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 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).