Didn’t we all have adolescent obsessions that bordered on stalking or was that just me? This story will make your embarrassing moments seem way less embarrassing! It’s that bad, I’ve never spoken of it.
As you may have noticed from some of my posts, I have a flair for the dramatic. I recall an experience of such exaggerated intensity with my first crush. For the sake of the blog and the fact that some of my readers will know him, I’ll call him Eric, Eric Axel. This pseudonym is not exactly cryptic, it‘s about 2 letters off from his actual name. Look, I pursued him like an obsessed stalker I’m sure it’s no surprise to him.
This was old school stalking I’m referring to: no technology, no cell phone, or FB, or twitter, or my space. I’m talking about the kind of stalking that took time and effort and premeditation, something to tell your grandchildren about.
So, I’m gonna rip off the Band-Aid, that is this repressed memory, and let the healing begin. I was in the 7th grade and I was in love. “Love” love. Eric went to another school. He was cute. He was athletic. He was cool. He was mean to me. What other reasons could there be for a 12yr old girl to fall in love? I think I called him 20 times a day, 10 of which, I just hung up. I’m sure the lack of caller ID and *69 really fooled him and his parents. Other times we would talk for hours. If I skipped a day, which rarely happened, he would call me. As much as he “hated” my harassment, he grew accustomed to it and missed my creepy declarations of undying love.
He invited me to his basketball games and his school play, which I went to like a puppy dog only to be heartbreakingly ignored. He would show up at my softball games, watch and then leave without saying hello. I was happy to get all the negative attention, cause lets face it, it wasn’t indifference. I was also too young to understand that the invitations and surprise visits said something on his part.
Then he invited me to a movie, my first date. In a million years I don’t think I would remember what we saw. Oh yea, Space Camp. Okay so I remember. I also don’t remember if he held my hand and maybe felt me up (over the shirt). That was a little slutty of me, I know, but love has no boundaries. Well, just a training bra.
Exciting stuff right? It actually gets worse. The story thus far may have coaxed out some old painful memories of angst and torment. Memories, that you have buried somewhere in the recesses of your mind, and cringe at, when they emerge. However, my story will make you feel like you can unrepress and visit them with ease.
We made more plans and of course my infatuation only intensified. I went to his Bar Mitzvah and the other kids had mentioned that he was dating a girl from his school. “What? Huh???” I found the nearest bathroom and cried, and bawled, and sniffled, and gurgled under the crushing pain. I walked out to find a boy I was friendly with… in a dramatic twist, I told him I was going to kill myself. Trust me, I didn’t really get what I was saying or the weight of that statement, nor did I imagine a bunch of 12 year olds would take me seriously. I needed attention and reassurance, and it just flew out of my mouth.
Well, before I knew it the entire kids portion of the Bar Mitzvah was in the lobby of his country club trying to console me and make sure I didn’t do anything drastic. “Hide the butter knives!“ someone yelled in the frenzy of “child psychologists,” -in the literal sense- while the parents danced unwittingly inside. The children were saving me from myself. Ahh, this feels good, this attention, this love, this concern. But it’s not enough. When will Eric come over and profess that it was me all along. That he was so worried about me doing something drastic?
He didn’t. Actually he did, though I believe it was to ask what the hell I was doing and find out why no one was inside during his candle lighting ceremony, which he worked really hard on writing. Even more mortifying, he was followed by a concerned parent, as word of my threat had made it to the upper echelon of invitees.
You probably want to crawl into a hole just reading this, so you can imagine the humiliation of living it, but it happened. We all have those moments that we wish we could suck back, or wake up from and say, “Phew, that was just a dream.” Well, that was one of mine. One of, because I have volumes of mistakes, faux pas, blunders, and errors in judgment that shaped the confident, brilliant, humble, and perfect in every way adult I have become.
I look back and think, if only I could have used the skills I mastered just a few short years later. I would have backed off, invoked insecurity, and gained the upper hand. Those were feminine wiles I learned out of necessity, as clearly my ability to obsess would not get me far with the boys. Tricks my father taught me in lieu of some seriously deserved psychiatric analysis. “Jenny, just remember, the boys like a challenge.” He was right. To this day I’ve never met a boy that didn’t fill that bill.