A Momentary Glimpse At My 18 Year Old Self

I was digging through my "archives" today (which is what I call the massive rows of file cabinets that I store all my Akira and other animation cels in, which also houses my old journals, letters I chose to keep from people I no longer know, important papers... All that stuff). And as I am wont to do about once every few years, I dug through a bunch of my old journals.

I have TONS of these things. In fact, I kept a paper journal from age 12 until about 2007, when blogging kind of overtook my need to get things down in a personal journal. And as I was digging through these old spiral bound college ruled tomes, I picked up one from 1995.

That was my Senior year in high school. I was 18 years old. It starts in January, my birthday month, and ends around July. It's the same journal which contains all the crap that Total Posers is based on (to date, the ONLY story I've ever written that I'm actually proud of, even if it's not a fan favorite).

Now, it's not like I was looking around and stumbled upon my journals. "Oh, wow, would you look at that? How did THESE get here..." I know where the damn things live and what's in them. I wrote them. I know they are in the 3rd drawer from the bottom. I know they're in chronological order, and this particular one is right after the 1994 journals. I'm not surprised by the fact that it's there, right where I left it last time. 

But I will say, as I flipped through it and past all the scrawling that Mike and that Romance.net girl, Kayte, (who was the "star" in the OTHER story I am somewhat proud of) did in there, I hit a passage that actually kind of struck me as, at the very least, not as bad as everything else I was writing at age eighteen and wishing I was Henry Rollins. And I want to share it with you. Mostly because I have nothing else I really want to write about. Well, nothing I can put words enough around to make any sense, anyway. I'm in a weird place right now. Maybe that's why I'm digging through my journals; trying to find out things maybe I'm better off forgetting. But that's besides the point. 

This was written March 14th, 1995, and is about a girl (aren't they all?). 

her name was Michele. I met her at the beginning of my Senior year, and was 100% enthralled from the second she refused to say hello. I passed her notes with stupid jokes and cartoons on them. One day, she finally answered one, and it simply said "Why are you doing this?"

I responded "Why'd you wait so long to ask?" She turned and looked at me with these fiery eyes; her fiery eyes. I just smiled. 

We talked every single day after that. She was a puzzle I wanted to solve. She was retaking her Senior year, because her house burned down the year before, when she was supposed to graduate and she had to miss the rest of the year. She alluded to the fact that it might have been arson; I never really knew the whole story. What I did know, however, is that her mother was an alcoholic (my birth father was), her brother was abusive (as was mine), and she had trouble with the concept of sitting in that school all day. 

So we ditched class together. A LOT. I was a "student aide" to the principal my Senior year. For those that don't know what that is, basically I worked in the office for a class period and did whatever the principal needed doing, which basically amounted to telling her jokes and, on at least 20 occasions, driving her car to go pick up Dunkin' Donuts coffee and danish (and occasionally, she'd buy me a blueberry donut; the only edible thing in that place). As such, I had a standing hall pass. I could go anywhere, at any time, for any reason, because our principal Linda Jones trusted me.

I abused the shit out of it, and on much more than one occasion, I abused it with Michele. And she appreciated that. It got us both out of classes and allowed us to go hang out outside, in the wrestling room, and other places people weren't during the day. 

As hard as it is to believe, even though I was a teenage boy with hormones raging at all times, I never thought of her as a girlfriend or even had romantic interest in her. In fact, I dated several other girls (if you can call it dating). But I really just wanted to know her. And the more I knew her, the more I wanted to know. She had become my favorite subject in school. I wanted to figure her out. And every single piece I thought I fit together ended up revealing more of a picture I realized I could never understand. 

I became addicted to this girl. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with her. But between morning workouts for wrestling, school, wrestling practice and my "extra English period" (which you can read all about in the Total Prosers story I linked above), the only real time I got to see her outside of school was after her shift at Subway, which ended at midnight. 

I used to sneak out of the house every single night from December to go see her. I'd borrow my friend Jay's car when he'd let me, and when he wouldn't, I'd walk the five miles to the store, hang out with her, and she'd drive me home. Sometimes (a lot of times), she'd sneak into my house and sleep with me. And by that, I mean literally sleep. She hated being home. She couldn't stand it. So I let her stay at my place at night. 

