Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"With solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chase...Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain"

With senior year over and a new job taking over much of my time, I found myself still going to the grocery store with my mother most Saturdays. My mother always made a list and we'd walk down the aisles together, sometimes in silence and sometimes arguing discussing what I was going to do with my life. The rule always was that if I lived at home, I either had to work or go to college. So for the time being, I worked. Going to the grocery store with my mom usually brought back bad memories from when I was younger and would ask for something and she would reply loudly, "We can't afford that." Of course she didn't notice everyone turn to see who the poor peasants were in the store next to them, but I sure did. To this day, I still can't stand hearing, "We can't afford that." (Although I find myself saying this phrase all too often now that I'm a teacher.)

One day, grocery shopping became much more fun. Reminiscent of high school days when I dollied myself up to look good for whatever crush I had at the time, I was now dollying myself up for the clerk at Von's. He was absolutely perfect. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect white teeth, I could go on and on. I looked forward to grocery shopping every Saturday and even popped in during the week when I overheard my mother saying she 'forgot' something at the store. I was in love and he didn't know I existed (common theme back then).

I grew tired of smiling and saying, "Hi," to this young gentleman and one day had the nerve to speak to him. I don't remember exactly how it all went down, but all of a sudden I found myself dating the clerk. Every phone call was amazing and every minute spent with him was Heaven. I think it was the first time I started making a mental list of songs that made me think of of a crush and the songs would play in my head everytime we went somewhere together, on repeat.

I mentioned that I loved watching planes, so one night he told me he had a surprise for me. He drove me out to a place near LAX and there we sat on a bench. While I began to ask him what on earth we were doing on that bench, the most incredible sound and rumbling overtook my surroundings. I was watching huge planes take off from the runway and fly over my head. It was truly awesome and it was the first time a boy had actually listened to what I said and remembered. I was stunned and for the first time in my life, I thought, really in love!

On Christmas Eve, he told me he was going up to the snow with some friends. "Great," I said, "Have fun!" Little did I know I had a surprise coming my way. Christmas morning, my parents woke me up and told me to look out at the porch. There, awaiting me with eyes, nose, branches for arms, and a smile, sat a beautifully made snowman out of REAL snow! Wow! This guy was 100 percent all gentleman and romance. I was smitten.

The days and nights went on, him always being respectful and wonderful, and I thinking that maybe this would actually go somewhere. Then one night when he dropped me off, he wanted to talk. UUURRRRRR! The sound of brakes hit my brain as soon as the words fell out of his mouth, "I really like you, but I'm not over my ex."

Great! This was just great! There's really no come back for that one and I knew in an instant that the fantasy building in my head had been just that, a fantasy. I cried for weeks. Not just boo hoo cries, but I mean, CRIED. And the best way to cry over someone is to play Mariah Carey's "I Can't Live Without You" over and over again. My family thought I was nuts and was ready to place me in a hospital. I didn't know how I could ever go on with my life and ropes all of a sudden looked more appealing to me. I played out what went wrong over and over in my head. I tried to think of a way to get him back, but all to no avail. The plain truth was exactly what he told me (and if it wasn't true, it was obvious it was over anyway), and there was no 'getting back together.' It was over and I had the biggest broken heart imaginable for an 18-year-old.

Needless to say, I stopped grocery shopping with my mother on Saturdays, and when I did have to go the store, I picked another one down the road to stop at. It took me forever to get over that adorable boy, I mean frog. Everytime I walk into that Von's to this day, I think back on how sweet he was. Whenever I see a snowman, I remember how thoughtful he was. Each time a plane rumbles over my head, I close my eyes and remember the feeling I felt sitting on that bench with him. The only bad thing is that it gave me a complex about ex's. I later found out that he DID, in fact, get back together with his ex and I had hoped that she appreciated him. I still think of him when I hear Mariah Carey's famous re-make of one of the most depressing songs to date.

Lesson Learned - We all have to go through a major heartbreak early on, usually with our first real love...but the memories don't all have to be bad.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"A Mind not to be changed by Place or Time, The Mind is its own Place, and in Itself can make a Heaven of Hell...A Hell of Heaven..."

