The introduction to this series is in the previous post, which went up on the blog yesterday. The remaining posts in this series should – if all goes according to plan – get uploaded daily through either Friday or Saturday (depending on how many posts there end up being.) Enjoy.
My love for Sue was entirely platonic. (I was in kindergarten when it started – what else could it have been?) I wanted to play with her. ‘Play’ in this context having a COMPLETELY different definition than it does when I say I want to ‘play’ with a woman now. And we did play together. I wanted to play with her, talk to her, and so on. And if you want to know the big dirty secret, I secretly harbored deep dark fantasies . . . of kissing her. On the lips. Closed mouth, of course. (I wouldn’t have even known back then that you could involve the tongue in a kiss.)
I was in love. Johnny Dirtnap (not his real name) was also in love with her. (I know, it’s strange. We were supposed to be aware of the dangers of cooties and filled with the realization that girls were yucky, but there we were, kindergarteners in love.) Johnny Dirtnap’s little obsession with her ran for as long as mine did (and then switched over to become an obsession with Rabbit once he found out I liked Rabbit, but that one only lasted until she moved away. He found other girls to pine over while I was still in love with her from afar.) Sue wanted to be friends with both of us, but nothing more. She certainly didn’t want to grant either of us the right to call her our girlfriend.
In the second grade the three of us (along with another guy, who was simply there because we needed another player – like needing a fourth for bridge) hung out at recess all the time, playing a Cops and Robbers / Cowboys and Indians version of “The Fantastic Four” (which had a popular Saturday morning cartoon on at the time). Sue was the Invisible Girl, I was Mr. Fantastic, Johnny Dirtnap was the Thing, and the other guy was H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot (I was the only one who knew the FF from the comics, so none of the other three had even heard of the Human Torch, and I didn’t push it.) Usually when we played, one of our characters would be sick, or visiting relatives, or otherwise out of the ‘storyline’, and that character’s player would be the villain for the day.
Anyway, Johnny Dirtnap was apparently only ever a casual watcher of the program, because he never caught onto the fact that Sue’s character and my character were husband and wife. Early on in this little game she pulled me aside and told me NOT to ever point this out to him. Not just because she didn’t want the two of us fighting over who got to be Mr. Fantastic, but also because if that happened, she didn’t want Johnny Dirtnap to ever get the role, because she didn’t want to play his wife. The day of this conversation was the best day of my life up to that point. She didn’t want my rival for her affections playing her husband. But she didn’t mind me doing it. Yes!
Even as I started getting on in years, (you know, entering the fourth grade and all that), and became aware of things like ‘nudity’, and that there was something called ‘sex’, I still didn’t think that way about Sue. Partly because I was a good Catholic boy (an altar boy, even), but also because Sue hadn’t been any kind of sex object for the duration of my affection for her. Why start now, I guess.
And now we come to the weird-assed synchronicity portion of the post. As I sat here writing all of the above text, I hadn’t seen Sue since a friend’s funeral almost fourteen years ago. And prior to that, I don’t think I’d seen her since high school. Keep this in mind as I tell my little side story here.
So, I’m sitting here banging on my keyboard when a ride to the grocery store is offered to me. Having a healthy interest in the consumption of food and no transportation of my own, I accept this kind offer and away we go. I push a cart through the store, load up on the most nutritious possible foodstuffs [frozen pizzas, potato chips, thin sliced turkey, shredded cheese, and tortillas for turkey-and-cheese ‘burritos’, and a Hershey bar. (Hey, wait a minute – I’m diabetic . . . how the Hell did a Hershey bar get into my cart? Oh, well. Too late now, I suppose.)], and go through the check-out.
As I’m loading my groceries into the back seat of the car, I hear a voice from halfway across the parking lot calling my name in a questioning manner, not 100% certain that it’s actually me that the owner of said voice is seeing. A female voice. A voice from deep in my fuckin’ past.
After a nearly 14 year long gap I find myself standing face to face with Sue in a grocery store parking lot. She asks how I’ve been, and – well, I don’t like to complain . . . which leaves me with nothing to say. My answer is along the lines of, “Eh.” Then I ask how she’s been, what she’s been up to.
So, not only have I not seen her in almost 14 years, but she’s also moved to Singapore. She lives in Singapore (which is where her husband hails from), and I still somehow manage run into her in the parking lot of the local grocery store on a day I’m writing about her in here. Weird. (She made the trip home for Thanksgiving, and to say her final goodbyes to a dying family member. So it’s not like she just happened to drive from Singapore to Silverton to buy groceries or anything. But still . . . weird.)
And I know that I’m supposed to be asking her questions like, “So, what are you doing now? What do you do for a living? Do you have any kids?” And so on. But all I can think is, “I can’t believe I took a break from writing about you in my dirty little sex blog to go buy groceries, and now here you are!”
