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It was so cliché’ a cheerleader dating a football jock.

Issue Date: Thursday, May. 04, 2006

We met in high school. It was the summer before my sophomore year and I had just gotten back from cheerleading* camp.

Julia the “new girl” had a party at her house to basically introduce herself to the rest of the kids at school. Julia had started the spring of our freshman year just before tryouts. Being an excellent gymnast and about 3 feet tall (and blonde with big hooters) meant that she was a shoe in for the squad.

She asked us during camp if we would come to her party and invite our friends. She had sent out an invitation to the football teams, JV and Varsity to attend as well. She promised it would be a great time and we were all curious about the tiny little hyper girl so we agreed to go. Also, the Clark football players were hot.

At Julia’s party a friend walked over to me and said, “There is someone who wants to meet you.”

Being all knees and elbows and not quite comfortable with my gawky-ness I walked (loped? cantered?) over with her to talk to a small gathering of guys that were hanging out in Julia’s kitchen. One of them was a friend of a friend. His name was Brent and he was hanging out with one of my best buddies, CC. There was one other guy standing with CC and Brent and this is who my girlfriend introduced me to.

“Susan, this is Tim… Tim, this is Susan.”

I was told my whole life that I was photogenic and that my smile was my best feature, hyper-aware of that fact (I felt like my hair was frizzy, my feet were too big and my legs were too long – giving me a stork-like appearance) I turned looked at Tim and flashed him a winning (hopefully photogenic) smile. Tim smiled back, I noted his gorgeous teeth, dimples, the tiny little curls at the base of his neck where his blonde hair met his collar, and that he was taller than me.

I held out my hand to introduce myself properly, “Hi. It is very nice to meet you,” I said. “Yeah, me too,” he said with a warm hand covering my own. His green eyes sparkled with mischief and I immediately found myself responding to his charm.

CC told me that Tim was a JV football player and that they knew each other from FFA (Future Farmers of America – shut up) and Ag (-riculture)… and from our previous middle school. Since I had known CC since I was twelve (or so); we met in the sixth or seventh grade; I was surprised that I had not met Tim before. Tim told me that his mother was a teacher; I knew her… she was my Algebra teacher the year before. And Tim knew my mother because she substitute taught all over the school district.

“Small world huh?” Tim offered with a wry smile.

By the end of the party that evening he had pulled me into his lap while he was sitting on the couch and opposed to jumping up and worrying about my weight, (“I am too fat to sit on this guy. What if I crush him!? Good Lord, please do not pick me up, it is very awkward to get out of your arms without putting my full weight on you and you’ll know how much I weigh!”) I stayed there. All the neurosis and over thinking that I did before were toned down that night.

He laughed easily and openly and I found myself laughing along. Relaxed.

Within weeks we were dating steadily.

We started dating the summer of 1987 and it was so cliché’ a cheerleader dating a football jock, but we made such a handsome couple.

We went to the movies and to dinner. We spent holidays with both of our families, going from one house to the other on special days. We laughed and shared friends. And during the freeze in the early spring of 1988 he and I were the only ones (well, it felt like we were the only ones) out and about because of his four-wheel drive flat-bed Ford.

We were lovers.

One day in late fall Tim and I had a date planned. He asked me to get ready early because he had a surprise. I got ready early and he picked me up. We left and drove north; he turned off of the main road and pulled into a dirt drive. We drove for a while and then almost out of nowhere this huge field of yellow flowers came into view. The flowers were about hip high and the yellow was so bright it almost hurt to look at it. We turned the radio up, left the windows down, got out of the truck and danced on the flatbed trailer of his truck.

He had brought a picnic for us to share, we ate during the sunset and then danced some more. The dancing turned into making love out under the stars.

That is what I remember most about the two (more than two?) years we dated. We made love like there was not going to be a tomorrow.

Our courtship was so fast paced and almost urgent that when the relationship ended I was surprised that neither one of us fought to keep it going. We hardly ever fought or had harsh words, it was just understood that I wouldn’t be number two and because of what happened with Terry (Terry cheated on me with a friend of mine – she wasn’t a friend after that) Tim knew that I would not hang around if he wanted to be with another and I knew that he and I had something that was special. We were friends and lovers and we were secure in our relationship. We hung out with our own friends and did not have to be attached at the hip every second.

One of the only fights I can remember was over Prom. I went to several my senior year. Because Tim didn’t ask me I planned the whole group outing with my friend Bean and his buddies. I was a free agent and quite ruthless about the whole thing.

I was an unattached girl/woman for most of my senior year and when I went to leave for college. I knew that Tim wouldn’t remain single for long, with him being such a catch and planning on going to Texas Tech he was on the top of most single women’s lists.