I thought long and hard about how to reflect on the baby frogs I encountered during my senior year of high school. After a usual ridiculously obsessive period of time, I decided that none stood out enough to deserve their own blog entry, but together, they did make enough of an impact on me and mustn't be left out all together. So I compiled them into 'Senior Year Frogs', numbered in the order that they impacted me.

Obviously… it was Senior Year. I was panicking. Most of my friends had settled into relationships, many with boys at school, some with older boys in college, and there I was…the constant third wheel. I had a different crush every week…it’s what kept waking up early every morning to go to school interesting. Don’t get me wrong, school was not a horrible place to be, but it was only my second year in the school and I never felt noticed by my teachers. They didn’t know me by name like other students, they didn’t pull me aside to ask me what my plans for college were, and they never took an interest in my life.

There was the teacher who asked me, “Why are you in this class?” and promptly switched me to an AP English class, but other than that, all I really remembered was the droning, the coffee breath, and the screaming fit my Economics teacher threw when students said they were voting for Bill Clinton because he was ‘cute.’ That alone topped my list of best senior year memories.

When one crush faded, either because he wasn’t interested or I lost interest, another unfolded. While many of my friends were skipping school to go to the beach, I stayed on campus in fear I would get into trouble. The ever constant rule follower… I was on the Honor Roll, but I didn’t do much to stay there. If I would have applied myself, I probably could have gotten into an amazing college, but no one expected me to go to college and the SAT’s were not on my list of things to take. I was lucky enough to read something and remember it long enough to regurgitate it back onto the test, but when fellow students would talk about colleges, I would look around wishing I was with my friends at the beach.

Being stuck at school while my friends were off frolicking in the waves, forced me to find other things in class to entertain me. Enter frogs. Now some of these frogs were good friends. Take Senior Frog 1 – We sat next to each other all year in AP English and talked about everything. He was a hit on the baseball team and had big plans for his future. I would tell him about all of the crushes that I had and he would tell me about all of the homeruns he made. Then there was Senior Frog 2 – We sat next to each other all year in Architecture drawing and laughing at our teacher’s jokes (only teacher that kept me interested in going to class because he made me laugh). I told Senior Frog 2 also about all of my crushes and he told me about how hard he partied over the weekends. Senior Frog 3 had no idea I existed until the year AFTER we graduated although I crushed on him all year and Senior Frog 4 was the first frog to make me retract into a shell that I still call home when rejected. Senior Frog 5 helped me save face at prom and although there were a few others thrown in between, none of them warrant a place here.

Where to start…the year went on, mostly uneventfully until the final days leading up to prom. I believe this is where all of these frogs came together. After class one day, Senior Frog 1 pulled me aside and asked me to prom. Uhhhhh….oh no! I wanted to go with Senior Frog 3, what was I going to say? How do I get out of this? I looked down the hallway in both directions, looked back at him with a, “I’m sorry, but I’m hoping to go with someone else.” His face looked like I had just stabbed him in the chest. I quickly ran off to my next class, where Senior Frog 2 walked in and said, “Wow, you really did a number on him…” Oh my God! News traveled fast in the halls of high school. I felt horrible and I couldn’t look at Senior Frog 1 again for the remainder of the year.

I still had a major crush on Senior Frog 3, but he was so busy with Motorcross Racing on the weekends that he rarely was seen wasting time with girls during school hours. Nonetheless, I wanted to go to prom with him. I was determined to get up the nerve to ask this shy guy to the dance. I had told Senior Frog 2 about it for weeks…he was encouraging. So was a girl who hung out in our group. She was so encouraging that I found out that she asked him herself! WTF? Bitch! I hated her from then on, I couldn’t believe she listened to my dilemma of how to get up the nerve to ask him and then went behind my back and asked him herself. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.

