A friend of mine once told me that if I want to be a writer, I should write every day. By “friend,” I could be referring to a fellow writer I met online like Max or Shepard, both of whom I have not heard from in quite some time. Or I could mean somebody I have met in person and have gotten to know better.
One such case is my friend Ben. He once told me that I should keep writing in case of the possibility that I should ever forget how to write. This reminds me of how my mother would nag me about practicing the piano. However, both Ben and my mother are right. Last night, at the piano, it was as if the piece of my heart that loved to play had left me. I could still play scales and sightread music, but there was something that was simply not there.
In college, at least I had the excuse of class, homework, my job in the cafeteria, and an active social life with a few extracurriculars as excuses for not practicing. But back home, I have no such excuse. In fact, it seems as if I chose a zombie-like lifestyle. Mostly I sleep, watch television and mindlessly surf the internet. I suppose that this is one of my ways of escaping reality. The other method I use to combat the monotonous strain of college life, outside of using even more monotony at home, is a bit less healthy. That is, if living a sedentary life is healthy in the first place.
Contrary to popular belief, not all college students go out and get plastered every night. I’m not really one for drinking among large groups of people with music blaring obnoxiously in the background. Instead, I indulge myself in the high risk world of online dating. In high school, I lightly dabbled in this field due to boredom and mostly, the fact that guys at my school didn’t seem very attracted to me.
However, my experimentations were not without their own amount of heartbreak. One guy, Brian, told me on the night I was going to take him to a dance, that he was still in love with a girl he had met in Colorado. He was my first kiss.
I ended up going much further with his friend Mario. One night, on the summer equinox, he and I fooled around in the backseat of my car. That was my first attempt at giving hand and blow jobs. I went home around 2:00 a.m. to find that my father had called the police, as well as a friend of mine who I had spent the earlier part of the evening with. Instead of completely blowing my alibi, I ended up making up another one about going off with another group of friends and hanging out at Steak ‘n’ Shake.
By the summer of junior year, I had become extremely skilled at creating nearly watertight alibis. Either that, or my parents were far too naive or so far in denial that they could not acknowledge the truth.
One such outing lasted the entire day. First, I turned in a job application and then drove to the mall to meet Steve. He was 19 and about to leave for basic training. I was naive enough to believe that he loved me. In all truth, he was probably looking for one last fling before leaving. However, we didn’t have sex, mainly because of the fact he was way too big to attempt having sex with a virgin. While Steve and I were otherwise fooling around in a hotel room, my parents were under the belief that I was doing volunteer work with a friend from school.
Despite never hearing from Steve again outside of a letter with no return address and an awkward attempt of reaching me over Instant Messenger (after which, I blocked him), I was not entirely heartbroken from it. I actually moved on with barely the blink of an eye.
Unfortunately, the guy who came after that hurt me in a way that I didn’t believe possible from him. Things had been so wonderful up until the point he had cut off all communications with me.
His name was Dan. He was in four out of my seven classes senior year. This, along with a mutual obsession with anime, was all we had in common. He was on varsity soccer with his twin brother Mike (they did everything, with the exception of me, together). I was on scholastic bowl. He was on the swim team. I wrote for the newspaper and was appointed as co-editor with my friend Liz that year. He played tennis. I played oboe (and French horn my sophomore year) in concert band along with flute and trumpet for marching and pep band. It was like something out of a pathetically contrived pop song.
It started when I chose the swim team assignment for newspaper. I took a few pictures, quoted the coach and some players and left. Even now, I can’t look out the car window on Ash street without thinking of all the times I drove through the snow to get a story, or just to see Dan swim meet.
Then I started talking to Dan in our Psychology class since we were learning nothing there anyway. One day, I baked brownies for him and his brother. Dan baked me brownies in return, but I politely declined. My friends teased me often saying “You should have taken the brownies.”
The friendship between Dan and me took an awkward turn when we got each other gifts before Christmas break. Even now, I can’t hear “Rest in Pieces” by Saliva without sighing heavily. I still haven’t eaten a Hershey’s kiss since then.
Then, on Valentine’s day, things completely changed. He gave me a bouquet of flowers in front of our English class. I still keep the small pink petals dried, in a heart-shaped box I got for Christmas. Every now and then, I open the lid, feel the rough dryness of the petals and inhale their fragrance.
Our first date was seeing the movie “Chicago.” Since I was used to going fast on the first date, we ended up making out in my car. An attempt at giving him a hand job failed miserably when another car drove by in the parking lot. Our second date was seeing our high school production of “Kiss Me Kate” where he gave me a yellow rose. Needless to say, I kept the petals in the same box with the pink rose petals. We made out in the parking lot while leaning against my car. Then some people walked out and almost caught us.
It felt so strange asking him “am I going too fast?” since I knew that as a guy, he wouldn’t care. It was more as if I was asking myself if I was just forcing things along instead of letting it all fall in place as it should have.