Wednesday, September 21, 2011


So I was watching this news show on TV about teenagers and how stupidly mean and cruel they can be to one another, with all the online bullying and that kind of crap that goes on. Suddenly, I flashed back to Elaine. Hadn't thought about her for many a moon. On a whim, I thought I'd try to look her up online. I've had little success trying to find people with ordinary's the proverbial needle in the haystack you'll never find unless it pokes you in the butt. But Elaine's last name was unique. I figured there couldn't be more than one of her out there, and I was right. I typed in her name and hit enter. And there it was. A whole extended family photo album from back in the day up to nearly present time had been transferred to the net, with captions identifying who was who. I began to scroll down...

We were both fourteen. Eighth graders in that tiny town. She was sort of cute, and I was attracted to her. One day I found myself walking her home. Somewhere along the way we stopped and engaged in a long, sweet, warm embrace. An innocent, but romantically charged kind of thing to be sure.

Then one night a bunch of us kids were out joyriding, and I ended up in the rear seat of the car as it wended its way along a dark Nebraska back road. Elaine was sandwiched in between me and one of my classmates...I'll call him him Buzz. I was thinking that this might be another opportunity for me and her to get cozy with one another.

And then...

I looked over and Buzz was making out with her. And he was feeling her up.


And she was letting him.

A myriad of emotions swirled around in my head. I was a bit behind on the learning curve, but it didn't take long to catch up. Elaine was the first "loose" girl that I had encountered at that tender age.

After a few minutes, there was a break in the action and Buzz looked over at me and said, "TAKE OVER."

And Elaine looked at me expectantly.

Now, had we all been ten years older, my response might have drawn some raised eyebrows, and likely some comment about me being a kinky kind of cat. But none of us were that hip at the time. I was nervous. And I think my sense of it was-- at that point--that she was already damaged goods. So I said...

"That's okay...I'd rather just watch."

A couple days later the phone rang and it was for me. Elaine was on the line. Before I could get a word out, she called me a few choice names. Then she said she was calling just to tell me that nobody liked me. In fact, everybody hated me. I was taken aback. Where was all this coming from? (As far as everyone hating me-- that's another story for another time.)

I couldn't believe that someone I was in the clinches with just a few days earlier could turn so hateful and mean. And it's quite likely that she started a one person crusade to turn most of my peers against me. It's taken me till now to grasp that Elaine must have felt rejected by me--in her dissolute sort of way-- in the back seat of the car that night. My first painful experience with a woman scorned.

So I'm scrolling down the family photo album, and there she is. Her high school graduation picture, taken just four years after the last time I ever spoke to her. She was dolled up and decked out, and even cuter looking than I remembered. But if you looked closely at her eyes, they looked sad.

Scrolling further down. There she is, at her sister's wedding. Older and...well...

It's incredible to watch someone you haven't seen since adolescence age before your eyes in a few minutes. And here we are--the new millennium arrived and we partied like it was 1999...and Elaine is a matronly, frumpy looking, somewhat overweight woman who didn't exactly hold her looks. Hey, it happens. I'll never criticize someone on that basis. Oh, and there's her husband. Uh-huh. Suffice it to say she stayed in that same rural area and married one of the local boys. They do look content together in that photo. They look like...well...they deserve each other.

I thought about what her life must have been like. I thought about what my life--alternately crazy, exciting, bizarre, the heights, the bottom, the travel, the glory, the faded glory, the women, the heartache...and, if nothing more, the fodder for writing--had been. There's no way to compare one life to another. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. I heard that in a song somewhere.

But I will admit to what I felt for a small moment when I had finished looking at that photo album.

It was a feeling of triumph.


  1. ha....yeah i hear you man...and back in the day she was taking out her own insecurities for sure...there were probably plenty of guys who would have jumped at the chance...back then i might have...

  2. I love this, the way you tell your stories. So, I guess I was right to be afraid to ride in cars with boys. That backseat can get a little crazy :) Oh, it's strange to see where people have ended up, isn't it? It does make for some interesting thoughts in every direction.

  3. BRIAN,
    Wouldn't we all like to have do-overs !

    Thanks so much. I have to be a little reverential when I think about the backseat, though--I'm sure it's where I was conceived!

  4. the memory of it sounds so clear the way you put it. it's amazing how certain memory stays with you no matter how much time has passed.

    if nothing else, you get to write about it.

  5. 'Hell hath no fury' as the saying goes. I can totally relate to your feelings in that back seat. (Nobody wants to be a second choice!)

    But, in her defense, she was also young and probably didn't fathom your feelings any more than you understood hers.

    That's why the nature of young love (or lust) is so temporal and temperamental. We learn hard lessons there.

    Another excellent write, Timoteo!

  6. I love this piece. Someone told me, every once in a while, its great to hear your "non-poet voice"...
    Its great to hear your non-poet voice, Tim.

  7. bet your pleased you didnt end up with her then tim some age ok and others just let them selves go once they are content with a partner i believe you should always look as good as you can whatever age and look nice for your man hmm and for yourself xxjen

  8. bet your pleased you didnt end up with her then tim some age ok and others just let them selves go once they are content with a partner i believe you should always look as good as you can whatever age and look nice for your man hmm and for yourself xxjen

  9. LISSA,

    You are spot on with all of that...thanks, dude!