My dream was shot down, but I jumped back on the horse with guns blaring. Senior Frog 2 asked me that same day if I would want to go with him to prom, but at the time, I thought he was kidding and laughed without answering. I later found out that he wasn’t kidding. Ooops! Enter Senior Frog 4. We were friends and I began staring at him in class with a newfound awe. My friends were all pairing up with dates for the prom and time was running out. Maybe this frog would be interested in going to the prom with me…So one day I posed a question to him while we were chatting…Here goes nothing, I thought…I was right. “So what if a girl really wanted to go to the prom with a certain guy, but she was nervous and scared to ask him, what advice would you give her?” Silence….AWKward! He answered me in all seriousness with, “I would tell her not to ask him then, because what if he said, ‘no’ and then their friendship was ruined.” Again…AWKWARD. Shot down again.

Oh well, I could always tell Senior Frog 2 that I would take him up on his offer. Great, it was settled. I sat down next to him in class all ready to tell him the good news and he said, “So, I asked (enter name) to the prom and she said, ‘Yes.’” Gulp…it was all becoming a disaster, quickly! Visions of Carrie with blood all over her were popping into my head.

With all of the drama, along came Senior Frog 5, a friend who was a year younger than me. I knew he didn’t have plans to go to the prom and his best friend was going with one of my best friends AND he would help out the aesthetics of my prom picture. I asked him. He said, "Yes." But, there was no rejoicing.

So there we were a few weeks later…sitting in some ballroom listening to Depeche Mode. Senior Frog 1 walked in with a beautiful girl I had never seen and I felt like a total Asshole. Senior Frog 2 walked in with his beauty…whom he later married. Senior Frog 3 walked in with the Slut, but at least he looked miserable all night. And then there was Senior Frog 4…I tried to avoid him all night to keep myself from crying. Senior Frog 5 – poor guy had to hang out with the worst date ever. At the end of the night, I was so dejected that I asked him if I could just go home. He had no problem with that and drove off in the limo with our friends to party at someone’s beach house.

There I stood...in my dress and heels, feeling like an asshole at home before midnight on Prom Night. At least I was still a virgin I thought as I put on my pajamas and climbed into bed.

A few years ago, while helping out with a fundraiser at a local ice cream shop, dressed as if I really worked there, Senior Frog 1 walked in. He was with his gorgeous wife and three beautiful children. He looked amazing. While I stared at him dumbfounded, he said, "Wow...long time, no see...how are you? Honey...this is the girl who turned me down for prom and crushed me." His wife smiled at me and I turned slowly, walked into the back room and climbed into the shell Senior Frog 4 helped me create.

Lesson Learned – Don’t waste time holding out for Mr. Perfect when Mr. Perfect is sometimes right in front of you. (Who am I kidding? I didn’t really learn this lesson until 12 years later. It took a couple of times for me to really GET this one).

Monday, July 26, 2010

"What Reinforcement we may Gain From Hope, If not what Resolution from Despair..."

The first semester was ending, myself at a new school with new friends and much to look forward to. I began hanging out with a football player we will call Football Frog. He was nice...quiet and shy, as I remember. I don't recall how the crush unfolded, or if it really was a crush. It might have just been two lonely people at the right place at the right time and there we were. Hanging out. I think a kiss might have been thrown in there somewhere, but for the most part it was just an innocent high school relationship in the making. I would go to the games with my friends and smile when I caught a glimpse of him in his football uniform and afterwards, we would go to the parties around town, drinking beer out of a keg and watching his buddies perform immature-look-at-me stunts. I don't even remember his name (not the first time I've said this and I'm sure it won't be the last). I knew there was something different about this frog, as if he had a secret he was keeping. His eyes looked sad and there always seemed to be a heavy weight on his shoulders. I never met his family, but later I would know what that weight was there for.

One evening, Pager Frog called me up to go for ice cream. Harmless enough, since we kept in touch as friends. We went to a place down the street from my parent's house and sat outside eating ice cream and catching up. There was a Von's Grocery Store across the way and I noticed the bright lights of dozens of police cars. In the town I live in that could have been called Mayberry back then, rarely had anything huge happen. I asked another couple what was going on and they jumped into this wild story about how a couple went in and held up the store with a gun and were being carted away by the police at that very moment. Wow! I thought, how sad. I remember it was Christmas time and those people must have been desperate for money. I always feel sad for people who have nothing. Although I didn't grow up wealthy, I never went without the basics and it made me very sad to see a homeless person on the street or people who had way less than I. I looked on at the police scene with a heavy heart.

