Please be reminded; any names of people portrayed in this series are altered to protect their identities.
A couple months passed since my break up with Seth. I found myself slowly returning to a more steady internal state as the first year of high school started to come to a close. My feelings for him had not faded, but I was learning to hide them better. To me, that was an accomplishment all it’s own.
I remember the last day of grade 10 being of my most fun and memorable. A group of my friends and I planned on meeting on the field to play a game of red-rover to celebrate the end of our first year. As my friends and I sat in our usual seats in Math class, we all collaborated together to sneak out one by one to meet at our usual hangout in the choir room. It was the best place for us to go when we were cutting classes; we’d keep the main room’s lights off and the door closed while we all sneaked to the backrooms to listen to music and kill time. Any passers by would think the room was locked and empty, so at the time, we never got caught. There were a few others in our group who wanted to join us, but they weren’t too keen on cutting class. We didn’t judge; we had all afternoon anyways.
One by one, we bolted into the hallway and sprinted to the choir rooms, bringing snacks along with us. Finally, we’d all gathered and spent the majority of that time listening to Dane Cook and passing around inside jokes. I remember laughing so hard my sides still hurt an hour later. For a time, I was even a little happy. I had even set my sights on someone new. His name was Johnny.
Johnny was a little more preppy than Seth. He loved to party, had a strong energy about him, and was far more intelligent than many gave him credit for. He was the kind of kid that could skip classes, show up for a test, and still pull off the highest mark without cheating. He had joined our group that day through a mutual friend of ours. This was the first time we actually spoke to each other.
Finally, the day ended and we spent hours losing control in the field, playing the most cut-throat game of red-rover I can remember. It was raining hard that day, but we all agreed it was more fun that way. In retrospect, one kid did almost get hypothermia, and another one wound up with a knee in the crotch, but at the end of it all, we took a group picture and headed home. During that summer vacation, Johnny and I found ourselves on MSN messenger all the time until he decided to ask me out to see a movie.
From then on, we were dating. I was convinced that I was completely enamored with him, but he had a habit of asking for sex fairly often. I continued to say no for about a month before I had started to really think long and hard about this. I remembered what had happened with Seth. I remember thinking, “that’s why Seth broke up with me. These are high school guys; they’re not going to wait around for me forever. Fifteen year-old girls do this all the time anyways. Let’s face it, if I don’t sleep with him, I’m going to lose him to someone who will.”
Thus, Johnny became my first. While I’d like to tell you it was a wonderful experience, I don’t remember much about it. We had to be careful, quiet, and discrete. In fact, I was so focused on not getting caught that I barely paid attention to that moment. One thing I do remember was feeling strange afterward. As though I had done something wrong. I didn’t believe I was going to get in trouble, but it felt as though I was scolding myself internally for turning away from what my heart told me.
“But it’s worth it. I won’t lose him as long as I keep him happy.”
Essentially the day after I had given myself to him, he turned a switch and became more and more distant, and less and less interested. It was all of a few weeks later I noticed him getting very friendly with a friend of mine whom he shared classes with. He was not an arts student when we met, but he started taking parts in plays and took up drama in place of one of his spares. I didn’t mind that; I was excited for him, but something told me there was a romance between he and my friend. I had no proof, so I tried to put it out of my mind.
Then he started to avoid me like the plague. He hadn’t changed his relationship status on Facebook, or even said a word to me about anything, but I would go days to over a week without seeing him. I decided to just open the opportunity so he could just break up with me and get it over with, but I would simply get stood up, or ignored. This continued for nearly a month before I caught him online and asked him if he wanted to call it quits, but he simply danced around the question as if he were amused by my torment. We were speaking on MSN one final time before, I found myself so infuriated that he was forcing my hand, I told him it was over then and there. I signed out and washed my hands of him. I was slightly confused as to why I was not crying; I thought it was a good thing, and returned to my life as it had been before we’d met, but I always felt a twinge of pain whenever I saw him, or when his name was spoken.
All but a week later, he and my friend made things official and started dating, but everyone knew they were together well before that. To their credit, they were together for quite a while before they broke up for the same reason we had ended. She and I became friends again for a brief time, but these days, we haven’t spoken for a couple years.
As for Johnny, years later I was told that he and his friends had a ‘competition’ going on at the time; who could get the most v-cards. I soon received a message from him apologizing for his behaviour when we were together. I thanked him for the apology and wished him well, but we never spoke again after that. Whether or not he has learned and truly grown through the years, I cannot say for certain, but I didn’t intend to make any effort to find out.
To be continued…