for him. As a man myself I can’t stand to hear about women being mistreated by men. Especially their husbands. I don’t believe it’s solely on the man as a woman can make the effort to leave but in the larger sense I just can’t accept that such cruel treatment of fellow humans can’t be overwritten. It takes time, it takes patience, but it also takes courage and the will to do it. I wasn’t pleased with what transpired but I was drained. Dealing with people, especially in this capacity, is just utterly draining. I believed she just needed help and I wanted to help her. Though it became an issue when it felt like falling for her. I toyed around with the idea. I did not like myself for that. It wasn’t a great situation but was exasperated by her quick departure from it all after about two weeks. All that affection was turned toward someone else and just like that I was but a shadow once more. I didn’t like that feeling much either. But it was better that way. Still, I had made promises and I stand by my word. I completed what I could and well, of course, it came back to bite me in the rear but I could hardly say I didn’t deserve to pay some price for the foolishness I encouraged within myself. At this point things are civil between us. Though I know if I ever meet her husband I won’t have kind words for him. But it’s not my place to make decisions for people. I can only offer support and guidance if that’s what they ask of me. Her name was Witness.
So, I imagine the point of this would probably be greatly appreciated. This was my list. It didn’t include exes but just another group of people I’ve failed. I kept this list and would add names to it whenever I’d have missed yet another opportunity to perchance greet happiness. Now I’m putting it out here though because it no longer serves a purpose. This list won’t be getting any longer. I found what I was truly looking for. What I’d been looking for all along. Things are complicated to say the least but I know this is it. It just feels right. It is as though every decision I’ve ever made had been for this. If it doesn’t pan out though, another name still won’t adorn the list. This is the burn point. There’s no longer any place for such a constant reminder of all that I lack. There’s just her, she’s all that matters.