The next morning, my phone rang. Never a good thing for the phone to be ringing way before school even starts. I answered and a quiet, reserved Football Frog was on the other line. "I'm moving," he said. "Huh?" I think was my answer. He said quickly that he was moving south to live with relatives and that he would get in touch with me later. "Huh?" After hanging up, I got ready for school wondering the whole time what the heck he was talking about. Would I see him at school and he would laugh and say it was a joke and for the first time, reveal a playful side?

Walking through the halls at school on my way to my locker, I realized that it wasn't a joke. Talk was everywhere and a friend came up to me to reveal the horrifying story I would never forget. Football Frog's parents had held up a grocery store the night before and were taken off to jail and he had to move in with relatives. I literally had to shake my head wondering if it was all a dream. What? I still shake my head when I think about what that poor frog must have gone through. I wonder where he is now, what is he doing, how is he, what happened to his parents? All of those questions played in my head, but no one knew how to get a hold of him or where he was living.

Eventually, I moved on and accepted that he wasn't coming back. I accepted that I would never see if we had any potential for something more long-term. My heart always weighs heavily when I think about what he must have gone through and I hope he has moved on and made a better life for himself. I was left with so many questions and it was probably one of the first New Year's (My New Year's Eve plans always turn out disastrously) I didn't feel like celebrating.

Lesson Learned - Sometimes your questions of what went wrong, in any situation, are never answered.

(Thank you so much to Nick Allen for the humbling picture!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"As far as Gods and Heav'nly Essences Can Perish, the Mind and Spirit Remains Invincible, Though our Glory Extinct...Swallowed Up in Endless Misery"

I hesitated adding Pager Frog to my repertoire because he is sort of insignificant in the big picture of my history with frogs. But, on the other hand, no frog is really insignificant, because they have all made me who I am today. Crazy.

After moving back to California right after the tenth grade, I met up with my old friends from junior high. Pager Frog owned a pager (remember those?) store and was older…I think around 20. He was fun and new and a friend of my friend’s older sister. We met, we flirted and soon, we were spending time together. There was really nothing special about him other than the fact that he was older and was paying attention to me.

I was in a hateful teenage stage at this point with spite towards my parents. I had warned my mother and step-father against giving everything up to move to Oregon and now here we were, back in California because it didn’t work out. I didn’t wait long to say “I told you so” and blamed them for all of my misery and having to start yet, another new school. I was sick of moving, sick of uprooting my life, sick of having to walk through the doors of a new school not knowing anyone and sick of having to start over. They had married after two weeks of knowing each other when I was eight, brought my younger brother into the world not long after, and I was looking around wondering when more of life’s attention would be on me. Things really haven’t changed much since then. I digress.

Anyway, I didn’t want to be stuck at home with them during my summer of misery, so I spent as much time with my old friends from junior high and with Pager Frog, as I could.

Pager Frog was a talker and a bull shitter. Although I also remember he had beautiful eyes and curly hair. Thankfully, my frogs are anonymous because I can’t even recall his actual name. I didn’t have as much experience with bull shitters back then as I do now, so I believed half of his bullshit. He introduced me to the three big B’s. Bullshit, his BMW and the other, well, use your imagination. All three seemed to go together with him and it wasn’t long before I tired of his stupid conceit. I always felt like a bottle of cheap perfume when I was with him, but like an idiot, I still hung out with him. Part of the reason was probably because I had limited options in this new town and partly because I was waiting for a feeling to appear in my heart that didn’t smell of Jean Nate.

As the summer ended, I was getting ready for eleventh grade and didn’t have as much time to hang out with Pager Frog. I don't even really remember how we left it, although I know he makes a guest appearance in my next entry for Football Frog. Pager Frog didn’t have that big of an impact on my life, thus the reason this entry is short, except to show me how na├»ve we can be (and some of us still are as adults) at sixteen. As the foulness dissipated from my wrists, I was off to start a new adventure at my new school.

