Tuesday, February 28, 2006
History Lesson #5
Loss

When I was thirteen, I developed a crush on this 16 year old guy that lived in Kona, which was about an hours drive from Na'alehu where I lived. I can't for the life of me remember how I was introduced to him but I some how ended up talking to him on the phone all the time. I think we spoke on the phone for a few minutes before we even met.
Anyway, he and I talked all the time on phone. I mean hours. Do you remember doing that for the first time? Those first real crushes you had where all you could think about was that other person and you just spent this insane amount of time talking to them? Yeah. He was one of those. Only in a completely unreciprocated kind of way.
Oh, I was mad for him for sure but he had a girl friend. Of course he would right? I mean, I was like thirteen. Thirteen seems like a million years ago now. I can look at these thirteen year olds and just think god, if you knew what I know...
So, in Fantasy Land, he would one day fall mad in love with me. Yup. Even then I spent too much time in Fantasy Land.
His name was Jeff. I thought about giving him some fake name, but I haven't spoken to him in over ten years and I wouldn't know how to even if I wanted to so I think we are safe. So, Jeff.
I wish I could summon up a picture of what he looked like the first time I met him in person. He probably looked a lot like all of those guys I see now that make me roll my eyes. Those cocky 16/17 year old boys with all the shit on their cars and the bass systems and rap music. He probably had the haircut and the highlights. So, he was basically every teeny-bopper's wetdream. You know the type.
He drove to come and see me at my place the first time we met. My mom knew he was coming and had said it was ok. What was she thinking? Nah, she meant well. Probably thought it was better to have him on her turf than me on his.
I don't know what his intentions were. I don't know what he thought was going to happen when he pulled into my driveway that night. Maybe he thought I was really some girl his own age with blonde hair and flawless skin. I don't know.
I do know that I was a thirteen year old girl who hadn't quite mastered the art of keeping my hair from spontaneously combusting into a giant afro-like frizz ball when I was anywhere even remotely humid.
Oh and I was wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.
Yeah.
Hot right?
Well, I wasn't supposed to be hot. Shit, I had only been shaving my legs for like seven months. But he was such the crush to have. I know I was a mess of butterflies. When you are so nervous that you are just begging the karma gods to let you get through the next half hour without spitting when you talk or tripping or laughing at something that isn't funny.
What did we do? We talked. Something I was good at even then, back in the day. We sat outside, under the insane awesomeness that is the sky in Hawaii, and we talked for hours. Until it was some crazy hour and he needed to drive back home before he was too tired to.
Want to know how naive I am? I didn't even realize he wasn't into me like that. Man, I thought it was the most perfect of nights. The guy who gave me butterflies had just spent several hours at my house talking to me.
How much I had to learn.
Over the course of the next year, Jeff and I were still great friends. We talked all the time on the phone and he came by when he wasn't busy and hung out. He asked me advice on whichever girl he was dating and one night even got me and the current girl friend on threeway on the phone. Her name was Anne Marie and she and I became great friends. So much so that she and I started talking all of the time. I was still harboring this crazy idea that he and I would get together. In retrospect, I guess it was pretty normal for my age. Not to mention that I was now hanging out with people who were three and four years older than me. Nothing major in your twenties, but your early teens? Oh yeah, I was so the envy of my friends.
Anyway, you are probably wondering why the hell I have brought any of this up huh? Yeah, yeah, I am getting there.
So, after about a year of the three of us being friends (and Anne Marie and Jeff breaking up and getting back together and breaking up and getting back together and...) my mom finally oked my going to Kona to stay the weekend with Anne Marie (at her parent's house).
Oh my god, I was so jazzed. A whole weekend with Anne Marie and Jeff! And no supervision from my mom. Packed my trusty cigarettes into my backpack and waited for Jeff to come and get me. It was Friday and I was staying until Sunday, so that was almost 72 hours.
Jeff picked me up and hauled some serious ass back to Kona. Like serious ass. He scared the crap out of me. Mostly because the highway from Na'alehu to Kona is one lane in each direction. If you are going to Kona, then there is a huge rock wall on the right side of your car, literally just a few feet away. And on the way home, it is so much more fun with the cliff that drops off two feet after the white line. So basically, do the fucking speed limit.
When we finally got off that road and I exhaled the breath I had been holding for the previous 45 minutes, Jeff took me around to introduce me to his friends. That was about an hour of hanging out in the parking lot at some abandoned place. Remember doing that? Just sitting in some parking lot amidst all of the cars from the people who were lucky enough to have them, smoking cigarettes that you snagged from your parents or got someone to buy for you? For me, it was like Cinderella's fucking ball.
So, after awhile, Jeff and I take off for Anne Marie's place. It is gorgeous. Huge two story, wrap around porch, game room and the very first DVD I had ever seen. I don't remember what they were called, but they were the record sized DVDs...
Anne Marie and I did what girls do at sleep overs. We talked, we snuck out her window and smoked on the porch and then we talked and then we watched a movie and painted our nails and then we talked... you get the idea.
Sometime around one or two, we gave in and went to sleep.
Then the phone rang.
I remember waking up because the phone was ringing in the living room. I kept thinking why doesn't someone answer that? I mean, I knew it was the middle of the night but it's ringing so answer it. No one did. It rang until the machine picked up.
After the message rattled off and the thirty second beep sounded, the caller started talking:
Hi, this is Lani [my neighbor, like half mile away]. I am calling for Kate. Kate? Are you there? Please get up. Your house is on fire, Kate.
That was when Anne Marie's dad picked up the phone. It was that immediate crying you know? There is no shock, you just go right from normal to freaking the fuck out. I just buried my face in my pillow and cried and hoped that they were wrong. They had to be wrong. They were wrong. If I just ignore it, it will go away.
I heard her dad talking into the phone and then ending with "I'll tell her...."
I wanted to crawl under the bed. I wanted to hide in the closet. If he didn't tell me, it wasn't real. It didn't have to be real.
When he came in, he took Anne Marie into the hall. Maybe he thought I was asleep. Whatever the case, he did not want to be the one to tell me. He wanted her too. She knew I was awake, she knew I knew. She just came and laid down with me and let me cry. We never did go back to sleep that night. Jeff came over at around six the next morning.
I remember just laying there, in her bed while everyone tiptoed around me.
Everything was gone. The house was gone. Burned to the ground. The fire truck couldn't get there on time and it was wood you know. The whole thing was wood. It went up and was gone in a matter of minutes. Just gone.
My house.
My things... pictures, memories, toys from when I was a baby. Everything. Everything was just gone.
My mom didn't let me come home for a week and Anne Marie's parents let me stay. On the day mom finally let me come home, I remember packing up all of my stuff into my back pack and realizing that was all I had. Everything I had on the planet was in my back pack.
I stared out the window the whole time Jeff drove me home and he didn't say anything and I was so glad he didn't because I didn't want to talk.
When we pulled into my driveway, which was such a pretty driveway and got out to walk in the gate it was all gone. On top of the hill where our three story house had sat were some appliances and boards and nothing. Just gone.
It was strange, everything was blurry and bright and sharp. Too bright.
When I cried he held me. And when my mom and my uncle got there, he left.
I saw him once more before we left Hawaii to come back to Texas, but I had outgrown him. I had outgrown all of the fantasies of him wanting me. I had changed and suddenly those butterflies seemed so much less important.
He got married a year later and called me on his wedding day to tell me he missed me and he hoped I was doing good in Texas. That was the last time I ever talked to him.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 7:55 PM
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Who: katehopeeden
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