Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How I met my Woobie

I had intended to play along with the "How I Met My Honey" carnival over at Ramblings by Reba, but as I've said, life had other plans. Here's my story, just cuz I think it makes a good read.

It was June 1992.

I was fourteen and it was the first day of summer vacation.

I had absolutely no plans other than to sleep late, so I was grumpy when my brother Al woke me around nine.

"Phone's for you," he said, hitting my shoulder harder than he needed to.

"Tell whoever it is to call back later," I mumbled into my pillow, covers drawn tight over my head.

Instead, he left the cordless handset near my head, where I could hear my friend Lauren on the other end. I slowly reached out and pulled the phone under the covers.

The story was simple - some boys had invited her to play volleyball at the park in an hour and didn't want to go alone.

"Please? I promise it'll be fun!"

I rolled my eyes and breathed a "Fine."

An hour didn't give me much time. At that point in my life I didn't entertain thoughts so crazy as to ask for and expect to receive a ride anywhere. My parents were divorced and my mom was often gone. I decided to dress and leave without showering so I would have enough time to walk to the park and get out of the house before my brother, otherwise I'd be the one stuck with the younger boys all day.

I got to the park first. I sat on a picnic table near the volleyball courts trying to look cool, when a tall, lanky boy who looked vaguely familiar sauntered over.

"Uh, hey. You Colleen?"

"Mmm hmm."

"I'm Joe," he said. "Lauren told me you were coming along, too."

I nodded. It was awkward. We both stood there, not quite able to make small talk. He had greasy black hair and a reputation in middle school for being a metal head and a weirdo. I wasn't to thrilled with the prospect of my day at the moment.

A short time later two other boys appeared, walking beside their bikes. They introduced themselves as Tony and Jason. More introductions were made, and I felt more awkward. At long last, Lauren appeared, her Mom pulling up in her minivan as she jumped out.

We played a few games of volleyball. I've always been athletic, but none of the other kids seemed to be. It was mostly jumping at the ball and spastically trying to hit it super hard. We laughed anyway and had a pretty good time.

After the park, Jason invited us to his house nearby to hang out. I remember he'd spent his paper route money on a case of Mountain Dew and I think we grilled some hot dogs. I don't really remember. I remember the soda, thinking it was cool that he, like me, paid for things like that himself.

I remember playing basketball in his driveway, hearing a new song on the radio - Under the Bridge by the Chili Peppers. I remember his Mom coming home - she was hugely pregnant, and was swearing about it being a false alarm. Classy.

We spent the rest of the day eating at Taco Bell and walking Lauren home. The three boys had bikes, but we girls didn't. Lauren seemed to like Joe, so she rode with him. Tony jumped up.

"Don't worry, you can ride on my handle bars."

I was slightly horrified, thinking this guy would be inches from me when I hadn't showered and it was hot. And he'd be looking directly at my backside. Oh, and I had my period. Did I mention that gem?

Somehow that's just what I did. And Lauren lived nowhere near where we were. The sun had gone down already by the time we were heading home, and that bar had dug a groove in my ass. The boys insisted we could go to Tony's house and his Mom would drive the rest of us home.

By this point, I had really started to like Tony. He hadn't made any of the juvenile comments I'd come to expect from middle school boys, and I started to wonder if I'd made the transition to high school - relationships and all - without realizing it. He actually talked to me and we had normal conversations - about stuff and everything. He was cute, too. Tall with sandy brown hair and brown eyes.

As promised, his Mom took the rest of us kids home, and I waved good-bye as I climbed out of her minivan in front of my house. My Mom was just getting home for the day, too.

I had been so nervous just before climbing out of that van - I couldn't imagine offering some guy my phone number. That would be crazy. I mean, how did I know he even wanted it?

I literally spent the rest of that summer indoors, taking care of my younger brothers. I thought about that day often, wishing I would have had the guts to attempt to get together with them at least one other time. It had been a great day.

At the end of that summer I got together with a different friend, Angie. She had a thing for this boy, and one day we walked to his house. It was the Jason I had met earlier that summer. Only this time he wasn't nice to me. He was mean. He told me I couldn't sit on his couch. I mean, what the hell? We left shortly thereafter.

A few weeks later, practice for swim team started. Girls' swim and boys' football were the only two sports that started practicing so early in the season. I used to see him, that snotty boy. He was tall and had dark - almost black - hair. He'd be in his football uniform, all sweaty, helmet under his arm. I'd sneer in his general direction.

That's why I thought he was setting me up for some sort of prank when he called me over one day and asked if I wanted to go skating with him. I was cautious, but he'd said some other people I knew would be there. I agreed to go and for three weeks, we "dated". He would pay for me to go rollerskating, and sometimes out for fast food, and we'd hold hands in the car as we got a ride home from wherever it was we had been. Or he'd walk me home. Once he bought me ice cream. We never even kissed.

He was the only guy who ever broke my heart. When he dumped me, he told me that I was the kind of girl a guy married, not dated. His friend also liked me and he hadn't wanted to fight with his friend. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but I thought he was full of crap.

So, in a nutshell, that's how I met my Woobie. He dumped me and broke my little fourteen-year-old heart.

How did we get from summer bike rides and rollerskating to walking down the isle? Well, this story's gone on long enough. You'll have to come back for my Flashback Fridays to get the rest of the story! (You can read more of my flashbacks here.) Oh, yeah, and I'll eventually get to telling you why I call him "Woobie", too.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Yay! I'm so glad you posted this. And it WAS a good read.

It's neat to see how different people have gone about telling their story. :)