Something happens for me in December. It’s like the weight of the holidays around us, it extends our patience for people and their mistakes. I honk less, and smile more, and feel like it’s okay to ask for a hug. Because I know everyone else must be feeling the same way and its safe to let my guard down. They usually hug me back. Sometimes they push me away. But I feel like we play it cool a little less, and show our cards a little easier.
I’ve always had compulsive honesty, regardless of the repercussions. But the older I get, the more I see people telling me to lie and cover things up. And it finds its way into my head. No girlfriend encourages you to tell someone you love them, when they know they might not love you back. But the truth sits in me like a disease and I don’t know how to live with it by myself. I have to let it out! I have to make you live with it too. I go against what my friends tell me because they only know how to protect me from the world. They are on the side of keeping my insides safe, and I’m on the side of making the truth less scary.
When I was in ninth grade I fell in love with a senior named Christian. The moment I met him I was a mess. Life kind of had a way of forcing me to be honest when it gave me involuntary blushing anytime I’m nervous or embarrassed. I made it no secret that I loved him. I told anyone who would listen and it eventually got back to him. He was mildly interested and mostly shy about it. We would be at the same party and someone would make a joke, “I’m sure Erin would help you to your car, Christian”. Then everyone would laugh and I wouldn’t deny a thing. I just didn’t know how to fake it, and I had this feeling that he wasn’t going to love me back, so why not just be honest.
One time he took me home from a party and he asked to come inside. I snuck him around the back of my house and we made out in my doorway. He tried to take it over to the bed, but I stopped him. I told him that he needed to be careful with me. He got the message and apparently not ready or willing to be careful, he left.
We saw each other at school and usually just avoided any real exchanges. I tried to put myself in his path whenever possible. I was always aware of where he was. One night when we were at the same party, he approached me and said he didn’t want to be there anymore and wanted to know if he could come over to my house and watch a movie. I almost choked on my Zima. I didn’t know how to say yes or get in his car fast enough. I needed to call my mom and tell her I would be having a friend over. My mom was the most relaxed of all my friend’s moms. I was a good kid, I didn’t lie or get into trouble, so there were few things I wasn’t allowed to do. I always asked permission just to let her know I respected her as the parent, but I didn’t really even need to be asking. She did however know about my obsession with Christian and I didn’t want her to act shocked when she saw him and make it clear I had talked about him.
She answered the phone calmly and I asked her if I could have a friend over to watch a movie. Quickly she says, “Not tonight Erin. I’m sorry.” I was so shocked I thought I hadn’t heard her right. “What do you mean? It’s a Saturday night. I don’t understand.” She breathed out frustrated, “Erin I’m sorry, I really don’t want anyone here right now. The answer is no. No one can come here tonight.” “But, it’s Christian.” “I’m sure there will be another time he can come over.” I felt like my world had just fallen apart. I had never heard my mom so certain about something and she didn’t even have a reason. I told Christian he wasn’t allowed to come over. He seemed disappointed and then he left by himself. I decided I would never talk to my mom again after I let her know how epically she had ruined my life.
Christian never tried to come over again, he never tried to take me on a date, he never tried to kiss me, he never paid me any more attention than anyone else. He was never unkind, he was just indifferent.
On the night of the last day of school, there was an end of the year party. Christian would be there and then leaving the next day to the city where he would be going to college. I knew it would be the last time I saw him. He showed up as I had hoped. He gave everyone sincere goodbye’s. As he was making his way out the door I stopped him. I handed him a letter. He looked at it thoughtfully, smiled at me, put it in his pocket, and left. I had read the letter out loud to my best friend who told me I should never under ANY circumstances give him this letter. Stretched out over three long hand written pages, it confessed my sincere love for him. I didn’t ask for him to call me, or come see me, or love me back, just to believe that what I felt for him was real. And I knew it wouldn’t change how he felt for me. But I genuinely thought he deserved to know that someone out there thought he was the most spectacular person alive and know the impact he made on me. I loved him so much that I didn’t even care that he didn’t love me back. I was just so excited to feel like that for someone and I knew one day I would have the chance to share it with someone properly. I was never embarrassed of how I felt about him. I didn’t care if people made fun of me for it. I found something new, and would never be the same. It wasn’t about the outcome.
Still haven’t been able to find Christian on Facebook. It’s possible he’s blocked me.