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It’s not like I had a meth lab in my room.

Issue Date: Friday, Mar. 17, 2006

Dark hair, soft and feathered, brushed with a comb. Brown eyes so deep with a dark dusting of black lashes. An easy smile with thin lips and a slightly crooked grin. Tall and lanky with a walk that was rolling in its’ gait. A mind that would easily quote anything from Robert Frost to Metallica. A small and neat script that wrote words of love and of the future.

This was my boyfriend when I was fourteen.

From the end of fourteen to sixteen I shared my paltry experiences about school and life with a man/boy named Terry.

Terry was funny, engaging, smart (Lord, he was so smart), kind, jovial, sensitive and above all, he was a good friend to me. I met Terry when we were both in the seventh grade at the end of the school year. He was a head and shoulder above most of the other boys in school, at six foot plus in the eighth grade he stood out.

He was labeled a rocker because he preferred shirts with Van Halen or Motley Crue emblazoned on the front. And during that era if you didn’t listen only to Duran Duran, Boy George or Madonna you were considered a heavy metal freak. Being a freak had its apparent advantages as Terry was constantly underestimated and thought of as a dull witted pot smoker.

Our English and History teachers loved him as he wrote beautiful and thoughtful papers on the subjects they asked for, but the coaches were hard on Terry and his equally as tall (but thicker) friend Mike. The coaches would mistake these boys for the men they seemed to be, and when the boys would act goofy or take an extra second to make the lap around the gym, the coaches came down hard on them, yelling and demanding laps or push ups. The boys would comply but sometimes, an eye roll would be seen and then it was off to the dean’s office for punishment.

When I started dating Terry my parents were mortified. He was quiet and shy around them and around my sister as well. He would answer questions with a “yes” or a “no” and not the “yes ma’am/sir” or “no ma’am/sir” my parents had come to expect from children and teenagers alike. The thoughtful and intelligent wordsmith I had come to love was sorely lacking in verbal skills when it came to visiting with my parents. He was from up north so his lack of southern genial charm (AKA shy as hell around grown ups) was seen as being stuck up and rude.

I was grounded for most of my middle, high and senior high school career due to not applying myself to my grades and… well, yeah… I snuck out. A Lot.

I snuck out to go hang out with friends. I snuck out to go smoke out on the bicycle trails. I snuck out to go watch movies at friends’ houses. I snuck out…just to be out.

I had an issue with not having any privacy.

My sister and I didn’t have locks on our bedroom doors. And it was frowned upon to close your door for any length of time. Something heard often around the house (following the sound of a door being opened quickly) was, “If you need to hide to do it… you shouldn’t be doing it anyway.”

True, true. But. Um ya’ll, can I read in here? Maybe without the bonus soundtrack of my mother vacuuming or my sister yelling at someone? It’s not like I have a meth lab in my room, brewing up some serious smack to sell on the streets of our Beaver Cleaver neighborhood or in the pews at church.

We could not have boys in our rooms. And if we were sitting in any position (when a boy was near) other than ramrod straight spine, hands in our laps, and knees touching… we were told to “Sit up. Now.”

Oh, and also… heh… this one is awesome. Our family had a phone that was in my parent’s bedroom. One afternoon while I was playing Atari (shut up, don’t judge) in their room, I heard my sister on the phone. I was sitting a good six feet from the phone but I could hear EVERY. DAMN. WORD. Now, I have bat ears (not the shape meanie… just the sensitivity to sound) and I could hear everything. The phone was on my mother’s side of the bed. I was sure that she happily sat there and listened to our phone conversations.

When my sister hung up, and audible mmmweep was heard signaling the severing of the connection. They heard every word we said. They monitored our phone calls ya’ll.

Oh, and the neighbors watched us too.

See? No privacy.

So? I snuck out. And I would get grounded for sneaking out. And then I couldn’t go anywhere and then I would want to sneak out again. Hi, um… vicious cycle much?

I couldn’t go anywhere while I was grounded but Terry would still come over. He would help me with my chores when I did the yard work and he would help me clean the pool. We had such an easy way with one another that I am sure it made my parents nervous.

Yeah, my parents had a right to be nervous. My sister was a little rebel with straight A’s and I was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too honest.

Terry and I dated for about two years. That is a pretty good chunk of time when you are that young. But we really were very comfortable in our relationship. I wasn’t demanding and neither was he… but… we were both curious about sex.

When we finally decided to “do it” we planned it for about a year. I was turning sixteen (SLUT!... Hey now, be nice.) in like three weeks and there was a big dance coming up at school. His parents were going to be out until late that night and my parents expected us to come home late anyways… Perfect! Right?

Well, it was very stilted, scientific, and sort of emotionally void like a couple of nerds working on a science fair project, but we got through it. He was very kind and …well, enough of that.

My mother had picked me up from driver’s education one afternoon. She let me drive home (and I can remember this like it was yesterday.) and we were at the corner Custer and Park about to turn right and my mother blurts out like a Tourette's sufferer, “Areyoustillavirgin?!”

Lord. I about wrecked the car.

I recovered quickly and turned right. While making the turn I answered her, “No.” And she promptly lost her shit, “Wait until your father gets home and hears about this. Oh SUSAN!” she wailed, “I am SO DIS-A-POINTED In YOUUUUUUUUU!”

Yeah. See? I couldn’t keep my mother shut then either.

Sure, sure, I can keep other peoples secrets. But if someone asked me something about me or something I did? “It is in the creek by the bridge.” “It was the one armed man.” “Omarosa!” “Sure I ate your Twinkie.” Whatever it was, if the question was point blank, I answered it and answered it honestly.

Since then my mother and I have come to an agreement. She doesn’t ask unless she really wants to know. And I? I have learned to self edit. ‘Tis a gift that comes with age.

The funny thing is that I heard a song yesterday on my way to work that reminded me of all of this. It just flashed through my head like a mini after school special on ABC. The song was “There’s Just Something About You” by Level 42. Terry always said that there was something about me. He dubbed that our song when we were very young.

It is sad how things go by the wayside. Water under the bridge and all of that. After this unfortunate incident I didn’t see Terry all that much. He hung out with my best girlfriend Stephanie’s cousin for a while so he would show up from time to time. But by the time I got to the twelfth grade, Terry had dropped out of school. I saw around working at convenience stores and gas stations and it always made me sad because before he started doing drugs he was so sharp and charismatic and he always did well in school.

The last time I saw him he sent word that he wanted me to meet him for lunch at a Burger King by the high school where I was about to graduate. I went and there he was sitting in a booth, gaunt and hollow eyed. He greeted me warmly and we caught up a little bit. I asked him if he would like something for lunch. He reluctantly accepted and I bought us lunch. He inhaled his food and I (absentmindedly and quite rudely I know that now) asked when the last time was that he had eaten. He explained that he had coke for breakfast, an incredible amount. And not Coca-Cola© either. But blow. I knew then that he was gone forever, the Terry that I used to know. His mind would never be the same.

Now, that I have moved back into the area… when I hear old songs like something from Paul Jones or Level 42 (or Celtic Frost… heh) I think about what a waste it was for such a promising young man to end up like he did when I last saw him. I hope that he cleaned himself up, got his GED, went to school or got a good job or something. I just hope he is okay. He was a very kind soul, even when things were not right between us. And I guess you never forget your first puppy love.


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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

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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