In which June has a drink with an old boyfriend with whom she was completely obsessed and lives. Could someone go back and tell my 1988 self that this was possible? Thanks.

I met him in seventh grade. We had English class together.

In seventh grade, one would be hard-pressed to guess whether I was male or female. I was androgynous before it was cool. So to say I began a torrid romance with Giovanni Leftwich in seventh grade would be very far from the truth.

By the way, this guy's name is not remotely Giovanni Leftwich. I asked him what fake blog name he wanted and the choices he came up with were so ludicrous that I cannot even believe I spent years loving this man with every fiber of my being. So I went on a random name generator and it came up with Giovanni Leftwich and I laughed for 750 years.

So Giovanni and I (still dying over the name) were in junior high together, and by 9th grade we had become friends. I have mentioned before that most of my friends were boys, and what tended to happen is I'd have one best girl friend and then 89 friends who were boys. That is how it went with Giovanni and me; he was part of one of the 89 male friends, and in fact he had a huge crush on my best female friend.

As 9th-grade relationships usually work, his thing with my friend did not last, and eventually he got a crush on me, but I had a boyfriend by 10th grade. This did not deter him, and many afternoons he'd come over after school and try to charm me. Giovanni was ridiculously smart, and really funny, and kind of a giant goof.

I remember exactly the moment I realized I liked him back. I was at the grocery store with my mother, looking at the meat section. This is not a phallic thing and it is kind of ironic that that is where I was, because Giovanni is a vegetarian.

Anyway, do you remember back when they divided the meat into sections, and inexplicably they decorated the dividers with that plastic green frilly stuff that may have been meant to look like parsley? Do you? Do you remember that? Because that is what I was staring at when the realization came over me that I totally liked Giovanni and that my current boyfriend was so.gone.

I went to a pay phone right there at the grocery store, and I really don't remember how it happened after that, but soon we were dating.

And I fell in love for the first time. Oh! I had no idea you could feel so happy. So walking-on-air happy. I was so berserk about him.

And, much like 9th-grade relationships, our 10th-grade one didn't exactly stand the test of time. We broke up, and soon I was dating Cardinal, who was my high school boyfriend for most of high school.

But I still held a torch for Giovanni. Not literally. Because why would he need me to hold a torch? I understand that I am old now, but we weren't cave people.

So throughout high school, I would break up with Cardinal and date Giovanni. But we had this thing where we had all this…fire. We would be crazy about each other but then we couldn't stop fighting. We'd get into awful fights. We were that couple who fought at parties. At dances. By the candy machine at school. And I would reunite with Cardinal, who was easy and happy and fun.

I didn't talk to Giovanni Leftwich (heee) for many years after high school. But in 1987 when we were 22, he had graduated college and I was home, having dropped out of college for the 29492040th time. I called him, and within an hour we were kissing in a bowling alley parking lot. Because it was my home town. And you did things like meet in bowling alley parking lots.

Lovedloveloved
Anyway, that was it. From that evening in October 1987, I was completely hooked. I cannot even tell you how crazily in love I was with Giovanni Leftwich, who really needs to have his name legally changed because it is the best name ever. Also? Can we jam out to my acid-wash jeans for a moment? And my perm? Have you ever met anyone who needs a perm less than me?

I found him physically beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. But it was his mind I was in love with most. He had gotten an art degree, and his mind worked constantly. He was always creating something or thinking of a new idea or reinventing something to make it work a different way. I could have sat inside his brain for the rest of time and been perfectly happy.

But that fire thing was happening again. We could not go a week without some kind of intense, screaming, throwing objects, dramatic fight.  There was nothing not intense about that relationship. Usually our fights were about one of us being worried the other was leaving. And I didn't want to go anywhere. I knew I'd never feel the way I felt about him with anyone else.

And I was right. Because not only was I desperately in love with him? There was also this sense of longing. He would say wonderful things to me, and do these grand romantic gestures, and pay so much attention to me. Yet I felt like I couldn't quite capture him. I felt like there was a part of him that didn't quite approve of me. If I were a little smarter, or a little prettier, or trendier or more interesting, I could finally get him to love me like I loved him.

I have no idea if he really felt that way or if he gave me that impression intentionally. But obsession mixed with longing is a hideous combination.

(When I met Marvin, I was berserk about him, but I felt safe. And being with him made me calmer, not nuttier. I was able to remember people's birthdays, to focus on something besides myself. There was no longing because I knew he was crazy about every part of me. Therefore I was less obsessed.)