    Thanks. I don't know if a poet can ever write with a non-poet voice, even when he's writing prose!

    Ain't if funny how some just LET THEMSELVES GO...where do they go? The go to pot !

  10. You had me, as it were, in that same back seat with you, feeling identical spurnings and soilings of my poet's heart housed in the hungry girl's body. Oh the roads we have traveled. This is a distinctive, honest, and beautifully crafted piece. I think that if we make it to the down side of the slope we assume that the bodies along the way never felt anything, that women are the only ones who feel wounded or damaged. Not true.

    One night coming back from a play rehearsal in high school I had been given a ride by the local mortician's son, also the student body president. I absolutely adored him. At some point I took the plunge and said, "Herbie, what would you do if I unbuttoned my blouse."

    The little asshole stopped the hearse, pulled over to the side of the road, reached for me and turned me over his knee and spanked me! And not the kinky kind either. Years later it turned out he was a pedophile.

    Thanks for sharing this and participating yet again. xxxj

  11. Jenne - wow that's quite the story.

    Timeteo - oh yeah I remember those people from school. Your story painted a very vivid picture for me of the reason why I was glad to leave it behind and why I would never go back. Nicely done my friend.

  12. JEN,
    What a story! What a strange dude! Maybe your first mistake was accepting a ride from someone who was driving a hearse! (Thanks for sharing, and your lovely comment.)

    Unfortunately, it seems that things have changed for the worse for many kids in the hell holes we call our public schools.

  13. hi tim im still around havent gone to pot lol whatever that is have a great weekend xxjen

  14. Poor Elaine! She was just some crazy, mixed-up kid. That said, I've had more than my share of Elaines (except they were more like Eliases, because they were male) and yup, it does feel good to know you dodged a bullet.

  15. JENNY,
    Another term would be "gone to seed." But I can see you haven't done that !!!

    Yeah, I forgive her. At that age, we can give someone the benefit of the doubt. The adults...not so sure.

  16. oh my, sweet memories, glad that you can still get inspired by tv news and write about your experiences to share.

    excellent story.
    Thanks for linking.

  17. ouch! wow! how sad! internet sure can suck though :(

    enjoy gooseberry day!

  18. Interesting story that many can relate to. Lots of strange things go on in the lifes of teens, then they grow up.

  19. This was a great read that led me to ponder my own love interest from school. Nah, you can never go back. Thanks!

  20. You are a sublime storyteller - and you're right, it is all great material for writing. Yeah. I would have felt a little sliver of triumph too. Nothing wrong with that at all!

  21. hi tim just called by to wish you a dreamy week xxjen

  22. loved your story tim - could've read on forever and ever...just recently met a guy i was very close with once and last time i saw him was 25 years ago...but he just looked the same somehow and that brought me a bit out of balance..

  23. Oh yes...I have shared that triumph. I've come to learn some burn through their glory days very young, before they even have a sense of what is passing them by, I welcomed my own glory days years later...but that's a story for another blog ;) LOVED your share! and the fact you passed on sloppy seconds :D

    No, we can never go back...except in our reverie.

    Except at the time, it didn't occur to me to just slough it off and say it'll be fodder for writing someday! Hindsight is 20/20, but foresight is always lacking aplenty.

    Thanks, dreamy lady!

    For some reason, I never run into old flames...or is it that they take rigorous
    measures to avoid me?

    SLOPPY SECONDS... HA ! Haven't heard that one in many a moon. You are truly cool, lady!

  25. Loved this read, Tim ... OMG! Memories of good times, vivid colours, twisted thoughts, patchouli smells, Janis, Jim ... no regrets, man, no regrets ever. Love, cat.

  26. you win! I like it when the good guys win.

  27. Wise decision indeed. Funny how you look at things years later and think how things could have gone way differently if one little decision was made another way. Great story.

  28. I, too, love it when the good guy wins. I also love your writing! Fantastic!

  29. I love the openness of your 'confession' speaks volumes to your memory and maturity and introspection, which I think was also there long ago it seems...

  30. Funny how we can define ourselves with a little age and experience under our belts, looking back to realize our emotions as an awkward teenager really weren't that awkward at all. In fact, I think yours were commendable. I'm a fence sitter, though Timoteo. My emotions run on both sides. On one side there is no question that she would have crushed my heart, because that embrace would have meant a lot more to me than apparently it did to her. I think there is a good chance that I would have been preparing to give her my total self, and see where it would lead. But then to see her doing the same thing with other guys...... It would have made me feel foolish, as though I wasn't "hip" or "cool" enough to go with the flow, to just use each other like machines. But then there is the other side of the fence: I would have ______ the ____ out of that girl anyway. I just never would have respected her in any way. And really, what's the difference? Because I think you lost respect for her too. But this is definitely a beautifully written story and I enjoyed it from top to bottom..... :)

    Thanks dudes!

    I so appreciate your insightful comment.