Love Story: Part 1

*Disclaimer: Josh read this after I wrote it to be sure that I didn't make him look bad got the details right.*

I remember the first time I saw Josh. First day of 9th grade. We were in the computer room class, upstairs in the corner next to the beaten-to-death lockers. He was from public school. He was quiet. I knew that immediately. And my chatty, high-pitched group of friends and I were immediately drawn to him. I had a crush on him already. So did my girlfriend. Lisa was my hyper, boy-crazy, loud friend. She was obsessed. They started dating, but he & I were drawn to each other almost immediately. I spent more time on the phone with him, hanging out with him, & getting to know him than I did with my girlfriends. He quickly became my best friend. They dated for 3 months. I went with them on dates, was there when they had their first kiss, and she sat on my bed, sobbing when they broke up. My only thought when she broke up with him was, "how can I sneak away for a few minutes to call Josh & make sure he's ok without her knowing?" 

8th grade graduation with "the group." We thought we were cool, but looking back, we all realize how terribly uncool we were.
At least we had each other.
Me & Lisa in my favorite car ever, my Ranger, circa 2002.

Sophomore year was much of the same. We spent lots of time together, all the while, developing feelings for each other. Everyone, and I mean, everyone told us that we would get married one day. We'd laugh & pretend that we were repulsed. This is where it gets stupid, which is saying something when reflecting on your high school days. We laid the cards on the table.  Me: "I like you." Josh: "Yeah, I like you too, but I just worry that if we dated now, we would regret it later if we broke up over something stupid when maybe it could have been something more special."  #jawdrop A 16-year-old boy just told me that he didn't want to date me now because we could ruin something that might be a long term thing one day in the future. I remember standing in the living room, stumped. What just happened here? What a weirdo!

With a bruised ego, I was pissed. I would show him. That December, I met a younger guy at school. He was funny, nice & he played basketball. I sat at the lunch tables with my girlfriend and said, "He's going to take me to Winter Formal." And he did. And boy, did it bother Josh. Not only was I suddenly smitten with someone else, but I was pulling away from him. It weirded the new guy out that I was so buddy-buddy with Josh. He didn't get it, so I pulled away from Josh & got mean. Like teenagers do. I am literally squinting as I type because of what a jack-faced butthole I was. In the entire 3-month span of new guy & I dating, I had crushed Josh. I was mean, combative & cutting. I'd like to say that my feelings were hurt, that he had rejected me & that it had hurt me, but really, I had become a calloused, nasty, mean girl. And as mean as I was, he remained my friend as much as I would let him. He was never mean, always kind, always my cheerleader (in a manly, hot kind of way). The night that I got dumped, I ran to my best friend's house for some Patrick Swazye, chocolate & a sob fest. Josh called to check on me. I was sitting on Julie's bed, sniffling, but I remember when he called. I tease him now that he was just swooping in as soon as I wasn't dating the dude, but he said he was genuinely worried about me & checking on me. He's nicer than I am, so I tend to believe him.

The next day my dad picked me up from Julie's house, and told me he was glad I had had this experience. I will never forget my awkward silence. Life resumed as usual. I went to school, I wrote notes in class, and I slowly (slow like molasses) started hanging around Josh again. We slowly got back into our groove. Lunches together, seeking each other out in every crowd, and the marathon phone calls where we would just breathe into the phone for hours on end, with nothing interesting to say. I had missed doing nothing & everything with him. And he was back.

 Me & Julie, sophomore year.

Post-break-up, close friends again.

To be continued...

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