FIRST FLINGS FIRST
"Our pairing was odd. No one understood why or how I had his nose so far open. It took a lot of people at our school a while to adjust to our being together because he was cute and: popular. I was cute but: “weird” and “different.” But let him tell it, that was why he liked me so much.
Some days I would wear normal clothes like skirts, slacks and such, but other times, I wore my pink Chuck Taylors with most of my jeans or shirts that I would splatter acrylic paint all over. I attended a creative arts school, so it was not out of the ordinary to dress like that. Some of us were into tightening our jeans with a gazillion (visible) safety pins on the outside of the left and right legs of our jeans-for style. It was nothing for me to wear a select number of jeans [that I had personally designed] by tying knots in them, then bleaching them so they would look airbrushed. I would then wash and wear them-leaving some pairs like that-but others; I would dip into a tub of clothing dye and let them hang dry for a couple days. After the bleaching process, if I applied yellow clothing dye-the jeans would look lime green, yellow and dark green. If I applied red dye after the bleaching process, they’d look pink and purple. After the dye job, I would wash them, then put them in the dryer. I would have myself an awesome looking pair of jeans that looked couture and to die for. They looked stylish, hot and store-bought, but you couldn’t get jeans that looked like this from any the mall. Oh no. I never told my secret about how to do my jeans like that and I held on to my secret like the Colonel holds on to his secret recipe for the Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The other half of the school kids stayed on top of the latest designer fashions from head to toe. Santana was one of them. He hated the way I dressed. And what he could not buy me with his little work checks, he would steal for me: all those latest fashions (shoes included).
Santana wrote letters to me every day and would glow at the sight of me. He had to wait a while to officially court me by permission though, because my mother had a rule: no makeup and no boys until I was sixteen. But a year earlier, I broke both of her rules and eventually lost my virginity to Santana. I felt that my heart was safe with him and he would stay for the long haul, especially since he too, was a virgin. He was not quite a bad-boy but he wasn’t lame either.
We met in the school library. I was standing high on a ladder-trying to locate a book that I wanted to read. He walked into the door looking from left to right, as if he was looking for someone. When our eyes met, I turned away really fast. He walked over to me and sat the table beneath the ladder I was standing on. I looked down at him and asked:
“Why are you standing down there under me like that, and why are you looking up at me?”
“It’s a free country I can look at what I want to look at. I’m looking at you-I always like to look at you,” he said.
I was confused because I never thought of him that way, and for that minute, my brain tried hard to scan any recollection where he looked at me for any length of time. I was so scared and didn’t understand how to handle this because it was so storybook-like and boy-meets-girl-normal. Nothing in my life that I had experienced thus far was of this kind normal. I was so nervous standing there. I felt like about as awkward and out of place as Sissy Spacek in “Carrie.”
Ms. You Know Who branded him the nickname: “light-bulb head boy.” She knew him because he took her class at the last part of the day for five days per week. She refused to call him by his real name when discussing him with me.
He was charming, with a gorgeous smile, perfect teeth, carved, chiseled lips and cheek-bones, and what we would call “girl eyes”-because he had long eyelashes. He was a dead ringer for Phillip Michael Thomas in “Sparkle.” He had deep-wavy and curly hair, his pretty grey-green eyes drooped in the far corners. His eyelashes made it look like he wore eyeliner. When he would smile, his right eye was lazy and his small dimples looked like little muscles in his face. To top it all off, he had a hairy chest (that was a rare find in a boy his age). His having chest hair was always the whispers and talk of the school. He dressed impeccably, with the latest clothes and always carried his backpack neatly across his back with both straps on. Everyone else wore theirs with one strap hanging but he didn’t.
“Come down off that ladder so that I can talk to you-please! Please!” he pleaded.
Feeling shy and embarrassed-shaking and ready to fall off the ladder, I ignored him.
“Please talk to me-please!” he begged-this time with his hands folded; making me blush as I peeked down at him from behind a book in my hand.
Very slowly, I stepped down to him. Each step of the way that I was closer to him, my heart raced with the speed of a thousand Derby racehorses. He was tall, and when I got down to his level, he was looking down at me. Through my bangs, I looked up at him and he bluntly asked, in a tone that was too loud for the library atmosphere:
“WHYYYYYY are you so weird, man?”
“What do you mean: weird?” I asked, sarcastically.
