Friend Bombs (or “when my friends know my life better than I do”)

This is another long one, so maybe grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on what time you’re reading this) and settle in. I apologize in advance but after sitting on this for almost 36 hours, all the memories just flooded back one at a time, forcing me to squint into my phone frantically typing them out at 1am before my body would let me go to sleep.

I went through many different titles for this post and finally settled on this one. I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago and was informed that I had a boyfriend in grade 11.

Now thinking back, I immediately was like “umm..no I most certainly did not” – going through a list of the guys I would have considered to be “in a relationship with” and none of them were during high school. In all honesty, I can’t really think of a person in my life that I would consider to label as a boyfriend. I’ve had little things here and there but no one who I would think would have the label. Unless you count the British too old for me, was married, who I was in love with and in my 13 year old mind thought I was having an actual relationship with but we never actually met in person just online so our relationship didn’t count guy (read more about him here) But he was over in grade 9 so in grade 11 I was certain that I wasn’t dating anyone. The list of people who fill up the “relationship” column is very small so I think I would have remembered.

My friend tells me who she meant, a guy from our school DE (first and last initials here). Again, I most enthusiastically denied it, to which she replied “you walked through the halls holding hands, you were always together, you were so dating”. Of course this is true, but I also walked around holding hands with many of my friends who were female and that never meant that I was dating them – it was just what we did in high school.

Then I started to actually think about DE and the course that our friendship took….and I kind of understand why everyone in her group of friends held the opinion that we were, in fact, dating.

His name is DE. He actually has the same first name as Le Brother, and the same last initial too…so my brother and this guy are both DE. It’s very weird. I think if I made a graph, about 75% of the guys that I know have the first initial D….. Mr. Infatuation does too! But we’re going to focus on DE for today.

DE was a year younger than me, but he was home schooled which meant that he started a year ahead of where his age dictated he should be when he started public school – placing us in the same grade.

I think we first met in Grade 10 German. At first we hated each other. It was first semester, I remember since my home town of Kitchener has a lot of German activities that happen in the fall. First of all we have Oktoberfest – where DE and I did a very bad polka together (basically I asked him to get me away from people I went to school with before moving to Kitchener and he obliged thank goodness!) Then of course there was Christkindl Market which is a German thing as well around Christmas. There we rode on the bus together, he let me wear his beer hat (picture the cat in the hat’s hat but a beer mug) and we hung out all day.

After our exam, we walked home together to the point where he broke off, and said “well it’s been fun hating you, let’s hope we don’t have any of the same classes next term!” I kindly replied “I know! Gah you’re so annoying!” We shared our first hug and went our separate ways.

Second semester we had science together, and we ended up sitting beside each other the whole term. I’m not sure if that was because of us, or if we were placed there – but we were lab partners and I have fond memories of that time. At that point we had gotten over the “I hate you” stage and were friends – and I of course had developed a crush on him.The day we had to dissect the frog, he bravely took over while I sat in the hall trying not to puke with a few other girls, and I wrote up the report from his notes. After this exam there was no exchange of mutual hatred, but a well wishing for pleasant summer holidays.

During that term, he missed a lot of school all at once. About two weeks or so. He was really sick and kept having to go to doctors appointments. He was eventually diagnosed with diabetes and returned to school.

In grade 11, we had every class together first term. At the start of grade 11 DE somehow came up with a nickname for me: Eggie. I’m not exactly sure where it came from, but it stuck around the whole year. Walking from one class to the next that whole first term we always walked together. Usually with my arm linked into his.

First term we had world issues together: again, we sat beside each other. With him having the same name as my brother, it would sometimes get a little awkward, like when the teacher had to stop class to tell us to stop talking and pay attention: just hearing in hard “parental tones” “Giggle Fattie! DE!” sent waves of PTSD of past family vacations and road trips rushing through my body.

That term we also had English and (of course) we sat with each other. At least at first. This time I know it was the teacher’s doing: she had us arranged alphabetically. Me (Ec) and him (Et) directly behind me. We were in one of the corners of the room, the desks  filling 3 of the walls of the room like a horseshoe, only two desks deep since the teacher wanted the middle of the room open. Directly beside us, on the left hand side was DE’s best friend (LG). DE and I thankfully had left handed desks (I am left handed, and if I remember correctly so was he….) and his best friend LG sat looking directly at the left side of my face.