I hope to never have a Giovanni obsession again. Kind of. Because even though it was miserable, it was also wonderful.

I was the one who finally ended things. I remember the exact date: January 16, 1989. We'd had another ridiculous throwing-things fight, and I knew this was no good for either of us. Giving up Giovanni Leftwich and his fine name was one of the hardest things I ever did. But I knew a relationship where you only feel the ends of the spectrum–totally as good as humanly possible or totally bad–was not healthy.

After I ended things, he'd call in the middle of the night, or knock on my door, and I'd lie there in my bed willing myself to not answer. "Don't get up, don't get up, DON'T GET UP!" I'd tell myself. And I didn't.

So there it is. I didn't talk to him until 2009, when he Facebook friended me. When I saw his request I kind of jumped out of my skin. But I couldn't resist saying yes.

And then? We became friends again. Just like in 9th grade. He is married, and has kids, and is happy. And for the last few years, he has been saying I should drop by when I go to Michigan. He doesn't live in our home town anymore, but he is close enough that I could visit. So this past weekend? I finally visited him.

"Is your wife okay with this?" I wanted to know. I didn't want her to think I was some Jezebel coming to try to steal her man.

And you know what? I wasn't. I saw him, and for maybe the first four seconds I lit up like when you touch the metal sides in the game Operation. there he is there he is there he is! I was a little like that. And did you notice when I think things to myself I think them in threes? Why am I so berserk?

But after the Operation part? It was like seeing an old friend. Which he is. We talked about gardens and cats and people we knew, and it was completely pleasant and free of, you know, fire.

"I thought this might be awful, but it really wasn't," he said. And I agree. It was just so good to see him, this person who had meant so much to me.

We chatted for a few hours and then he walked me to my car. We hugged goodbye, and when I got in my car? My radio was playing the top 10 songs of 1988.

And I smiled and remembered 1988 the whole way home.

 

293 thoughts on “In which June has a drink with an old boyfriend with whom she was completely obsessed and lives. Could someone go back and tell my 1988 self that this was possible? Thanks.

  1. A. Also wish I had the name Flossie.
    W. Unsure re Henry but Marvin is working in Raleigh all week so he is bringing Hen over here so I can take him to the vet tomorrow.
    Sent from my i hate everything phone

    Like

  2. Okay, gettin deep in here, guys. Sorry if I started it. The mutual affection is better left unspoken. Or spoken in insults.
    Henry? June, too cryptic. Fill us in.

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  3. He appears to have an abscess, probably from a cat fight, could be from Winston or from going outside. It is gross. I will take him to vet tomorrow. I put hot wet cloths on it and peroxide and you know who is happy with me right now? Henry.

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  4. My cat Gary had one of those on his back from a cat fight. They debrided it, poured some gunk in it, gave him some antibiotics, and he was back to kicking ass in no time.

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  5. Oh you guys crack me up……we all feel insecure at times. It’s a natural phenomenon but you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT IT! You’re SUPPOSED to pretend you’re cool and all and just hold everything in until you A. Need a therapist 2. start drinking alone in the evening or D. Develop a facial twitch. As for smart-ass stuff that could be interpreted as unkind, you’ve got to read BBP for a while and then you get the sarcastic tone that is our beloved June, which then makes it safe and accepted for us to sling sarcasm too. I’m ‘new’ and everyone’s been very welcoming…unless…..are you guys emailing and talking about me behind my back? Oh, I think I need some Advil.
    And don’t worry, I’m probably most often in the running for LAST COMMENTER of the post since I’m on the west coast and up later than some. It seems like there’s a lot of east coast & mid-west regulars.

    Like

  6. Oh you guys crack me up……we all feel insecure at times. It’s a natural phenomenon but you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT IT! You’re SUPPOSED to pretend you’re cool and all and just hold everything in until you A. Need a therapist 2. start drinking alone in the evening or D. Develop a facial twitch. As for smart-ass stuff that could be interpreted as unkind, you’ve got to read BBP for a while and then you get the sarcastic tone that is our beloved June, which then makes it safe and accepted for us to sling sarcasm too. I’m ‘new’ and everyone’s been very welcoming…unless…..are you guys emailing and talking about me behind my back? Oh, I think I need some Advil.
    And don’t worry, I’m probably most often in the running for LAST COMMENTER of the post since I’m on the west coast and up later than some. It seems like there’s a lot of east coast & mid-west regulars.

