SO if I told you the name of the first boy I kissed, you'd know right away, I went to a prep school. Boys at public school don't have names like this. But I don't kiss and tell, so you'll have to imagine. Actually I did kiss and tell. It was the fall of 8th grade. This boy, let's call him J Crew Fantasy #1, picked me up, and we walked downtown to the State Theater in Ann Arbor. This was when it was still the great big old theater. Before they turned it into an Urban Outfitters/cineplex. We went to see Hoosiers (prep school boys are just as romantic as public school boys). I remember his arm grazing mine on the armrest, and thinking that my heart might explode from my chest. I have no recollection of the movie that day. Although I saw it years later, and thought it was pretty good. Minus Dennis Hopper. What a ham.
Ok, so JCF#1 walked me home, and there on my front porch, he leaned in and kissed me. This was no G rated romper room kiss. He kissed WITH TONGUE. I think he even Mike Tyson'd me, (his arms extended over my shoulders pinned to the porch wall), but I can't be certain of this. I might have made that part up. Ok, so once I scraped myself off the steps, I ran inside and called my best friend. "JCF#1 just kissed me, on the front porch, WITH TONGUE".
I broke up with JCF#1 several weeks later, even though I was IN LOVE. We were sitting on the front porch again, and he wanted to kiss. I could tell, because he kept leering at me, and the glare off his braces was blinding. The problem was, I didn't know how to kiss sitting down. Sigh... I panicked. As I would often handle awkward situations later in life, I became a mute. My mind was racing. "Do I turn my head sideways?" "Should I turn my whole body to face him?" Oh my god, has there ever been a stupider teenager??? Ok, so as the freaking kama sutra of porch kissing positions, scrolled through my brain, JCF#1, quickly became irritated, because outwardly, I was silent and stone faced. Finally, he said "What's wrong, do you want to break up?" Rather than admit the mortifying truth, that I was not the worldly woman, I made myself out to be, I said "Yes". He stormed off, leaving me on the porch to contemplate my own social retardation.
This little anecdote is the prelude to a J Crew Fantasy #2. After 10th grade, I was sent to boarding school. I say after 10th grade, and not junior year, because this place had a summer program, and my mom got me on the first space shuttle going east, trunk packed, mayhem left behind. After the awkward porch kiss incident, things went downhill fast. My parents started sleeping in separate rooms, and then separate houses, and then next thing you know, they're divorced, and JCF#1 and I (now friends) are smoking large quantities of pot on the nature trail behind the school, amongst other infractions worthy of expulsion. SO, I'm shipped off to boarding school in Maine, which might sound lovely to you, dear reader. But that's because you are an adult, who appreciates bountiful lobster, and brilliant fall color shows. I was a pissed off teenage girl (worlds most dangerous and volatile weapon).
By the time junior year started, I had settled in somewhat. No more sneaking smokes, no more running away (that's a story for another time). And part way through that fall semester JCF#2 arrived from Chicago. This boy, was so handsome, I wanted to throw myself on his mercy, beg to be his slave. But I was insolent, and again, terrified... so... silent. Good thing too, because, as I slowly got to know JCF#2, I realized there was something very, very, wrong with him. And I'm going to say it right here, I think it was all his mother's fault. For starters, every item of clothing he owned was from J Crew. Even his socks, and boxers, were from J Crew. Coming from Michigan, I had never seen a boy wearing designer (or what passed for that in my tiny world) socks and underwear. My dad and brother were strictly Hanes men. Tidy whities and tube socks. You know, MEN. So at first this was appealing to me, exotic.
But JCF#2's personality left something to be desired. Namely a personality. He had somehow never developed one. He was vain, shallow, dull, somewhat aggressive, totally lacking in substance. He was this beautiful boy, with a charmed life, and NOTHING to offer anyone. And, again, I blame his mother. He was spoiled. As in spoiled fruit. Rotten boy.
Sometimes, when I hug Jack, I think I could squeeze him hard enough to pop him like a grape. I can't be close enough. When he's not near me in distance, he is always on the forefront of my mind. I do things for this child, that I never thought I would be patient, or generous, enough to do for another person. When he is frightened, or upset, my entire world stops, regardless of what was concerning me the moment before. When he says "Look Mommy" for the 14th time in as many seconds, I inevitably, look. When I'm divvying up some delicious treat, I always give him more, wether it be eggs, or sweets. When I'm out shopping, I forgo designer dresses (most of the time) to buy him organic cotton onesies, and sailor trousers from France. Sometimes for no reason at all I think "Jack needs a new garbage truck" and off I go to get him one. I love that boy, more than I knew I had love to give.
But as I was shuffling through one of his drawers the other day, this sinking feeling came over me. I looked around. His room is filled with perfect things. His life is filled with perfect things. His life is about as good as a little boy's life can be. I know our generation grew up with divorce, and latchkeys, and Depeche Mode, and sometimes we think, if only our parents had done a little bit more, maybe we wouldn't be so... so... well, how we are. Neurotic, terrified of everything from plastic, to public schools. I'm going to try hard to keep my desire to make everything for him perfect. To remember that sometimes life is filled with disappointment, and longing. And sometimes these are the best, most memorable parts.
I will not turn Jack into a listless, cardboard, J Crew Fantasy, of any kind. Although I can't promise I won't buy him any more French sailor pants.