I actually have 2 “What if…” people.
One was a woman (girl?) I met my freshman year of college. She was openly gay and truly one of the most beautiful women I have ever laid eyes on, inside and out. At the time I was fully attracted to women but had no idea what the hell it actually meant for me. There was a girl in my high school who wrote on her back pack “I like pussy.” She was a social pariah. I ALMOST talked to her several times but never did. She was my pandora’s box (HA! Box!) and I was too afraid to open it. I’ve mentioned before how easy it is to follow the path that is socially acceptable when you are attracted to both sexes. That being the case, my self-knowledge growth was a little slow when it came to women. However, my college friend and I became close and shared many moments that could have turned into “something” if I had had a mother fucking clue what was going on in my head and between my legs. I didn’t. I will always wonder “What if…” with her. What if I had understood myself? What if I had just given in to curiosity? How would my life have been different? Not just with her but with all the relationships I did and did not have. I kind of regret (even though I’m not really a regret kind of person) not taking the leap that one moment in time when I had a clear opportunity to explore that hidden side of myself that I did not understand. The side of myself that scared the ever loving shit out of me. “What if…”
The other one I have known since I was 13, Holy Crap! He was actually my FIRST love. Awe… Not my first “I have no fucking clue what it means to be boyfriend/girlfriend” crush but rather my first LOVE.
It was with him that I first openly defied my Mom. It was the summer before my freshman year of high school and we had known each other through church and youth group (car washes are pre-pubescent foreplay!). He was a senior and his blue eyes could make me melt on the spot even though I had no idea at the time what was melting or why, but OMG, it was melting. My mom had a “no dating until you are 16 rule” which I later obliterated but at the time, it was still the rule. He asked me to go see a movie with him. If I had asked my mom, considering our families were friends, she probably would have said yes. But I didn’t. Dumb Ass! Instead, I told her I was going over to a friend’s house. That friend ended up calling her and asking where I was because she wanted to hang out. GAH! If only I had been smart enough to talk to my friend first. Book smart I was. Smart enough to outsmart my Mom, I still haven’t mastered that one. The movie, I will never forget, was Weekend At Bernies. We laughed so hard. I was crazy nervous. He kind of held my hand. All in all it was probably exactly what you would picture for two clueless kids who liked each other at such a young age but were TERRIFIED. Yes, I know, he was a senior. But he was not experienced. Don’t get ahead of the story!
So, when I finally got home from my romantic rendezvous, my Mom called and asked how my afternoon with “Friend” was. Crap! “Umm, it was good, Mom. How’s your day?” --- “Really? Because ‘Friend’ called me looking for you.” Double Crap! And so began my summer without phones or TV or friends… It was probably the only time my mother said You Will Not! That I actually did anyway. I know, I’m such a rebel.
We didn’t connect on a “dating” level much of the next year because his friends were all “but she’s a freshmaaaan!” We were great friends who were always uncomfortable around each other because we liked each other but couldn’t/didn’t do anything because we were idiots.
Sometime during that year, my mom went away for a weekend to a Christian retreat and I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to have my first (and only) Partay! while under her roof. (Guilt ridden, I admitted what I did to my mom and was forgiven because of the confession while my partner in crime was grounded for 3 weeks. See, I wasn’t a total idiot, but my mom was a sucka!) We rented out the Rec room at the apartment complex I lived in. We invited MrBlueEyes in addition to 17 thousand other friends. And as the night wore on and he didn’t show up; I drank. I drank and I drank and I drank. By the time that he was actually walking up the sidewalk to the party, I was drunk. With my head hanging through the bars on the balcony, I proceeded to puke on the sidewalk below me. No really. You have to picture this. I was on a balcony, head thrust through the railing and grateful for the support, puking over the edge onto the sidewalk one story below as he walked up. SPLAT! Right at his feet. Hot, yes? And still, that night, he kissed me. Gross, I know!
It was his first kiss. How cute is that??? It was not my first kiss, over achiever that I am, but it was the first one that sent shivers down my spine and warmed me in places I wasn’t sure how to define.
Not long after that he enlisted in the army and off he went. Again, his family and mine were close. When he graduated from Basic Training, his parents paid for my plane ticket to fly out with them to see it. But he was there I and was not. So, the long phone conversations and the sappy letters went on for almost 5 years. He was the first man to make me cry myself to sleep. My first LOVE. Yes, I dated throughout that time, and grew up well beyond my years much faster than I should have. But there was a part of my heart that always belonged to him.
He was called to action during the first Iraq war. We sent letters and talked when we could. In fact, during my first year of college, his parents’ home was my home when I needed to get away from campus. My mom had moved back to Wisconsin to be close to her ailing mother. I remember many a night sitting at their kitchen table drinking a beer and playing Yahtzee. They are amazing people who I will always always always love. But life went on in my little world. He was stationed in far off places and I met Ex. Now don’t get me wrong, I will never (NEVER) regret meeting and loving Ex. He is still in my mind one of the most amazing men to have ever crossed my path. But there was one and only one of the briefest of moments in my pre-marriage relationship with Ex when I had very very real doubts about if I was SURE. It was a weekend that Ol’ Blue Eyes was home on leave and drove down to see me at college. He stayed in my dorm room and we shared my bed (which was actually 2 single mattresses pushed together on the floor). Something absolutely could have happened. It didn’t. But we spent a large part of that night talking about what might have been.
Not long after that I became with child. I’d tell you that it was immaculate conception but I’m pretty sure you all would lynch me for a liar. So, the marriage plans that Ex and I had already discussed were moved up by about 2 years. Blue Eyes was an usher in our wedding. While we have kept in contact via email sporadically over the past 14 years, we have not seen each other. In fact, it will be exactly 14 years since I last laid eyes on him this month. This month when I am back in Arizona to see my new nephew. This month when he will be home in Arizona on leave. This month when we plan to see each other again. 14 years!
He is still stationed in Germany and the Army owns his ass for 2 more years. But there is a part of me that still is going to think “What if…”