Lesson Learned - I’d rather not spell it out.

(Thank you to eshallx for use of the pic!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"So Spake the Apostate Angel, though in Pain, vaunting aloud, but racked with Deep Despair"

Bad Frog...I could begin and end this post with just these two words, but I won't of course, because two words is enough and, at the same time, never enough to describe the impact this frog had on my life. An impact that has been both good and bad...

So it was the fall of a new school year in a new school in a new town and I was a total outsider. Everyone was wearing Columbia jackets with Dockers and penny loafers and I was in knee high boots with a skirt and frilly top. I had never lived in this kind of weather! What did I know? I was from sunny California and I didn't know that I had to get a new wardrobe to fit in with the less fashionable at this stupid school that I wanted no part of. Nevertheless, I went each day and quickly made friends. The first was Katie. She sat in front of me in one of the many classes we had together and she turned around and bluntly snapped, "You're new here, aren't you?" I guess nothing got past these small towners. That was the beginning of a friendship that continues to this day. She was/is blunt, inappropriate at times, and had no censor; we were made for each other! Of course, I was just honing these skills at the time and Katie helped me polish them. We were inseparable and she was one of the most loyal people I had ever met. She had my back no matter what. I will always remember that about her.

So Katie and I, for whatever reason, went to a school dance the beginning of that tenth grade year. We even took a picture together for fun...I just recently had to post it on Facebook, the memory was too great. As we were standing around, probably drinking punch and people watching, a handsome junior walked up and asked me to dance. Enter Bad Frog. I was smitten at "Hello." But Katie, in her eloquent way, basically told him to "Beat it loser!" I went and danced with him anyway, but couldn't figure out what all of the fuss was about. She later told me to not get involved with him because he had a bad reputation around town for being a 'pothead' and 'bad boy.' At another point in the evening, a nice looking boy walked up to me and whispered, “If you want to start off right in this school, avoid that guy at all costs.” Whoa! This was getting interesting. He didn't look like a stoner or a bad guy to me. He looked great! Ha Ha...my famous last words.

Soon, Bad Frog and I were scooting around town in his red Geo that Katie called a roller skate and when Katie was with us, it was like watching a tennis match, only on fast forward. She was just being protective, but I have never been one to judge someone based on what others say about them. This is one of my major flaws. I should have listened to her because the drugs became an issue and I was constantly nagging at him to stop. He lied to me all of the time, was always trying to push the limits, and threw a fit every time I told him, "No." But, still I stayed.

I don't know what I found so attractive in Bad Frog. Maybe it was the fact that everyone told me to stay away from him. The fact that he was hot didn't hurt either, even though Katie made a barfing expression every time I said those words. He was also very mysterious. Even though we would hang out at his house, there was never anyone home, never met any siblings. He never talked much about his family and what I did learn was usually from other people. It was almost as if I felt sorry for him. He didn’t have a huge group of friends, but rather one best friend who I will call Blondie. I thought Blondie was extremely attractive, but he never really paid any attention to me. I would catch him looking at me out of the corner of his eye sometimes and it would give me the creeps. Bad Frog and Blondie were inseparable the way Katie and I were, but the unfortunate thing was that Blondie and Katie couldn’t stand the sight of each other either, so double dating was out of the question. Not that I was even allowed to date at the time. My mother and father had a strict “No dating until 16” rule in the house so I had to sneak out of the house to see Bad Frog. When my mother did meet him, she disliked him instantly. Of course this was because she had heard the negative reviews about him through the small town gossip and she believed every bit of it. He finally was not allowed to call the house anymore and I was banned from seeing him at all. One day, my mother walked into my room and said, “Someone named Rico Suave is on the phone?” She had an extremely doubtful look on her face and I couldn’t help but burst into laughter. I finally told her years later that Rico Suave was a made up name taken from a song at the time and that the caller was really Bad Frog.