“You dress weird. You act weird. What are you scared of?” he asked.
I was so embarrassed but I couldn’t let him get away with talking to me this way, so I responded:
“I’m not scared of nothing. I beg your pardon,” I said-trying to sound firm and menacing.
He had no idea this was my first normal, real-life, age-appropriate: “boy-meets girl” experience, and it was all so foreign to me.
“You dress kind of like-not goth-but like a rockstar or something, sometimes,” he said-seriously.
I was standing there in a pair of regular designer jeans (about the only clothing item of I had on that I was sure he could understand and agree with) a wrist filled with black plastic and silver bangles, and one of my acrylic-paint sprinkled specialties for a shirt, (further proving his point). I really didn’t know how to take what he said without feeling insulted. I felt called to the carpet with the evidence on, from head down to my pink Converse and light-blue shoe-stringed toe. I scolded him with my eyes. He smiled and interrupted me before I could speak:
“You do! But I like it. I especially like your pink high top Converse Chuck Taylors-your light-blue shoestrings and all. That’s pretty fresh,” he said, looking down at my feet and shaking his head up and down with approval.
He then looked down into my face and removed my bangs from my eyes and spoke softly:
“I like your red hair and skin,” he said.
I smiled, scared to say anything back-not even: “Thank you.”
He laughed and said:
“You are soooo pretty but you are soooo weird, man. Something about you…is different. I aint gon’ lie.”
I frowned while biting my bottom lip-not knowing how to respond to that, so I defended:
“If I’m so weird then why are you here?”
“I watch you and I…I…always wanted to say something to you, but you’re always with your friends. So, I watched come in here, alone and I…waited a few minutes then followed you here,” he explained.
“That’s weird,” I jabbed.
“May I have your phone number Angie?” he asked-seriously.
I stood there-feeling shy already-like Sissy Spacek in the movie classic: “Carrie.” Having just been branded a firm “weird” by this cute boy and now having this same cute boy stand in front of me asking for my number was too much to bear. Like in “Carrie,” I constantly looked up above me-waiting on the pail of pig’s blood to fall on my head. The thoughts of Carrie’s crazy mother were replaced by my mother going crazy and having a fit at the sound of a boy on the other end of my phone-calling my house before age sixteen. “Age sixteen” was the next level of freedom and access to accessories threshold that my mother [and dead father] always reiterated. It annoyed me since I could remember.
I couldn’t say no to Santana. I was too embarrassed to say no. So instead, I took a deep breath and gave him the phone number with complete confidence, and in hopes that when he calls, my mom would be able to see him through the phone then decide that he was as charming and cute to her as he was to me-standing right there in front of my face.
Later that night and going forward; day by day, we got a chance to talk on the phone for a while without interruption or incident. I would be guarding the phone during the evening hours so that I would be the only one answering it, because he refused to sneak around with me. He had already warned me in many-a-jokes: “If your mother ever answers the phone, I am going to be a gentleman and introduce myself. Then I’m going to tell her that I like her daughter a lot and she’s being selfish!” Though he would joke about it, I could never argue with him about it-it wasn’t even up or discussion. He was heaven-bent on making sure nothing was going to come between this chance we had. He liked me as much as I liked [and never entertained the thought of dating] him. Alone and to myself (and later into the courtship) sometimes in his arms; I would cry at the fact that I was finally in a normal situation with a normal, age-appropriate boy whom I liked too. The fact that I thought he never even looked at me, because he was popular and all the girls liked him so much, was nothing less than storybook special to me. And as it turned out-I had been a twinkle in his eye for a long time, without him being so much as a passing thought in my mind.
Santana made me feel “special” and “different” in the right way-opposite how I was so used to hearing that I was special and different: separate and unlike my average peer. But his kind of “special” and “different,” made me feel included and accepted because I was “special” and “different” as I was.
We decided that we liked each other too much, to not go steady. I was still trying to figure out why he wanted to go steady with me, rather than all of the other girls who liked him who were cute and popular not “weird” “different.” He would insist that he liked my being “different” and “weird,” because he also thought I was so pretty but “pure” without even learning that I was still a virgin. After a while, the fact that he called me weird didn’t bother me anymore because he would stare at me and hold me like he absolutely adored me. When he would remove my bangs to look into my eyes, I would see stars in his eyes. Before he would kiss me, he would bite his bottom lip and hold my cheeks like he was afraid I would leave and never come back.
