Tanya walks by. Without turning from my conversation, I slide my hand around her waist to stop her. She smiles and coos a “Hello”, tells me she’ll be right back and gives me a kiss.
This is the part of the story where I get introspective and vulnerable.So, no judgement from you, my trusted reader, as your heroic narrator looks into himself rather than safely assessing those around him.
I scarcely believe that I’m alone in these thoughts.No matter who you dated, crushed on, had feelings for – requited or unrequited, I’ve found that those feelings don’t die easily.One doesn’t thrive on the memories of being in high school.One thrives on the emotions.Bad or good.When an upperclassman sits on your head while you’re trying to get books from your locker, you remember the event.Sure.But what your body responds to is the anger you initially felt, and then the embarrassment that follows when you realize the cute girl in the locker next to you was watching, and worse yet, she was interested in this Junior Neanderthal. It doesn’t help at all when she smiles an apologetic smile – apologizing both for his behavior and that she likes him. Not that this happened to me…its just…an example…that happened to…umm…a friend….The same holds true for when you first talk to the person you have a crush on.Or the first real kiss.The first makeout session where you kissed until your mouths were chapped.First sexual encounter, no matter how clumsy the two of you were.The list goes on and on.And yes, you feel these every time it’s a new experience, if it’s with someone new.But there is nothing like the strength of those feelings when we were in high school.Back then, it was the first of the first. Our hormones were ramping up in preparation for procreation.We didn’t know what to do, how to feel, confused with our confusion. It left an indelible emotional image in our psyche. I recognize this.I see it in myself, in how I respond to seeing friends for so long.I see it in the people who used to be couples way back when.I spoke to numerous people throughout the night who haven’t gotten over the person they were in love with during those years.Doesn’t matter if they are married…have kids…been through numerous relationships.The emotions they felt back then are still alive in them today, and given a chance, those emotions would take over all rationale and reason.Believe me, dedicated reader, I’ve seen it happen.That night people were pining for each other, asking people on the phone if their sweetheart was there and what did she look like, declaring their love for people they had never expressed to before.This mix of emotions-run-rampant and alcohol is a dangerous brew indeed.
So, on with the story…
I’ll preface the coming chapter with “I crushed on Tanya” In fact, that’s what the name of the chapter should be.And if she ever gets a hold of this story, I would be incredibly surprised if she were surprised. If she didn’t know this in high school, thanks to my girlfriend’s mouth at the 10 year reunion, I’m about 99% sure that Tanya is aware of it now.
Its an oft-told tale.I share the journey with many other guys in our class, in classes before us, in classes behind us, and I’m sure throughout her life.By no means am I trying to place her on a pedestal, or say that she’s infallible.I’m just pointing out that I’m not alone.Furthermore, it stands to reason that I crushed because not only was she gorgeous, but she was the first girl I saw on the first day as a Freshmen in Bill Wetzler’s homeroom. Tanya had just sat down next to an open seat that would be the place for her biology lab partner has we been in Biology.I’m in a new school, new people, new environment.A perfect time for a change of personality. I’m gonna be confident.I’m gonna be personable.I’m gonna be the man. I’m in high school now godammit!She will be my lab partner and we shall do experiments together. I sit down next to her, “Hey, I’m Todd”. She smiles her smile, “Tanya, nice to meet you”. Her reciprocation was like a right hook to the jaw. In my inexperienced youth, I had no response and no recovery. And right there started a four year friendship. Yay!And you know what?Totally my fault for not stepping up.Actually, I’d like to blame upperclassman and woman-charmer, Jay Huck, but ultimately the blame comes down on me.
Fast forward twenty some odd years.Tanya takes my hand in hers and pulls me over to have a conversation.Honestly, I can recall the entire evening, detail by detail. Moment by moment.I cannot for the life of me remember the subject of this conversation.The long-dormant emotions of the past envelope me, and I was swimming in it.There was no agenda.I had no thoughts of somehow wooing or seducing her.For five or ten or however many minutes we were talking I had her full attention and affection and she had mine.All my adolescent feelings wrapped up into a ball, and planted into the shell of a grown man.
The moment breaks temporarily when Pete walks by, calling out “You shouldn’t use your Emmy to get chicks, Perry” to which I immediately respond, “Oh Pete, my friend, my gold isn’t only in my statue…”At the time it seemed like Pete was simply cockblocking, but Christ, I’m from LA.I deal with ninja-level cockblockers.In hindsight, though, maybe he was acting as a wingman rather than a block.Maybe he knew that I wouldn’t overtly bring up successes or awards…being that that would be trite, tacky and on the cutting edge of douchebaggery.He throws it out there so I don’t have to.It’s a theory….
After laughing, handholding, and redlining the flirt tachometer, Tanya and I part ways.I don’t recall the reason.We have one another’s contact info.Nothing will come of it.And nothing should.She’s married, presumably with a family, and she flies all over the place in her jet for heavy-hitting corporate customers.But for a brief moment, I felt the satisfaction of a feeling that eluded me back in high school.And that’s enough.
However, I won’t pass up climbing in her cockpit if invited onboard.