These little silly things he did made me laugh. One night we were sitting in his roller skate and he blasted “Little Red Corvette” and sang it with every belief that he WAS Prince. I liked him even though he drove me crazy and I gave 100% to try to make a relationship out of the pieces of nothing I was given. One night, after we both knew our relationship was going nowhere, he invited me to a house party. Out in Oregon, there wasn’t much to do for high schoolers, In reality, there wasn’t much to do for anyone. But us young folk would drive our huge trucks way out into the boonies, so the cops couldn’t get to us, and have bonfires and party till the wee hours of the mornings. Many times, someone’s parents would go out of town for the weekend and they would have house parties.

On one of these occasions, Bad Frog invited me to his friend’s house for a party. He and I separated at one point and I went off to mingle. After a while, I realized I had way too much to drink and went looking for my missing frog. I found him alright! In bed with another girl. It crushed me. I knew eventually he would go elsewhere if I wouldn’t give in, but I didn’t think he would do it so blatantly. I backed out of the room and stumbled outside. I soon found myself in the woods on my hands and knees trying to make sense out of what was happening. I turned to see the house in the distance. It was a huge house and the lights were dancing out of the windows, music was jumbled together with laughter and playful screams and I didn’t know how the hell I was going to get home that night.

“Do you need help?” a familiar voice asked while standing over me. He was with another figure I didn’t recognize. The next thing I knew, the familiar voice had me on my back and was trying to stick his tongue down my throat. It was in slow motion and I heard the other voice telling him to stop. I had no voice, and whatever I wanted to say could not get out of my mouth in all of the confusion. The next thing I knew, some party-goers walked up and the two guys ran off. As I looked at the two figures running away, I realized one of them was Blondie. I couldn’t really comprehend all that happened in those few moments and I think I blocked the whole night out of my mind for many years. I still don’t know how I made it home that night.

Needless to say, that was the end of Bad Frog and me. He tried to apologize a couple of times, but I wanted no part of him. Soon after, he was busted for having drugs in his locker and soon after that, I moved back down to California. Later Oregon!

A couple of years later, I received a letter in the mail from Bad Frog. It said that the summer after he graduated, he was 'high' out of his mind one night with Blondie and Jesus appeared to him. It freaked him out so much that he quit doing drugs altogether and decided to go to school for Theology. Not only was he going to go to college but he had decided to be a pastor! A year later, I received another letter and he was still going strong following this new dream. He told me that I was one of the only 'real' people who had ever really cared about his well-being in that town. He apologized for being such an asshole and ruining most of my time in Oregon. I was happy for him, but sad that my time spent with him was during his darkest moments. It must have been hard for him growing up rich in a small town where he didn't have a close family structure there for him and few friends who had his back (I never told him about Blondie's actions that night).

That was the last I heard of him. I still wonder today where he is and what he is doing. Did he continue working towards his new dream or go back to being a Bad Frog? I wonder….

Lessons Learned - First, if everyone warns you about someone, there is usually a reason. Second, people can change if they really want to. Third, watch out for frog friends who are disloyal - they will hurt you too.

(Huge thank you to kirmizibasliklimuz on DeviantArt for the Bad Frog image).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"That Glory never shall his wrath or might extort from me."

"We're moving." The words fell out of my mother's mouth, and all I could focus on were her lips. It was as if they were moving in slow motion. I wanted to snatch the words and shove them back into the hole they were plummeting out of. My entire teenage universe came crashing down on me. It got even better after that. "We're moving to a small town in Oregon." What the...? I realized it didn't matter at that point what I thought. We were moving no matter what my opinion on the subject was. It had been decided way before I was even considered.

I cried myself to sleep that night and couldn't believe my mother and step-father would think of doing such a heinous act to a minor. I had already been to several schools because we moved a lot and I knew it sucked, but I had no idea until I grew up how really awful moving around is for a child. I was very out-going and always made new friends easily, but my older brother was not. He was an introvert and it was harder for him to sidle up next to a stranger. He wasn't complaining though, as usual. I complained enough for the both of us, at all times, and this time was no different.

