Jason quickly took Jack’s place for the remainder of the summer as my poolside cheerleader. He became one of my very first guy friends. I think it is true when people say friendships start out between men and women, boys and girls because someone likes someone. In our case I think we liked the idea of each other but two hangs in we realized we were better friends.
Or it could be because I realized I played for the minors and he played for the majors. Or it could be shortly after he met the most popular girl in our school and she decided she had to have him as hers. When someone who previously didn’t acknowledge your existence suddenly invites them self to your neighborhood pool, it could be because of your hot new guy friend.
It really didn’t matter to me. This is what I knew- Jason was always sweet to my brother and kind to me. Again maybe because Jason had a much older sister he liked the idea of having a little brother. As for me – to this day I don’t know and I don’t care.
He was there when I needed him and was on and off until we were done with high school.
He let me cry when we ran into Jack and that horrible girl at the end of the summer cook out in our neighborhood. Jack looked uncomfortable she held onto him tightly and gloated. Making a point to walk past us more times than warranted. Jason through my tears kept telling me I would find my way this would not always be how it was. Other guys would get wise to what he knew.
He was kind of right.
We will get there.
Some side notes.
Jack married that horrible girl immediately after high school and joined the army immediately after the wedding. They are divorced but have a sweet looking daughter who has her Dad’s freckles and brown eyes. Jack wears big cowboy boots, big belt buckles and big cowboy hats. I am pretty sure he is a Republican. So even if we HAD worked out, we WOULD not have worked out.
Jason to his credit remained one of my closest friends until he moved out of state with his family. He also married the popular girl. They also have a beautiful daughter. We talk once in awhile. Jason teases me because he says he lost all his looks as he’s aged and my beautiful insides finally oozed to my outsides. Time has been kind.
Every girl should have a Jason in their life.
I started high school with a broken heart but a hot best friend.
Life didn’t seem too bad.
Except when it did.
Being shy can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gives you that instant out. A curse because you find it extremely hard to be able to hold solid conversations with anyone. Much like Jason – most boys that got to know me loved the fact that I blushed. I think every high school year book I have someone who has written,”I hope that you don’t blush when you get into college.”
Guys I am almost 46 and I still blush.
The only difference is now people find it endearing.
Rather than a literal beacon of how uncomfortable I am.
And yes some still like to make me blush. But I like them and they make me happy.
We’ll get there…
Shyness got the best of me my first high school dance. I was really lucky because contrary to what the movie Footloose would have you believe our small town encouraged dances and dancing and even our friends not very good punk bands to have shows.
All of which shockingly my parents encouraged me to attend.
Imagine if you will 15 year old me.
Not even 5 ft tall. Maybe 85 pounds. An attempt at mall hair. Stirrup pants and a baggy sweatshirt. Awkward. So very awkward. But I had those family doe eyes.
Standing with a group of my equally shy, equally awkward, equally smart baby posse of girlfriends we waited together until the right song came one. Shy girls still love to dance and it was when we all let go. We didn’t care and honestly we didn’t need to. We were good dancers and we had so much fun.
While waiting for an excruciatingly long slow to end. I caught him staring at me. He was a senior and the quarterback on our football team. There was absolutely no way he was staring at me.
Yet he was. Poison’s Talk Dirty to Me came on and my friends squealed and started dragging me out on the dance floor. He came and stood in front of my group. We all froze.
“Hey, what’s your name?” “ME?!” “Yes.” “Are you sure?!” “Nice to meet you are you sure.”
He chuckled and walked away with his cronies.
My first week on the gymnastic team I had to go to the Senior hallway to give my team older sister a good luck flower. He saw me and yelled out “Hey are you sure?” I blushed. “You look more like a little monchichi to me”
There are worse nicknames a girl can have.
Trust me – we’ll get there.
Aww man will we ever.
Side note time: Big popular football player went onto have a pretty successful college career and marry a woman who would have an incredibly successful career as a writer. Not me, sillies. We did cross paths a few years ago. I am waiting in an airport to fly to see my person and I hear a guy yell “Monchichi”
Oh god no. There he was. Time I think is kind to people who are kind and he was a kind man. I knew it was him immediately. After the world’s clumsiest hug. I’m still short, so hugging a 6ft 3in man is tricky. “Monchichi! You glowed up girl”
Thanks. “How are you?” “Good – off to meet the wife at one of her book stops. I always liked the shy, smart girls. Lucky for me she knew her name when I asked her. And you? Wait a minute – you’re with that guy. The one…”
Oh no my friends.
As they say. You have to work for it.
Whether he knew it or not that very 80’s nickname guaranteed for quite awhile that my high school years were not too horrible. He had given me the gift of coolness. All because I was too shy to say my own name.
I also still lived in a neighborhood full of mostly boys. Who I got stuck carpooling with daily. I spent the first two years of high school wading through girls who really liked me or just liked me to get closer to those boys who I carpooled with. While again that odd relationship made sure I didn’t have any issues in high school. It also prevented any boy who might be interested in me or vice versa from asking. It’s hard to ask a girl anything when she is constantly surrounded by Motley Crue wannabes. It is also hard to be interested in a boy when said wannabes enjoy yelling out open car windows the name of your latest crush.
You learn fast to keep that information to yourself.