I was so happy. I knew that this boy really liked me. For the first time in my life with another person; I felt normal and free of the covert and secret.
We made a pact that every school day, we would write a letter, note or on a card of some kind, for one another-so that we would stay close. We both liked that. I did not tell any of my friends that he liked me because a tiny part of me was still not trusting of all this undivided attention that he was paying to me. He either kissed or flirted with all the girls, and all the girls flirted with and liked him-entire cliques of girls did. I wondered “why stop here?” [with me]. Because the fact still remained, I did not fit into his world.
My drug of choice was: r&b, pop, lite-rock, proper English, and creativity.
His drug of choice was: rap, broken English and slang, and conformity.
I was also afraid to reveal our liking for each other to my own friends and peers because each and every one of them either: liked him too, talked to him on the phone, or kissed him before. Actually, pretty much all of the girls in the school fit into one of the three categories.
Fortunately, for me-he stopped-here: (with me).
He was eager to prove himself different than my perception of him and to show me how different I was to him-than anybody ever was.
Finally it happened. He was not in the spot where we would normally meet. Instead, he came in front of my homeroom, then kissed and hugged me while everybody was around: my friends (who now, were all officially old news to him-mere girls in passing) and his friends (who would tease him about being two years older than me. They would call him “Chester child molester”).
I got my letter, my kiss, my security, my confirmation that we were official and that no one else mattered but me. Weeks into this, he quickly learned my “way.” He was so familiar with my uncanny ability to function covertly, that he could not take it anymore. All my life-that was what I was used to (as being a “normal” thing), so he couldn’t understand it anymore than I had the ability to communicate and explain it to him. It was just a part of who I was.
He didn’t care who knew. If anyone wanted a birds-eye view into our relationship and the goings on in it (the good, the bad, the ups, the downs, the virginity, the loss of it, the ins, the outs and the over’s); all they would have had to do was read his letters written to me-word for word. If someone would have gotten a hold of all his letters that he wrote to me-they would have been singing our life from his words. Because each and every letter told everything about me, about him, and about us-apart, or together:
"To Angie, My Big Baby.
What’s up? Nothing much here. Just got my math test back, another F. But anyway, I found your letter thought provoking and somewhat funny. But did you have to use such big words? (smile) Alright, so I get a little upset when I can’t come over. I can’t get in touch with you over the phone. It’s just that I want to spend as much time as possible with you because I feel rather empty or lonely. (yes! Gigolos get lonely too) smile. (sike) but I think you understand.
Being called a Chester doesn’t bother me at all just as long as I have some very special, sweet, lovable person whom I love and they love me back. When we first started talking (or whatever) I knew I would be
pressured for being involved with a younger girl, but don’t worry, no phase on my part. To be honest, I know I really love you but for some reason, when around your friends I sometimes feel scared to even
come over to you to say hi. But when we are alone I feel just fine. About the making love business. I would never tell anyone about me and your sexual encounters (if any) because I put myself in your shoes
I wouldn’t feel good if my business was told to everyone. I would never do anything to hurt you or our relationship in any way.
Open up a little more? Who me? I have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know how to open up. Really I do, but I would rather not until I know for this (me and you) is what I really want. I mean I know
for sure I want you but as you know, times change and people change and I would hate to be caught up in the middle one of those changes.
But that’s what love is all about, so I promise you that I will work on it.(Dam! I can’t write, but I’m trying just for you) two more minutes until the bell rings I’m ‘bout to go. I’ll get back and I LOVE YOU.”
Still looking up for the pig’s blood, I lowered my head quickly and frowned with an embarrassing smile on my face, so I covered it. This was too much like a popular: “Boy-meets-Girl. Boy-falls-in-love-with-Girl. Boy-tells-the-world. Shows-the-world” fantasy. This kind of wish or hope never even made it in the lines of my red diary. So it took me by surprise about as much as it swept me off my feet, because outside of my mom not knowing just yet; everything was at a normal pace with normal happenings: no rushing, no reasons to hide. This was all much too normal for me."
Between the Lines: Letters from a Boy to a Girl When He’s in Love (Taken from the pages of “Angie Situation (INNOCENCE)” Book One of 3 in the Angie Situation trilogy)
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