exes anonymous, volume two.
After the sham that was my short relationship with Georgie, I felt the need to keep hunting younger men. Perhaps it was my feeling of total abandonment or the feeling of being so unappealing that a guy would choose to dump me over the phone rather than face-to-face.
There were several of these wayward younger men I’d ensnare. One was named Sam, and we were friends from church, as well. He had not once said anything about having feelings for me, but that did not stop me from an enticing conquest.
Tall and skinny with long, greasy hair, he was a fit for the bass player position in our church’s worship band. I’d later learn that the sweet, musty smell I loved to inhale when he hugged me was something other than shampoo, body wash, cologne, or whatever other theory I’d held. You’d think I would have known better after the Josh fiasco, but I was infatuated and ignorant.
At one point, I literally chased him around the sanctuary between sets of his band practice while my mother was in a meeting upstairs. I caught him twice, both ending in kisses. You’d think that any freshman boy would be elated to experience something such as that, but I suppose my chase came off less as passionate and more as desperation. We never got anywhere but uncomfortable.
Another incident, we’ll call it, was John, who was only one year younger than me. I can safely say I had no romantic interest in him. Rather, it was all about the chase for me. I could tell how fascinated he was in me, an upperclassman who didn’t mind spending time with one of the oddest boys in the school. He fell victim of a kind heart and a blind eye, as he imagined we were really going to end up together.
Our flirtation came to a head at our school’s Sadie Hawkins dance that year. I was dancing with Sam at the time (who was actually someone else’s date; oops.), but John was watching me the entire night. I dodged dancing with him several times before succumbing to one dance. After all, I wasn’t a bitch or anything.
Even though I stole my last kiss of the night from Sam, who was fortunate enough to be kissed right as all the lights turned on (yikes), it was not the last kiss to be stolen from me that night.
I was on the dance committee, so I had many duties to finish before I could hop in my parents’ car. Emily and I cleaned up the refreshments table and pulled streamers from the ceiling tiles. A few teachers were kind enough to help, as well as one underclassman boy who couldn’t seem to get in touch with his mother to tell her the dance was over:
After everything else had been put away and all the students had started getting into their cars to head home, John’s mission began.
“Can I help you bring this stuff to your car?” he asked, holding out his arms to take my mom’s crystal punch bowl I held.
“Um, no thanks,” I said. “I got it.”
“Well allow me to escort you to your car then,” he offered. “My mom’s not here yet, anyway.”
Unsure of what to do at the moment, I allowed him to hold the door open for me as I walked out the door toward my parent’s car in the parking lot.
After a moment of silence, he began, “You did a great job, Dottie.”
“…thanks, John,” I said. “I hope it all exceeded your expectations.” Always the smartass. My parents’ headlights glowed ahead of us.
“There was one thing that I was disappointed in,” he said.
Thinking it was going to be a remark about my not dancing with him but once, I said, “Oh really? What’s that? I’m sorry if you…”
But my apology didn’t have a chance: it was shut down by soggy, hungry lips on my face. John grabbed my chin and wrenched it toward his face as we were walking, planting a big one right on me.
And right in front of my parents, who were less than twenty feet away.
I didn’t even respond as I opened the car door to put the bowl in the backseat.
Not a single word was spoken in that car for the duration of the twenty-minute drive home.
That is, until I went into the kitchen to rinse out the bowl.
“So… who’s your new boyfriend?”
“DAD, HE’S NOT MY BOYFRIEND! HE JUST RANDOMLY KISSED ME AND I DIDN’T STAND A CHANCE!”
He just laughed, and I could hear my mom’s laughter from two rooms over. Funny for them, maybe, but not to their traumatized daughter. .
I’d later describe that the kiss felt like I went through a car wash; a nauseating, hormonal,emotionally scarring car wash featuring me as the car and John as the moist, flapping foam tubes. Embarrassment is always funny to people who know they’re about to witness a hormonal, human car wreck.