Then she brings up the guest-of-honor from the funeral where we last saw each other, and we spend a few minutes re-commiserating about that. And then her groceries became too heavy and/or awkward to continue hanging onto, so we said our goodbyes and she headed to her car. I’ll probably never see her again.
I’m not a telepath or anything, but as she was walking to her car, I’m fairly certain that one of the things she was thinking was, “Wow, he’s gotten even fatter since the last time I saw him.” Which is truer than she knows. Right now I weigh more than I did at the funeral way back when. But at 450 (give or take) I also weigh a couple hundred pounds less than I did just a few years ago, so it irks me a little that after losing a lot of weight, she is going to think of me as fatter. I don’t think that this would matter to me if it had been just some generic person I hadn’t seen in years. With Sue, it bothers me.
Okay. Interlude over. Back to your regularly scheduled post. Onto the story of Rabbit . . .
Rabbit shifted from “some girl I go to school with” to “the girl I love” sometime after a series of conversations we had during what I tend to call The Paper Route Years. I remember it starting simply, with both of us walking home from school at the same time, neither of us having our usual friend available to walk home with. By time we parted ways (me turning left, she continuing straight) about half a block from each of our houses, I was thinking that she was much more interesting than I’d ever imagined.
Early into the fifth grade, I got a paper route. My route started downtown, and went off to encompass a trailer park and half of the residential end of main street. (Which isn’t that impressive, my hometown being relatively small, and possibly built out of LEGOs.) So anyway, my house wasn’t on my route. Whose route was my house on? The route belonging to Rabbit’s older sister.
Conversations with Rabbit’s sister led to more conversations with Rabbit. (More importantly, conversations with Rabbit’s sister led to excuses for conversations with Rabbit outside of school.) The more I got to know Rabbit, the more I wanted her. Wanted her to be my girlfriend, yes. But also simply wanted her.
Like I said earlier, my feelings for Sue were completely platonic. The situation with Rabbit was a little different. I had sexual fantasies about Rabbit. And partway through the fifth grade, there were rumors that Rabbit was already sexually active. (Sadly, these rumors – which I believe to have been accurate – had her having sex with the class scumbag.) I think that if she would have offered to show-me-hers-if-I’d’ve-shown-her-mine, I’d have gladly stripped down for the chance to see her naked. I also think that if she would have offered me sex I probably would have screamed like a girl, ran off, and hidden behind a large rock until she went away, being nowhere near ready to do any of the things I had been fantasizing about.
Rabbit first became aware that I liked her “that way” in typical 5th grade dramatic fashion. One day at morning recess, someone ratted me out. Somehow, the information about my private life which only two people – both sworn to absolute secrecy about – had known, somehow made it into the hands of the enemy: The schoolyard contingent of giggly, gossipy girls.
I don’t know exactly when Rabbit became aware of my romantic (and 5th grade quality sexual) interest(s) in her, but I found out about it about a week after she broke up with the class scumbag. The revelation came in the form of a note she passed me while the teacher was writing on the blackboard, back turned to us. (Fate had our desks the same number of seats back in adjacent rows, so we were effectively sitting right next to each other.) I unfolded the full sheet of paper to see a couple of handwritten lines at the top of the page. “Gossipy Schoolyard Bitch [not her real name] says you like me. Is it true?” I read the lines a couple of times, not quite sure that my life was really taking this dramatic turn, reswallowed my heart, and very calmly wrote, “Of course I like you”, refolded it, waited for a moment when I wouldn’t get caught, and passed it back.
My answer wasn’t informative enough for her (as had been my intention). She sent the note back, stating that Gossipy Schoolyard Bitch said that I liked her liked her (with the first ‘liked’ underlined). And asking if that was true. So, I confessed that it was true. And her response to that was something like, “Good. I like you, too.”
We passed notes back and forth for almost a full week. Then she got back together with the class scumbag. The next time I handed her a note she immediately handed it back unread and shook her head, “No”.
Rabbit either liked me (liked me liked me) and was torn between me and the class scumbag . . . or just liked the class scumbag and enjoyed playing headgames with me. She’d get me alone and tell me how much better of a person I was than the class scumbag, and how she really did like me. But then she’d tell me I couldn’t tell anyone we’d talked about that, and then take off for ol’ scummy’s lovin’ arms. One time everybody had to give speeches for English class, and as I was walking back to my desk – right past Rabbit – after giving mine she looked right into my eyes and mouthed the words “I love you” at me.
Anyway, Rabbit eventually disappeared from my life the summer between middle school and high school, moving to California to live with her father. (I sometimes wonder if she had to leave as the result of one of the class scumbag’s sperms wrestling one of her eggs to the floor of her womb and having its way with the poor little thing.) But that disappearance was just from my life. She wouldn’t leave my heart or my poor obsessive/compulsive addled mind for a few more years yet. Not until I fell in love with Penny.