When I was in 9th grade, two friends of Saul Dietzel (and those who know me in real life are going to be SO IMPRESSED by the way I changed that name to protect the innocent) came up to me in the hall.
“Saul wants to know if you’ll go with him,” they said. With a romantic and intimate invitation like that, what girl could resist?” As an aside, which is not like me, after you’re done with school there’s very little drama in halls after. For the first 18 years of your life, a lot happens in halls and after that not so much, unless you work for Halls cough drops or something. Are the Halls of medicine even a thing anymore?
Back to our story.
“OK,” I said, and that is how that great romance was born. And borne. The entire relationship consisted of us walking around together during the free period after lunch. There were a few awkward phone calls, where my biggest fear was silence, so I think I may have done my nervous talking thing.
I recall this torrid romance took place over Valentine’s Day, and I was careful to pick out a card that said I like you but not You are my great love. The next day, during the exciting and unusual ritual of walking around outside after lunch, he received said card and responded with, “Oh, man, I got you roses but I left them in my mom’s car when she dropped me off.”
The fact that he did not present me with them the next day leaves me wondering if in fact that was true. Signs point to no.
I’ve no idea how it all ended but it lasted only a few weeks. I was a swinging single again once it was warm, which because it was Michigan means it must have been around May. My friend Seth Polisky (once again, friends in real life are going to tell me I should disguise names for a living) introduced me to her boyfriend’s friend. Both boys went to another school, in a smaller town called Bridgeport, and we hoity-toity Saginaw kids looked down on Bridgeport kids, because they didn’t live in a bustling metropolis such as Saginaw, as we did. But despite this, sometimes it was exciting to branch out and get some strange from other area boys. Boys you hadn’t dissected a worm with.
So the setup was, you know, set up. We received them in Seth’s basement, the official receiving area of teenagers across Michigan. Everyone in Michigan has a basement and most everyone has “finished” the basement, meaning it has become carpeted and couched and often a wet bar is involved. It’s nice that your parents give you a comfy spot to get felt up for the first time.
Anyway, Seth’s boyfriend came down first. He was a total Aryan youth-looking dude. White-blond hair, deep-blue eyes. Cheekbones. Seth was very pretty, despite being named Seth, which she wasn’t, so this all made sense that her boyfriend was traditionally handsome, like a mannequin or any of Mary Richards’ dates.
I had this … hair, so where Seth was a 9, I was lucky if I was encroaching a bushy-haired 7. I feared what sort of circus freak she’d fix me up with.
“Come on down, Sevin,” she said to what was to become my next boyfriend, and at this point I’m so delighted with my name disguises that Ima award myself some kind of srize.
Instead of merely walking down the stairs, however, my soon-to-be boyfriend pretended to fall down the stairs for his big entrance. It was hilarious and had already sealed the deal for me, but later in the evening when Seth and her boyfriend Sim were making out, leaving Sevin and me desperately trying to keep conversation alive, Sevin reached for the pack of cards lying on the table.
People are forever playing cards in Michigan. Here all the women play bridge, but in Michigan everyone was always playing Euchre, a game I never learned, and I feel like I should not even be an honorary Michigander. I tried to learn but also I was always drunk whenever I tried to learn and is there anything harder than trying to learn a card game, anyway?
“OK, see, this here is your left bauer.”
Anyway, Sevin began scratching his arm. “Oh, no, not again. I’ve had this problem that comes and goes, I — ” he scratched his arm furiously. “I have the 7 of Clubs itch.” And out fell the 7 of Clubs he’d shoved up his sleeve.
We dated for four months, which in 9th-grade time is like 50 years.
Careful readers will note the time I typed you excerpts from my hard-hitting and thoughtful high school diary, where on the day before my first day of 10th grade I wrote, “If Kevin dumps me, I will die” and then I got to school the next day, saw all the boys there, came home and dumped him. Also, careful readers may note his carefully disguised name is now blown.
I’m telling you all this and did not mean to get into so much detail but you know how I am, because then in December I fell in love for the first time, with Giovanni Leftwich, my high school boyfriend I’ve told you about 97 times.
And the reason I’m telling you all this is because this weekend it dawned on me:
That time from Saul Dietzel to Giovanni Leftwich was 10 months. That’s all it was! Ten months! It felt like three years, at least. I’ve practically been on this lockdown for 10 months! I started in February, before the word plague was even a thought you had. Ten months is nothing! It’s a blip!
Why is that? Why does time move so slowly when you’re young and so fast when you’re old? I mean really, why? I’m not just making conversation because Seth and the Aryan are making out in the finished basement. Really. Why? It’s so weird.
And that sums up my thoughts on that matter. There must be some sort of logical explanation, and as we all know, I live and die by logic.
I leave you with an exciting visual. Last Sunday I took a walk on this trail and it was pleasant so I decided to take the same walk yesterday. I noted that the leaves were just starting to change color and it was noticeable from last week to this, so here’s what I decided.
I’ve decided I’ll go back to my trail every week and take a photo of this same spot so we can watch the fall progression. Exciting, right?! I realize the best part of life is the thinner slice and dear June stop saying that but also that there aren’t many hopey changey leaves showing in THIS shot but look:
Here’s another foe toe I took yesterday and you can see leaves are JUST STARTING to change. I wasn’t making it up.
Of course, there’s the part where we assume I’m going to be able to find that spot on the trail again, which is a bunch of anonymous trees on a long path, but whatever. I should have left some sort of Hansel and Gretel trail. I’m sorry. Some sort of Sansel and Sretel trail.
I guess I can always return to this water and take a picture, or rather a foe toe and dear June STOP, right there. That at least will be easy enough to find.
I have to go. I have to go to work and then next thing you know 10 months will have passed and I guarantee you there won’t be three boyfriends who will have come and gone in that time like there were in much-faster 1980.