    Like

  7. Oh you guys crack me up……we all feel insecure at times. It’s a natural phenomenon but you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT IT! You’re SUPPOSED to pretend you’re cool and all and just hold everything in until you A. Need a therapist 2. start drinking alone in the evening or D. Develop a facial twitch. As for smart-ass stuff that could be interpreted as unkind, you’ve got to read BBP for a while and then you get the sarcastic tone that is our beloved June, which then makes it safe and accepted for us to sling sarcasm too. I’m ‘new’ and everyone’s been very welcoming…unless…..are you guys emailing and talking about me behind my back? Oh, I think I need some Advil.
    And don’t worry, I’m probably most often in the running for LAST COMMENTER of the post since I’m on the west coast and up later than some. It seems like there’s a lot of east coast & mid-west regulars.

    Like

  8. Sadie aka Loralee Bonniwell hopes Henry will soon be as good as new. And, Sylvia, hope you and Hulk both enjoyed your mutual birthday. says:

    Sending positive healing vibes to Henry.

    Like

  9. Sadie aka Loralee Bonniwell hopes Henry will soon be as good as new. And, Sylvia, hope you and Hulk both enjoyed your mutual birthday. says:

    Sending positive healing vibes to Henry.

    Like

  10. Sadie aka Loralee Bonniwell hopes Henry will soon be as good as new. And, Sylvia, hope you and Hulk both enjoyed your mutual birthday. says:

    Sending positive healing vibes to Henry.

    Like

  11. Sadie aka Loralee Bonniwell thinks you must have beautiful flowers in your garden, especially if you have the northern coast fog. says:

    Garden Girl, for some reason I thought you were an East coast girl.

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  12. Erumpent pus and phlegm, oh my!
    Erumpent is basically the best word for gross bodily fluids. “I can’t come into work today. I’m suffering from erumpent gleet.”

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  13. *Requiem for a Gleet*. An episode from my all time favorite tv series. Second time I have ever heard that word! The episode was properly disgusting.

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  14. June,
    My Lester Buster has had those disgusting abscess things many times. Something about cat saliva trapped in the bite wounds that causes the infection and the tissue to become necrotic.
    The vet should be able to clean it out well and maybe have to debrid the area. But that with some antibiotics and lots of rest and Henri will be right as rain in no time.

    Like

  15. Dear Sadie/Lorilee Bonniwell – I’m a southern california girl and that’s why I’m a Garden Girl….and I wasn’t reading BBP when June lived in LA so I missed my chance to meet her in person! Timing is everything : ( But I do love my pretty flowers. : )
    Florally,
    Garden Girl/Natalie Brookspear

    Like

  16. Dear Sadie/Lorilee Bonniwell – I’m a southern california girl and that’s why I’m a Garden Girl….and I wasn’t reading BBP when June lived in LA so I missed my chance to meet her in person! Timing is everything : ( But I do love my pretty flowers. : )
    Florally,
    Garden Girl/Natalie Brookspear

    Like

  17. Dear Sadie/Lorilee Bonniwell – I’m a southern california girl and that’s why I’m a Garden Girl….and I wasn’t reading BBP when June lived in LA so I missed my chance to meet her in person! Timing is everything : ( But I do love my pretty flowers. : )
    Florally,
    Garden Girl/Natalie Brookspear

    Like

  18. OMG! This reminds me of my obsession, Javier Bombardo (got to love the name generator)! I met him and fell hard, he was everything I ever wanted in my 25 year-old mind. I happened to meet his brother, Guy Bombardo about the same time. Guy was married, but was to be divorced in a couple of years. I was so in love with Javier, could think of nothing else, my every breath was for him. Javier had been married twice before and was so into “bombarding” every woman he could find, but it was okay (according to him), because he was honest with every one of those women. While Javier and I were “on a break” (a la Friends), Guy called me up and asked me out. He was sweet, funny and attentive. Javier was wild with jealousy that I was seeing his brother. I was tired of the drama and moved on from the Bombardo brothers. Move forward about five years. I am living next door to Guy, Javier lived two doors down (how stupidly sick was this?) Guy didn’t want Javier to see us together, so he called me up one night and asked me over, but asked me to crawl through the window so no one would see me. I told him to go bombard himself. When Javier decided to marry for a third time, after getting me back on the hook and then asked me to clean his apartment before the wedding, I found her expensive negligee in his bedroom closet and accidentally spilled Drano all over the front of it. Oh oh! Burned holes in that gorgeous fabric, damn clumsy rubber gloves! Years later my sister is an officer in family court where Guy Bombardo is the judge (actually has redeemed himself by fighting for women in domestic violence cases)although my sister will never forgive him for asking me to crawl through the window to see him.
    By the way, my name is now Funky Shizz (thank you name generator!)