I woke up the next day and had to announce the news to my best friend. We both cried and lit a cigarette. It was the end of ninth grade and my best friend lived on the same street as I did. We used to walk to the corner liquor store with a note from her mother asking if the clerk would please sell us a pack of cigarettes. After we did that enough times, we finally wondered what was so great about those damn creations, so we took one from a pack and experimented. The rest of that school year, every time we bought a pack for her mom, we would take a few for ourselves. Anyway, a few cigarettes and a considerable amount of Skid Row later, we both had come to the conclusion that my parents' choice was not going to falter.

The beginning of the summer before my tenth grade year we arrived in Sisters, Oregon. It was a beautiful summer in a laughable small town. We were to live at my step-sister's farm house on five acres until we found a home of our own. My parents had bought a small restaurant in nearby Redmond, thirty minutes down the road. Fabulous! There I was, in a five-bedroom dwelling with six other people. Along with my parents, I had arrived with my younger brother, a toddler at the time, and my older brooding brother, who was three years my senior. My step-sister and her husband were living there and she was pregnant with my now young adult niece (who I adore). It was a crowded house and I was out of my mind.

During the day, I would go out to the barn and play with the animals. They were my confidants and playmates. There were pigs (which we would later kill and eat), sheep, chickens, rabbits, hounds and my favorite, horses. I was in adoration of Chance, a retired race horse that I would ride bare-back through the meadows, without reins or bridle. This was my favorite part of living on the humble ranch. At night, my brother and I would ride our bikes while sun was setting and later, watch the storms on the horizon with the dogs on the porch. It was amazingly gorgeous out there and much colder than I was used to.

When we went into town for the first time, I almost fell over because of the culture-shock. Everyone was white for starters, and everyone said, "Hi" to you while walking down the street. It was a very simple life. The town consisted of three blocks and there were no Carl's Jr. or McDonalds to be seen. This was all very different than I was used to seeing in L.A.

Somewhere between writing letters and riding the horses, my step-sister told me that a family up the road was expecting their grand-son to visit for the summer and that my brother and I would have someone to hang out with. I was suspecting some loser farm boy, but at that point, I would have been happy to greet a barn sheep that could 'BAAAA' his own name. My brother and I rode our bikes down the way to meet the new sheep. I don't think I made it much through the door when I saw Summer Frog. Wow! He was brilliant. Blonde hair and blue eyes, this whole moving thing all of a sudden became more endurable.

Summer Frog and I became fast friends. We would take long walks at sunset and talk for hours. He was older and more mature than the boys I had met before and he really acted as if he genuinely cared about what I was saying. I had never opened up to a boy in the way that I opened up to him. I told him all of my fears and dreams in life. I was in love. Not the school boy crush, but the summer romance every teenage girl dreams of kind of love. He became not only a great friend to me, but a major distraction to my horrible move.

One night, we walked down to a deserted barn down the road, and tried the door. It had been empty for a long time and for some reason, no one locked the doors. We snuck into one of the rooms that had built-in bunk beds and snuggled together in the cool, hazy night. When Summer Frog kissed me, I felt it down through my toes. That kiss was a kiss I will always remember. It was so soft and innocent, just like I had imagined my Prince Charming would give me. When it had gotten late and I knew my parents would have been sending out the dogs for me, I told him we had to go back. He was honestly sincere and pretended that his ego was not hurt from me not wanting to do more with him. At that point in my teen years though, kissing was all I could manage. I had heard enough horror stories about teen pregnancy and vowed at a young age never to get myself in that kind of mess. Summer Frog reluctantly walked me home.

That is the last memory I have of Summer Frog. I know there were some more that somehow, somewhere got left behind in Sisters, but just like most of my childhood memories, I can't remember them. When school started and we had moved to a nearby town, I cherished the summer that was fresh in my mind. That is how I got through the first days of beginning a new school with new faces, buildings, teachers and most importantly, boys.

