entelein: (rain)
[personal profile] entelein
I believe I dreamt of high school last night, of very specific people and things that happened when I was 15 and 16 years old. As much as I was terrified and shy and insecure back then, I also really loved a great many things about life. There was direction and flow and that giddy feeling in the pit of my stomach that felt like cold shivers and that moment right before one bursts into tears. No other feeling like it. So I spent ten minutes or so this morning, after my alarm sounded, re-living some old memories in my head as I slowly came awake. It's so bizarre, in a way, that practically none of you ever knew my first boyfriend, Eric. He was two years older than me, which was simply scandalous at that age, and he was a sweet boy with terrible spelling. He wrote me notes, though, because they made me happy - he'd write on blank paper with red pen, and after he learned my locker combo, would leave them on the top shelf with a stuffed animal or some other little gift. He was very into giving me flowers, too.

We hung out all the damned time, sometimes not doing much at all, which sometimes wigged him out. He didn't totally understand (or much like) just sitting and being with someone. Me, I know I'm comfortable with someone when I am happy to have no plans with them every now and again. Even at 15 I knew that much. We slow-danced to the The Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You," which my mom had on 45 and played directly from the old church basement Seeburg jukebox my family has. Our first kiss was so light I almost missed it. He once made lasagna for us, and I can still remember how delicious it was. We often ordered stuffed pizza from Eduardo's, with spinach and mushroom. That taste is exactly the taste of hanging out in a darkened chilly living room, with the soft glow of a Christmas tree, pushing curfew a bit too far. He had a Commodore 64, and I wrote letters to our Little Computer Person, who was named Lionel, and often turned green with illness and took to his bed, and had a disturbingly hilarious habit of shutting himself up in his bedroom closet with a scowly face, only to emerge ten minutes later, smiling and wanting to play 21.

And then I remembered Agree shampoo, and how awesome it smelled, and how much I would love a bottle of it today, except not at ridiculous eBay prices. And THAT set off a whole bunch of memories about Swimming in PE, and these crazy little old-timey changing booths we had, with tiny wooden benches and built-in hot air vents that looked positively steampunk and were only effective at keeping you from turning into an icicle in January, if you had the misfortune of getting Swim in the first six weeks of second semester ... the smell of Agree in my damp hair managed to cut through the chlorine smell, and it comforted me as I would pull on my air-vent-warmed blue Guess sweater that I wore until it was literally falling apart, slipped on my $5 Keds or knock-off canvas sneakers in some sort of kitschy tapestry pattern. It was only the best thing in the world to toss my threadbare school swim towel into the wash bin as I walked out of the locker room - the towels were orangey-mud colored, and when first dampened, had a sort of gag-worthy caramel smell to them from being washed so many times and then repeatedly soaked with highly-chlorinated water. The Agree scent would mix in with the rose perfume that hung out at the wrists and neck of my shirt or sweater, and I would bounce down the hall to my next class before the next bell.

I've been feeling almost chipper from this visit down memory lane - there were so many things I liked back then, and so many things I even liked about myself. I've gotten awfully good at becoming practical and dismissive of that stuff, sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes out of the sheer frustration of getting older and trying to keep all of my contexts in one place.

It's hard to describe.

But in a way, I never really veered too far from that version of me - even after all these many years. I am just now learning the affection I should have for that time in my life, for it is accurate to me. It is not discounted simply because other people did not know I was queer, or without religion (or any number of things that I knew about myself and did not share). I made that mistake far too often, and it really only hurts me, in the end.

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