 

Since we had these left handed desks, our left side was shielded from the teacher, and since we were in the corner, we were also shielded from the rest of the class. I remember a few times, where we would be reading or working, and I could feel DE’s fingers on my elbow just drawing little circles (I’m a “lean back and hold my book up” reader, and he was a “lean forward with book on desk reader”). If I ever had stray hairs on the back of my shirt, DE was sure to get rid of them.

Our Shakespeare study for that year was MacBeth. One day I was assigned to read Lady MacBeth, which according to DE and LG suited me perfectly since I was insane. When the class stopped for the day (and for a few days after that) out of the corner of my eye I could see LG trying to kill me with invisible objects…an invisible sword, hit me over the head with a lantern…..

Second term was physics class. Our teacher was a young, fresh out of college, type. The “cool” teacher if you will – or at least in my books. He was also the teacher sponsor for a club that I was in, and was in charge of in grade 12. My brother and his friends (all over 18 of course) would go out and play pool with this teacher.

Anyways, so he liked to do a lot of experiments. The whole class would gather around one of the large science island tables, and one day, DE was standing behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, leaning his head on my shoulder. I had never had a boy hold me like that before and just kept standing up straight, so he was kind of pushing me forward. Obviously this was awkward for the both of us until he said “just lean back”  and it was a perfect little hug from behind….

From that point on, just randomly he would walk up behind me while I was standing and wrap his arms around me. I knew it was him, since he was literally the only guy to ever do that, and because of his medical alert bracelet. I was friends with one of the girls in “his group” and sometimes in the morning I would sit in the cafeteria with her talking. He would just come up behind me and lay his head on my shoulder, or sit in front using my book bag as a pillow on my lap.

I know that I was happy for the male attention, even if it was just in my own mind. I had always been (and still am) the “just a friend fat girl”. It was the first boy interaction of its kind that I had had and it definitely set my mind into thinking that I might one day have that for real.

Not once did we ever eat lunch together, go out, or even see each other outside of school. Much like the super market dude from this poem who I should probably write a prose post about if I haven’t already….

Grade 12 happened with us going in different directions. We still saw each other and talked a little but it wasn’t the same as grade 12. He was dating the school slut (I think I can say that about someone who started grade 9 bragging about the hickies on her boobs right?) and I was back to being me – the forever “just a friend fat girl”.

Our first year of university we saw each other for a little bit. But again nothing like before. A few days out of the week we had our first class beside each other: him business I think and for me it was introduction to Spanish – at 8:30am…. Anyways, we both took the city bus, and I was a few stops before him. I would get on, find us good seats and he would join me a few stops later. We’d talk the whole 45 minutes to school or I would read and he would catch some extra sleep on my shoulder. After first term we really didn’t see each other…

I asked one of my best friends (BFF A) yesterday if “our group” of high school friends thought that DE and I were dating. Spurred of course by this random conversation that I had with this other friend – who while I was kind of close to, this person wasn’t in “my group”. So BFF A said she doesn’t think anyone thought we were dating just that I liked him…which I totally did. I found him on Facebook last night and apparently he’s married now.

So….that was a fun trip down memory lane.

I literally haven’t thought about him in probably 3-4 years and now, because of one comment about someone I haven’t seen since I was 19 I’ve written almost 2000 words and taken up probably a good 20 minutes of your time. I can’t believe I actually remembered all those details about him….and us….just like they happened yesterday.

Thanks for reading, and if you’ve stuck through all of that nonsense, drop me a line and let me know what you think – did I actually have a boyfriend in grade 11? Because to me, that’s not a relationship…that’s a girl having a crush on a guy she’s friends with, and high school kids being high school kids.

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14 thoughts on “Friend Bombs (or “when my friends know my life better than I do”)

    • it was a bittersweet thing to write! It was nice to think back on a time in my life that I had shoved to the back of my memory, and super uplifting to remember the emotions that 16 year old me attached to him

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  1. I had a few friendships like this in high school… and I had a crush on one of them but we never dated. We were good friends. We did see each other outside school often, but usually it was with a few other friends. But even then, one of the guys would have an arm around me or I’d be leaning on someone — sometimes the crush, sometimes one of the other guys. I had a lot of male friends. But I did not have a boyfriend. Sure, they were relationships — friendships. Maybe people define these things differently, but I say if there was no kissing and there were no dates, then I did not have a boyfriend. Until I did.

    One of these friends did become my first boyfriend. Not the one I had a crush on… but the one who secretly wanted me the whole time. The one who was always “asking me out” but I thought he was just offering to take me to whoever’s house we were hanging out at that night… It turns out, he wanted it to be the two of us. But I was oblivious to this wonderful guy. Until one night, I wasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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