Don’t feel sorry for me though ok?
I did go to all the important dances.
Unfortunately I ended up getting a huge crush on my Twerp/Homecoming date. Who I found out later only asked me because he was the emcee, needed a date and knew as his buddy I’d say yes.
You win some you loose some.
I feel lucky in that I never experienced the angst and heartbreak in high school that my friends around me seemed to.
This might be because my parents were extremely honest about their situation. Graduated high school in June, married in October, baby in November. I am not great at Math but…
Besides I had the eyes on the prize. I was going to college. Away. No one was going to mess that up.
Except someone almost did and it isn’t even who you would think.
A caveat to going to college was trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it. My Dad worked in a factory. My Mom was a waitress. What I wouldn’t find out until months ago is they’re still paying off my third heart surgery well into my 20’s.
Which meant money was tight. The minute I could make money babysitting. I started doing that when I was 11. When I turned 16 I got a work permit and immediately started working in the same restaurant as my Mom. My poor zoo date worked there too. We will get there. I had a really small nest egg started. A thousand dollars. Which at that time and honestly even now was a lot.
Not long after getting my acceptance letter.
Side note: I got into every college I applied for. Why I settled on Whitewater, the world will never know. This one could have been learning about marine biology in Hawaii. I am part hippie after all. Insert smirky emoji here.
I get a frantic phone call from one of my friends.
“Caprise I’m pregant and I don’t know what to do.”
I met my friend at McDonalds- her mascara running down her face. “The guy won’t help me. I can’t tell my family. You can’t tell your family”
I’m going to take a pause here. Normal world that statement would cause me to tell my parents. However my world and my relationship with my parents was tight to say the least.
“What can I do?” “I need your college money.”
I didn’t mean to but I started crying.
“Caprise I will pay you back, please you have to help me.”
I would like to tell you she would pay me back. I would like to tell you from there on out money was never a constant point of contention. I would like to tell you when my ex husband kicked me out of our paid off house making $75k a year and me making $8.50/hr and with a 21/2 year old and no insurance and nothing.
Please guys, it is ok. This works out. It really does. I will tell you how. But first how about that infamous zoo date?
His name was Charlie. He legit looked like Opie from Andy Griffith and was about to start college at a Baptist college. So many things that did not check the boxes for me. The story goes my Mom who BTW not only forbid me to eat sugar (bad teeth) would not allow me to have a boyfriend. Yes a few brave souls tried. However, when the story got out about how my Dad broke his ankle running down icy stairs to go beat the shit out of two neighborhood boys who called me a series of unfortunate names and later pulled the stitches out of his hernia chasing after a peeping Tom… let’s just say I am just as surprised as you I went to any dances with boys.
There were times in not too far from then I wished my Dad was around. But he wasn’t.
I am not sure if we will get there.
Back to the story. My Mom worried about me going away to college wasn’t sure I would know how to go on an actual date. Asked her waiters/hosts if someone would take me out. Later I would find out the one I wanted to take me out offered and was told no.
We WILL get to him later.
Sweet. Kind. Very holy Charlie said yes. I still don’t know if Mom paid him and honestly I really, truly don’t want to know. He picked me up we went to the zoo, it was fun, I tore my pants getting out of his car. Nothing really great.
Charlie to his credit is still very sweet, still very kind and is the Deacon at some church down South. His wife is also a red head and they have four equally lovely red headed children.
We are about to enter my college years. Which means yes I figured it out. Not without some help.
I think every person deserves a champion. Several if possible. Mine came in the form of my Dad’s parents. Who lived down South which to this day seems like a foreign country and home at the same time. They have supported me my whole life. The first time I got drunk was with my Grandmother. I was 16 and we were on a cruise. We had docked on some Caribbean island I was in a room with them. She introduced me to rum and cokes. She also was the one who told me about sex. Not at the same time. Later that summer before I went to college over several glasses of red wine.
Before you judge don’t. She was amazing and I am crying while I type this and I can’t put into words how many times in the last 10 years I wish I could have called Duchess Three Sheets to the Wind. Princess Running Mascara misses you so much.
Heartbreak number four…
My Grandparents made sure I went to college. Ever since I was little they have made sure there are pockets of time where it is just us. I sometimes think it is so they can check up on my parents. When I was 2 they had to intervene to prevent me from living on a commune. I think to this day they still don’t trust them.
So every visit they would take me somewhere just us. Sometimes out for food, sometimes shopping, sometimes fishing but just us three and we would talk. Before they could even ask I started sobbing. I told them about my friend borrowing from my college fund. How it happened more than once. Now you know too. My Grandfather clicked his bridge. His tell as I call it when he had something to say but wouldn’t. My Grandma hugged me and said we will help.
They did. I still graduated with student loans but I think I only had to use laundry money a few times for party money. I did work during college but luckily and thanks to my Grandparents it wasn’t as much as some of my friends.
To this day my Grandfather finds time for just us. The conversations are sometimes harder. Sometimes they aren’t. Lately he is particularly interested in a certain young man in my life. Although in your 40’s it is pretty funny and fantastic to have your Grandfather ask how is that young man of yours in my most favorite voice.
I am smiling as I type this…..
Single Mom of the amazing Dbl G
Henry Rollins Middle Aged Punk Prom Date