28 April, 2010

Love, Pogs and Rollerblades

I turned this in for an english assignment in college. Just stumbled across it in my email.
Figured I'd pull it out of the archives and post it up for the world to see. I don't think I've posted this previously...at least I hope not. 

Love is a fickle fruit. It appears delicious and beautiful on the outside, but often is a terrible let down once tasted. Fortunately for me, I always feared the taste of fruit, so love was a fleeting emotion all through my early life. But make no mistake, I was no stranger to love. I'd lie awake at night listening to the sweet melodies and love laden lyrics of The Cranberries (incidentally a band named for fruit), dreaming of my eternal union with Betty Sue.
The lyrics spoke to me and with every line, I could see Betty and I in some romantic playground setting.
It was 4th grade and I was madly in love.

Betty was the girl and I was the husky, funny kid who sucked at sports. I'd nestle down on the grass in my MC Hammer style pants and play pogs while the other children frolicked. I'd see her everyday out on the courts, playing with the cool kids. The funny kids. The kids that when you grew up, you either loved or hated. For now though, I was just jealous of the time they got to spend with her.

One day the daydream collapsed. I was standing under The Big Slide, basking in it's sun-cast shadow when Jenny Greenland and two other girls walked up to me. This was odd because although I wasn't necessarily attracted to Jenny, she was on my "cute girls" list. More importantly, she was the right hand girl of Betty Sue and this is what took the wind right out of my lungs.

"Do you like Betty," she asked matter-of-factly with no introduction.
I panicked. I threw up a little in the back of my throat and did the only thing a sane boy, madly in love with the hottest girl in school could do; I lied.
"No," I said quickly; the sound of a desert-dry mouth gagging me a bit as it stumbled out.
"Really?" Apparently they had heard otherwise and were somehow extremely brave to just waltz over and ask me.
"Absolutely not," I retorted with a hint of forced disgust.

And with that, answer in hand, they walked away. Once my heart started beating again, it sank to my loins and broke just a bit. The combination of a broken, sinking heart made me feel like I'd been hit in the groin by a wayward four-square ball. I just stood there in the shade contemplating what I had just executed. For it was indeed an execution. A decapitation of love, of opportunity and chance.

The very next year, Peter Buttcheese moved into the school boundaries from California. Word was his family had sold their house to Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan or something before moving to Utah. He was blond and had the coolest Rollerblade MacroBlades I'd ever seen. They were expensive. It was no surprise that within a short period, he and Betty were "going out." I never looked at love the same again.

I considered going gay, but I was way too young to even know what that really was. So I just sulked around and my humor grew bitter and sarcastic. The tone a man carries when he'd lost everything he had to live for.
Somehow I moved on, but still to this day, I look back at that sub-slide encounter with Jenny Greenland with the slightest stench of sadness and wonder what really could have been.