I even set her up a spot on the side of my bed so when I left for school at five every morning, she could stay and sleep without my parents knowing she was there. I had a waterbed which sat on two rows of shelves, so she kept clothes and other vitals in that side's drawers. I had a habit of never turning off my stereo, which greatly helped during this time. She'd sneak out of the house when my mother left to run errands or meet friends every day.

I did this despite the fact that my parents would have flat murdered me if they ever found out. Which, until today -- right now, in fact -- they never did. Sorry mom. Remember how we never had any milk or cereal? Now you understand.

One night, after weeks of simply coming over and sleeping, she broke down. I held her close and promised her no one would ever hurt her again. I lost my virginity that night. I fell in love. Or, at least what passes for love at age 18 when you've never really given yourself to anyone emotionally before. 

The very next night, everything went back to normal, except that I was completely head over heels gaga over this girl. And she kept coming over, and we kept being "really good friends" and she kept listening to my stories about my past and my life and not passing judgement, which made me even more crazy for her. 

That is, until she didn't. 

She stopped hanging out with me at the beginning of March. She stopped coming to school. No one knew where she was. She pretty much disappeared for a while. The teachers in my school knew we were close, and tried to get me to get her to show up. The problem is, I couldn't reach her. I would go over to her house, and she wouldn't answer the door. She never answered the phone. I showed up at her work one day (something I was really scared to do), and she wouldn't even look me in the eye. So I left.

It turns out, she moved in with a guy who worked at the Blockbuster Video across the street from the Subway she worked at. She didn't know how to tell me. Things had gotten too horrible at home. She couldn't handle the stress of trying to work full time and go to school. She didn't officially drop out, she just... Dropped out. And all of this came from the guy she moved in with, who was actually very kind to explain it all to me. I knew that they talked. I never thought twice about it. 

"She didn't want to hurt you, I think," he told me. 

So, the "not really awful for being an overemotional teenage boy wrought with emotion and not enough intelligence to actually express any of it" thing (very slightly cleaned up because EUGHHHH I can't just let some of these grammar things continue to exist):

March 14, 1995, about 2 AM:

I'm sitting in my car outside your house. It's two in the morning and I'm trying to think you out of bed. You always meet me. But not tonight. Not this time. And it's not the first time, and I don't know why, and yet here I am. 

I keep feeling the worst feeling in the world... Every time I look at the clock and realize it's ten minutes later, and you're not coming out. Not tonight. Not this time.

You say you know me, but all you see in me is yourself. And I want to believe I'm you, so badly. You're everything I wish I could be. Strong, intelligent, funny and aware. You don't want to know anyone and you couldn't care less about anything. 

I want to know the world. Worse; I want the world to know me. I care about everything. I want more than anything to be understood. And here you are in my life, at least pretending to understand me. I don't mind. It's a gesture most aren't willing to make; and the me you think you understand is, at least, someone I wish I was.

And that's why it hurts so much when you shut down, because I'm not strong enough to be you. I shut down too. I can't pull you up. I can't help you. You help me so much (you try at least, and that matters). You don't even realize when you're doing it. By being so strong, you give me that strength. By talking to me about what you think I need to hear, you show me you want to see me. 

I'm not naive enough anymore to believe you when you tell me it's all going to be okay. Every night it gets worse. I don't know what's happening to you or why. You won't tell me. You always made me do all the talking. You always told me how to fix myself. And now I realize, you were really telling me you want to be fixed. And I want so badly to help you. Now. Tonight. 

But you're not here. Not tonight. Not this time. 

I'll go back home; I'll sneak into my window and sleep for two hours and get up for school. Maybe today  you'll show up. I doubt it. 

I want to know you're alright. I want to know you'll still be there to make me alright. I want to go up to your window and tap and roust you out of bed and know what's going on. 

But I'm not that brave. Not tonight. Not this time. 

Anyway, this whole story ends with me trying to kiss a student teacher. If you clicked the link above, you'd know that. This was in the same year, I had my crotch thrown up on during a botched first date, and I got the crap kicked out of me by a girl who attempted suicide by Advil. Among a LOT of other things.

I'm not sure why I told you all about Michele, or why I shared this passage. The truth is, I'm not sure why I do most things. I'm kind of an idiot. You know this about me. And yet, you keep coming back. So thanks for that. Thanks for trying to understand me. It means a lot.