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.

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