Monday, October 26, 2009

Waiting for the Melatonin to Kick In

Apparently, I over-slept this weekend. No, I don't mean I slept until I missed my fun and exciting plans for the day. I mean that I slept more than the necessary amount needed to keep my body healthy.

The result: insomnia when I finally have something I'll need to wake up for (work).

I've popped a dose of melatonin, and while I'm waiting for it to do its magic, I'm going to tell you one of the many memories that has been going through my head this evening: the first time my heart got broken.

I was 10 years old, not quite yet blossomed. His name was Marc, and he was 13 when we met. Our fathers had been friends back in the day, and when my family moved to Connecticut, which is where he'd grown up, my dad got back in touch with his and the families made dinner plans to meet up. He and I got along fabulously from the first; we spent the entire evening up in his room talking, playing games, wrestling over my slap bracelet (this was when they were all the rage ... the first time around). He taught me how to play MasterMind, and the strategy behind it (after thrashing me a few times). He was older, and nice, and funny, and I thought he was the coolest person in the universe. And he really seemed to like me. What else could I do but fall for him?

It was my first real crush, and at the beginning things seemed to go well. His family lived in a different part of the state (I think) than we did, so we didn't see each other often. This was before the internet was widespread, of course, but I think we did speak on the phone once or twice. When our families visited with each other I think we spent all the time together that we could.

But then one day, some time around when he turned 14 and before I turned 11, it was just going to be him and his mom, visiting my house for the first time. And my mother, knowing that I had a crush on him and knowing, too, things about teenage boys that I was oblivious to, made me promise to keep my bedroom door open the entire time he was there. I made my promise, and did as I was told. He came over and we immediately went up to my room to hang out and look at my stuff. It was warmish that day, and the window was open in my bedroom, so I spent a lot of that visit catching the door as it blew shut and opening it up again. He told me to leave it alone, but I was nervous (and a good girl) and just kept opening it whenever it closed.

I still think that's what it was. I think the door-opening reminded him of just how much younger I was than he. The visit didn't end terribly well and, if this hadn't been my first time in this situation, I should have been forewarned.

A few weeks later our families had a barbecue at one of the few public beaches in CT, and I went excited at the prospect of seeing Marc and maybe even holding hands while we walked down the beach — something silly and girlish like that. Instead, he was cold and distant when we talked, didn't want to walk down to the water with me at all, and basically did what he could to avoid me for the duration of the picnic. A couple girls from his class happened to be there while we were, and all I could do was watch helplessly as he flirted with them ... until I couldn't take it anymore and went to go sit on a bench by myself.

I think I remember being too embarrassed to even cry, so I sat there being miserable for a long time until my mom finally found me and sat down next to me. I forget what she said to make me feel better — something along the line of he wasn't ignoring me because he didn't like me, but because he was embarrassed to like someone so much younger. Somehow she convinced me to get through the rest of the day; I ignored him and pretended it didn't matter until we left, though later when I got home I'm sure I cried myself to sleep for a week.

That was the last time I saw him. I sometimes wonder what happened to him, even though — almost 20 years later — thinking of the humiliation and hurt from that afternoon can still make me cry.

Don't know why I was thinking of it tonight. Just one of those things that surface from time to time, I guess.

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