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  19. Garden girl, I’m a west coaster, too. From San Diego but now in Portland for the past 8 yrs. Kept my SD condo so I’d have a place to go dry out and scrape off the rust occasionally.
    Tee- I’m 40′ but I totally know the Hello, Mary Lou song. I had an Aunt Mary Lou and my dad used to always sing it to her.
    Siren, your comment about people here not being sharks is the whole reason I started commenting. Before that I never would have done it. I’m so awkward when it comes to talking to anyone I don’t know. I funk that’s one of the reasons I like June’s blog – she’s the chatty person I would like to be. If I had gone to Hulkapalooza, I’d have spent my time petting the animals and tidying everything up all afternoon.
    And, finally – Happy Birthday, Sylvia! Every time I read your name,In my mind I hear the song “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook.
    And now…. I think I “win” for last comment of the night!

    Like

  20. Garden girl, I’m a west coaster, too. From San Diego but now in Portland for the past 8 yrs. Kept my SD condo so I’d have a place to go dry out and scrape off the rust occasionally.
    Tee- I’m 40′ but I totally know the Hello, Mary Lou song. I had an Aunt Mary Lou and my dad used to always sing it to her.
    Siren, your comment about people here not being sharks is the whole reason I started commenting. Before that I never would have done it. I’m so awkward when it comes to talking to anyone I don’t know. I funk that’s one of the reasons I like June’s blog – she’s the chatty person I would like to be. If I had gone to Hulkapalooza, I’d have spent my time petting the animals and tidying everything up all afternoon.
    And, finally – Happy Birthday, Sylvia! Every time I read your name,In my mind I hear the song “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook.
    And now…. I think I “win” for last comment of the night!

    Like

  21. Garden girl, I’m a west coaster, too. From San Diego but now in Portland for the past 8 yrs. Kept my SD condo so I’d have a place to go dry out and scrape off the rust occasionally.
    Tee- I’m 40′ but I totally know the Hello, Mary Lou song. I had an Aunt Mary Lou and my dad used to always sing it to her.
    Siren, your comment about people here not being sharks is the whole reason I started commenting. Before that I never would have done it. I’m so awkward when it comes to talking to anyone I don’t know. I funk that’s one of the reasons I like June’s blog – she’s the chatty person I would like to be. If I had gone to Hulkapalooza, I’d have spent my time petting the animals and tidying everything up all afternoon.
    And, finally – Happy Birthday, Sylvia! Every time I read your name,In my mind I hear the song “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook.
    And now…. I think I “win” for last comment of the night!

    Like

  22. Oh, and June? Hugh Frisbee is just as attractive as ever, unfortunately.
    I mean, really? Hugh is still hot, seeing the black helicopters and all. Of course, now I am happily married to Kurt Pundt (that RNG is a barrel of laughs), and Hugh has not been able to convince anyone that tinfoil is a necessary fashion accessory. He has still managed to be deceptively cute. I wish I could still be friends with Hugh, because I think he would actually be a lot more fun now.

    Like

  23. Oh, and I literally have an aunt named Flossie. And, one totally awesome great aunt, who is 98 years old, named Fannie. Did I mention my mother fled south eastern KY when I was 4 years old? There are a ton of awesome names in my family line. Opal, Gertrude, Fannie, Flossie, Icey, Jimbo, Virginia, Georgia, Maudie, Irene, Wilma. I love me some good old southern names. Remind me to tell you guys how I came to my new name, Chrusty, from my old southern name Christy Lynn someday.

    Like

  24. Usually I can read the comments without benefit of a dictionary. “Erumpent gleet?” Ick.

    Like

  25. I’ll help you out, Misti, and become the new last comment.
    I’m still afraid to comment sometimes because of all of the reasons people said. But I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut so I do it anyway.
    Also, I can’t get on here a lot because of my busy job and then I feel like I’m days behind and when I comment everyone will forget what someone said 9875302 comments ago that I’m responding to.
    And I hope kitty is okay.

    Like

  26. June. Giovanni Leftwich? Giggle.
    You think of fake parsley and meat, I think of the Blues Brothers. Also, the day Giovanni used a mirror to reflect sunlight from the drafting room window down to the Trig class, right onto the bald head of one of our teachers. Great fun. Great guy.

    Like

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