May 1, 2012
My girl with her arm around me giving me a sip of my favorite beer. OK, so that's my hand and probably some apple juice, but she was leaning in!
That was a joint birthday party for my brother (the ketchup lover) and I both born in January. I was in 2nd grade. My mom, Toni (I called both of my parents by their names even then...weird), had Kim seated next to me. She knew how much I liked her.
Same story a year earlier. Obviously our favorite meal, pigs in a blanket, didn't change and we thought suckers jammed into various fruit was shear genius.
I loved having Kim there, but with year long gaps between visits I remember being at a loss as to what to say to her. Was I ever normal?
When my dad sold our first briefly owned house to Eddie Diamond we rented an old house with the standard front porch in downtown Canton, Ohio for maybe a year. I awoke in that new place. I remember counting to 100 for the first time. There was a candy store that my mom would walk us to with good stuff like those candy dots stuck to paper, and there were lots of kids on our street. One of those was Kim. I don't remember anything about time spent with her there.
We moved from there to Lake Cable just before I entered kindergarten. I was kind of an asshole. I hated my parents for moving me away from Kim. I hurt for what seemed like an eternity to a 5 year old. When I finally "got over it" (over the pain, but still skewed) I remember thinking to the conclusion that it was better never to let myself like someone that much. The few people that I've told this to don't think that's possible at such an early age. Unfortunately, every once in a while I like someone that much.1
Though some have doubted it, I've liked women ever since I can remember. If I was ever natural I wasn't after that. I was however independent thinking and strong until I went to Catholic school in the 5th grade and things went wrong.2 In kindergarten I remember my mom asking if I liked any of the girls in my class. I probably didn't give much of an answer. There was one girl I thought was nice that I kind of liked, but not like I liked Kim. When I was in first grade I was playing with a couple of "normal" kids who were doing the "I hate girls" thing. I reasoned somewhat simply and told them that all of our parents were married so we'd probably be married someday too.
I don't remember that comment having any effect. Maybe I missed a shared WTF-is-wrong-with-this-dude look.3 They've probably married a couple of times by now, and I'm still looking. On the other hand I wasn't one of those boys I remember in early grade school who would brush a girl's hair. Do those grow up to be nice guys who marry early or hair dressers?
Kim Who??? Once we moved I only saw her on those two birthdays ...and one other time. In a way I've been looking for her ever since. Wish I knew the rest of her story.
1. All kinds of ways that could be read. Written with a broad, reluctant smile emerging from the pain.
2. Don't get the wrong idea about the Catholic school reference. My story has nothing to do with any foreign hands fondling me.
3. Reminds me of a time I was in the Home Depot garden center. I was probably stealthily snipping a cutting or two to propagate into new plants. A couple was shopping with their two kids of around this age. The son was pushing a cart with his dad and the daughter was pushing a cart with her mom. My language skills fail me now so let's just call them rednecks. I don't remember the exact conversation but it was a doozie. The father referring to the pot in his wife's cart asked his son "Do we like that?" And the son said "no, cuz it's be-ewe-ti-ful", with as turdly an intonation as the word can have. Ah, the parenting skills for raising perfect little assholes. The thing is, it was the ugliest damn pot, a multi-colored, purple flecked piece of cheap plastic! So the women get docked too for bad taste in pots and men.