oh let’s see, when last we left our herione, she had failed out of school _(and_ dropped out, all at once!), hadn’t been particularly lucky with the boys in school, anyway, so maybe that was just as well… took up residence with six of her former fellow students… started working at a movie theater… and discovered being out of school was surprisingly helpful in the guy department. you’d think it would be the other way around, really!
i can hardly keep them straight.
hasan, the beautiful-like-a-woman bisexual cellist who was in town for the summer for the eastern music festival; i was his first kiss.
evan, brother of my friend todd, in town for the summer. first, we were friends; then one night he confessed a secret to me about a sexual problem that he thought he had. that very evening i learned from personal experience that he actually _didn’t_ have this problem, but was convinced he did. fascinating. (that’s evan over there to the right.)
it was with evan that i first noticed a strange thing that would happen when i was making out with a guy. i’d feel like i was outside of my body, looking at what was happening like a bystander. i didn’t understand this very well at the time, but i thought it probably meant that something wasn’t right.
bry. bry walked into the theater one night wearing a top hat and carrying a cane. he had a big personality and it was so easy to talk to him. he and his friend came to visit me one night while i was on the air; somehow he got his friend to agree to go out in the pouring rain for cigarettes and then bry kissed me in the stacks. we only fooled around a couple of times; once at his friend’s house that night and then one day he just showed up at my place with a bottle of something in hand. i think he drank most of that bottle that night. the next morning he was throwing up blood and i didn’t know what the hell to do. just as i was screwing myself up to take him to the emergency room, he walked downstairs and announced that he was fine. i took him home, and i don’t think i ever saw him again.
crazy mike. i knew him from school. he had a brain chemical imbalance, a fairly profound one. he once told me that his brain behaved as if it was on acid all the time. one day he showed up at the theater with a couple of friends, for rocky horror. my shift was over before the movie, so i went in and joined them. somehow his medication was just right that day; he was clear, upbeat, you could talk to him. and my _god_ i thought he was sexy! in this total white trash kind of way. long hair and dirty jeans. the four of us wound up driving around greensboro on some kind of mission, mike and i in the back seat flirting like crazy and holding hands. we got lost, and i could have gotten us un-lost, but didn’t because i didn’t want the ride to ever end.
i saw mike a couple of years later when visiting school with a boyfriend. he was startled to learn that i had a boyfriend. “I thought you were _gay!!”_ he said he would have kissed me that night if he’d known otherwise.
it was during this time that i met ethan. i met him on new year’s eve at a party in chapel hill. i spent that night in raleigh at my friend stacie’s house; ethan lived nearby, and he walked down after he got home and he and i talked all night until morning when i called my mom to come pick me up.
i don’t know how to talk about ethan without sounding like a big cheesey sap. in retrospect, it’s clear that we both really, _really_ wanted each other. crush doesn’t even begin to cover ethan. but at the same time, i was terrified of being really close to him. he’s autistic, mildly, but still. he rocks back and forth all the time. he has never learned to drive. being with him was simultaneously awkward, frightening, and deeply satisfying.
we wrote a lot of letters. i still have them, but they’re up in my mom’s attic. his letters would come scrawled on scraps of old paintings, applications for food stamps, or whatever was close at hand.
he’d find his way to greensboro a lot. he’d wind up at my house somehow, and stay over on the sofa in my room. one night he was there when i got home from my shift at the theater. i think there had been a party. i remember sitting on the sofa next to him, and he took my hand and held it. it was _so_ the thing i had wanted to happen.. but i was caught completely off guard, and terrified. i blew it. i bolted out of the room. i can’t tell you how incredibly i regret having done that. that was my only shot; he was so angry at me. the letters i got after that.. barely intelligible, but clearly my stupid panic decision wasn’t a popular one. fuck.
he’s married now. he lives in raleigh and has shown up at every freaking rock show i’ve been to since he got back. i still think he’s unbearably hot. it’s somehow comforting to me to see someone who has known me since i was 19 when i go out to rock shows. but we don’t have much to say to each other anymore.