He would call me at college and we kept in touch for a while. I heard about him through friends and friends of friends. We lost touch after a year or so.

He had been dating a girl named Christen when he left for college. His father wanted him to go away to school unattached because he was worried about the hold that Christen had on Tim. His father was right to be worried.

Christen got pregnant during Tim’s sophomore year at Tech. She wanted him at home… with her. Not in college.

Tim became a father at twenty.

In 1999 when I came back to Dallas emotionally battered and bruised I hid for a while, licking my wounds and trying to heal from the divorce and the many years of … well, of just shit. I worked and hid in my apartment and after a year or so of being back on my feet I had the strangest urge. I wanted to find Tim.

I asked Stacey if she or her husband (I’ve known Stacey’s husband since Clark HS too) had seen or heard from Tim. Nope. No one had heard from him. I didn’t know if he was married, had children or even wanted to hear from a blast from the past like me. The only way to find out was to try and track him down.

I scoured the phone books and the internet and found several people with his name and so I started my list at the top one night. “Hi, I am looking for Tim [last name] please. Oh, hi Tim. Did you go to Clark High School? No? Ok, thanks.” And on to the next number.

By the time I had gotten a bit frustrated I decided to make one last phone call. “Hi, I am looking for Tim [last name] please. Oh, hi Tim. Did you go to Clark High School? You did?” And I heard, “Sue?” “Yeah, man… it’s me. How are you?”

A few days later we went to a bar and ordered several drinks and started to catch up.

It was the most bizarre thing. We started right in and it felt like we had just talked the week before, not like ten years had passed. His son was almost ten, he was divorced, Christen was Satan incarnate, the divorce was ugly and he was working hard and wanted to go back to school. I caught him up. I had no children, my divorce could have been uglier and holy shit we are old.

It became very comfortable. We got together for a drink or seven almost every day. He was dating about eleven people and I was just trying to keep my head straight.

I would leave work by 4:30 pm and by 5 my cell phone was ringing. I would answer it and hear a familiar, “Hey, what are you doing?”

I never met any of his girlfriends, I would just hear about them later.

Tim: Yeah, [random chick] spent the night last night.
me: Slut.
Tim: Her?
me: No,… you.
Tim: Am not.
me: [eyebrow raise]

It was so comfortable, our friendship was growing and we were a team again. And Tim made me laugh, Lord, how I would laugh! It was like we were back in high school… just without the sex.

When I met Mister, Tim was one of the first to know. He was happy for me and we still hung out a lot with and without Mister.

The years flew by. Tim’s ex-wife had two more children, both by different men and still made Tim’s life hell. He always had his son on Wednesday’s and his son spent the night with him almost every weekend… so Christen could go out.

Tim finally went back to school and did a great job. He graduated last June and Mister and I went to the ceremony. After that I called him and emailed him periodically and more and more the closer it got to his birthday. No calls were answered or returned. No emails were returned. October came and went and I still hadn’t heard from him. Still, no calls or emails were answered.

In January of this year I sent an email letting him know that my feelings were hurt by the lack of return phone calls or emails. I asked him if there was an issue. I told him I wished him the best. No answer.

Mister knew that my feelings were hurt but that I missed my friend. One evening after work Mister and I were at a Happy Hour and he suggested that we call Tim and invite him to the bar to hang out with us. I shook my head because I didn’t want to leave another message after the email that I had sent, but Mister persisted.

He called and Tim answered on the second or third ring. They spoke and Mister asked if Tim was doing ok because I was worried. Of course I was embarrassed and physically blanched when Mister handed me the phone when he said, “Do you want to talk to her? She’s right here.”

I took the phone and asked Tim if he was ok. “I’m fine,” he said, “I’ve just been busy and I’ve been gone almost every weekend hunting and my cell phone hasn’t been working.” I responded with, “I was just making sure that you weren’t dead.”

What a lame thing to say.

The conversation was short, stilted and ill at ease and I haven’t heard from him again since that night.

I know that the only reason he answered the phone was because he didn’t have Mister’s number programmed into his phone.

Ya’ll know how much I treasure old friendships and people who knew you when. I have got to quit it with this getting my feelings hurt over camaraderie not shared. The problem with this is that I had no idea that the friendship wasn’t shared until he stopped calling, returning phone calls, emailing, ect.. It was just over.

Maybe he went back to Christen and thinks I would disapprove. Who knows?

I know I shouldn’t be surprised. People grow and move on.

I just wish they’d let me in on the secret sometimes.


*Didn’t know I was a cheerleader? (I’ve only mentioned it once in three plus years.) Well, don’t tell anyone. It is a small fact that I keep pretty closely guarded.

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And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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