August 17, 2012

In which my 17-year-old self gains some ground

Those of you who have stuck with me for a while might remember this story I posted last year. That particular teenage memory remains one of my very favorite, most romantic memories of my angst-ridden teen years.  I've had lots (and LOTS) of kisses since that night, but that one was so special and remains firmly planted in my brain.

That boy happened to be my very first broken heart as well, but that's not the part I dwell on.  I see him around town, still.  It's a small town.  Both of us left for a while and came back, too, so sometimes I find it remarkable that he's still here and that we cross paths even as frequently as we do (possibly a few times a year).

Every time I see him, I can't help but wonder if he thinks of that same moment we shared, or if he immediately chooses to focus upon my reaction to his sudden disinterest that completely blindsided me and, I'm sorry to say, turned me into a bit of an emotional, clingy type for a while.  It'd be fair if that's what he recalled.  But I'd like to think that, since we've both hopefully matured a bit, he remembers as fondly as I do that darkened living room and the music of Louis Armstrong as we kissed and the world stood still for a moment.

Wow, it's been 13 years since that night.

I had an encounter with this person last weekend.  My BFF-From-Way-Back came into town to celebrate her 30th birthday with me, since I wasn't able to make the drive to Memphis for her actual birthdate the weekend before.  We hit up a lot of our favorite spots together, including the square of our cute little hipster town.  We had dinner at a new-ish place, and he was our server.  It was a very pleasant experience, as it usually is.

When he brought me the check, I thanked him by name and he told us to have a great night.  As I was signing the credit card receipt, I felt Shelly's eyes boring into my head.  "What??" I asked her.  "That was HIM?" She was incredulous.  She probably hasn't seen him since all of the Teenage Drama went down 13 years ago, and I will say that he definitely fits into the "dirty hippie" type that Denton seems to have embraced in recent years.  He looks very different from that 18-year-old boy we knew, of course, but I guess that, since I've seen him sporadically over the years, he just him, to me.  Older.  Scruffier.  Rounder.  But still him.

Shelly craned her neck around me to give him another long look.  Then she looked at me and said, "Well.  Clearly you win this one." I waved her off and made some comment about it not being a competition, that people get older, that I'm just glad we're friendly.

But I'll be damned if I didn't walk out of that restaurant with my head held a bit higher and a bit more of a bounce in my step. It's not a competition, of course.

But the absolutely heartbroken 17-year-old girl inside of me, who couldn't understand why the strong, dark-skinned and light-eyed boy who made her weak in the knees no longer wanted her smiled and practically danced with glee out the front door.

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