Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fraught via Facebook

Dear Shiddy:

In the early nineties, high school was finished with me. I'd accepted the role of borderline nerd, cool enough for ski club, say, or a part in the spring musical. But too bookish to be invited to any real parties or be part of anyone's inner circle. I was awkward enough that there were many playback moments where my vocabulary solidly alienated me from boys. It was generally a bummer. I've spent lots of time reliving it, can you tell?

(Note: I'm sure hundreds of thousands of Gen-Xers have already written their versions of teen angst and embarrassment, so feel free to roll your eyes, be bored, etc.)

Throughout high school I'd had more guy friends than girl friends but that never equaled any physical action for me. Despite the raging hormones I was dramatically virginal and whiny about it. Perfectly Catholic.

At some point in the spring of our senior year, Jude asked me for a ride home from play practice. For years I'd been somewhat close to him - an AV/TV nerd who had managed to remain uncool, almost strikingly handsome, and above the fray at the same time. As I stopped in front of his driveway, engine idling, he pounced on me. I think that is the word I mean to use. He lunged over the console, took my face in his hands, and commenced making out with me. Hardcore. (It is so hard to contain my laughter as I type this). It was a good twenty minutes, and by that I mean, it was really, really good. Liberating, fun, random... It was probably the hottest moment of my adolescence. Well, I still remember it quite vividly, so it must've been seminal, right? (snigger)

The next day at school it was like it never happened. We still chatted in the hallways, acknowledged one another's existence during Chemistry lab, smiled, but that was it. There was no repeat performance, and I never saw him again after graduating.

Last week, while trolling Facebook, I noticed that kid (now obv a grown man), had friended me. So I took a look at his profile, browsing the pictures and becoming increasingly confused. Even anxious, because this guy looked nothing like the kid I knew some 15 years ago. This could not have been the kid that I knew back then, right? Yeah, people put on some poundage, they lose hair maybe, they hunch. But 15 years isn't a lifetime, or half of one. This guy didn't even seem to have the same jawline.

But there he was, standing around drinking a beer in a snapshot containing at least three other people from our class whom I could clearly recognize. What happened?! Surely my memory could not have fucked me so hard, right?

I was DEVASTATED. Frantically, I retrieved my yearbook from the basement. I tried to remap his old visage to the new one. It was total cognitive dissonance. Half-laughing/half-ranting, I told my husband the entire story-- and his only suggestion was that possibly this guy contracted moonface. That did little to cheer me.

There are questions here, Shiddy. Did I totally imagine the whole thing? Was the episode magnified by my nutso, melodramatic teen fantasies? Did this guy really get in my pants? Didn't I really want him to? Doesn't my brother still harass me about it (after overhearing me on the phone weeks after the event)?

Sigh. I regret ever getting an account on Facebook. It destroys what small succor nostalgia brings.

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