We swore we would keep in touch, but I knew how that story went based on my experiences with Ring Frog. Nonetheless, I held out some hope that we would. I never heard from Summer Frog after that. The following year we moved from Oregon back to California. I heard through the grapevine on the weekend we were moving, that a certain family was moving into town. The name of the family was Summer Frog's. I would, to this day, never know what might have happened, had I stayed in that neck of the woods. Maybe nothing and maybe that's the way I would like it to stay. It did not go unnoticed though, that if he really wanted to have stayed in touch with me after 'our' summer, he probably would have.

Lesson learned - If a boy wants to be your Prince Charming, and I mean, really wants to be, then he will find you again, no matter what.

(Much thanks to Monster-Children on DeviantArt for the great photo!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

"All is not lost; the unconquerable Will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield"

After my undying love for Ring Frog withered into the darkness, I tried to look around my school to see what other boys might turn out to have some potential. There were slim pickings where I went to school at the time, unless you liked the Richard Ramirez look.

This was my chola phase, that I am proud to admit I went through. No girl is complete without donning the Aqua Fresh hair-do and the suede boots that folded over on the top. I had a 'wow' factor, too. I was the only white girl at my school, therefore had the nickname "Huera." Need I say more as to what a hot mess I was!

Among the various junior high gangs, I opted out for a much more cleaner type of guy. This is where Suspension Frog came into my life. His real name was awful and he should be embarrassed to have to walk around with it, but all the same, I thought he was hot. I don't really remember much about how we began hanging out, but I do remember writing in my journal every night about him while listening to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson tunes. As much as I liked him though, someone else did too. And that is never a good thing, unless you like competition, which I do not.

Before I knew of this other 'girl,' he would walk me to class and the best day was when I had a cold. As he said something funny, I laughed and a little snot came out of my nose. He either didn't notice or pretended to not notice, but I on the other hand, was horrified. I obsessed about it all night and to this day will not blow my nose in front of other people.

The next day was even better. My step-father liked to collect and fix up old cars. But let's just say he was better at collecting them than he was at fixing them up. He knew I hated these old cars, so I specifically told him to always pick me up down the street at the library so that no one, namely Suspension Frog, would ever see me getting into one. Low and behold, one day here comes pops with the grand daddy of them all. He couldn't just stop at the library, but he drove in front of the school, in front of all of my friends and began honking to the tune of 'Jingle Bells.' Needless to say, I didn't think it was funny and was hugely mortified. I cried the whole way home. Soon after, I began walking home. It wasn't very safe, but I was more willing to put up with ducking gunshots than I was risking my dad's clunkers and embarrassing behavior.

The next day, Suspension Frog was walking 'the other girl' to class. I still blame my dad for this one. So, I lost, whatever, it ends there right? No! This wench began to follow me around calling me names. At P.E., she thought it was funny to call me a 'bitch' in front of my group. (Yah, I had a group). Finally, one of my friends said, "You need to handle this girl or we can't hang out with you no more." Handle?? What does that mean? I wasn't a fighter and damn it, she already won, what more did she want from me? Blood??? We were in junior high!

Fine! I stormed up to her after gym and popped her right in the face. I don't remember much of the fight accept that I fell back, hit my head on the concrete bench and was knocked out. The next thing I knew, we were both in the Principal's Office getting suspended. My parents were not happy to say the least, but I couldn't get through to them that I was either going to lose my friends and be an outcast or I had to get in that fight. I know there is a lot out there about bullying and I am not saying everyone should pop someone in the nose for any little thing. BUT, there comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself or you will be forever picked on.

That was the only time in school when I was picked on and I was in a fight, but I don't regret it. The only thing I regret is that it was over a frog.

Lesson learned - Never fight over a frog (unless the other girl taunts you day after day and your friends threaten to leave your ass by the side of the road if you don't do something). The only saving grace to all of this was that we moved the following year (yes, moved AGAIN). I was out of that rat hole city and school district and I was moving on to a new swamp with fresh frogs.

The future looked bright!

(Awesome photo by John Smith. For more, visit http://jacktheabyssinian.deviantart.com/art/Street-Fighter-BW-123800622)