1. My longest-lasting-never-coming-to-fruition high school crush was a John. He always had a girlfriend but I was in all his classes junior year. I thought I was over him but then we drove together across Texas at the beginning of senior year. I was still just crazy enough to take the seat in the middle between him and his new girlfriend. They broke up by the end of the weekend retreat but John never so much as asked me to go out dancing. I finally asked him, and that was the last time I ever asked anyone out anywhere. He was polite but declined.
2. My last high school boyfriend was a Johnny, not a John. Typical ADHD gifted nightmare. Our socioeconomic differences were hard to overcome and his childhood trauma even harder. I was too young to handle someone so fun, so broken, so much not fully realized. We broke it off when I came home after freshman year. He was still a busboy, not in college. I couldn't wait for him to figure it out (he did).
3. This John was 11 and hurting and I was his teacher and I wanted to put him in my car and be his superhero. I lost touch with him for three years and he called out of the blue. More radio silence for a solid decade and I find him on Facebook. Two months later he's living in my house and everyone in my life is like WTF BRIDGETT. It was complicated and I doubt even my closest friends understood any of it. We had two good hard summers together, then fleeting contact here and there. I hugged him goodbye outside the emergency room and I knew it was our last goodbye, I knew it with my whole self. He wrote me from jail one time in pencil. I still have the letter. And then he died.
4. John, Fr. John this time, I fell in love with this man completely and irresponsibly. He had eyes the color of my son's, was as gay as a priest could get away with, sung show tunes from the pulpit, and one Holy Thursday after a long Lent, I went up to have my feet washed and he did so, kneeling in front of me, and then kissed the top of my foot like it was the two of us alone in that church with no one around. But I wasn't shocked by the gesture, I reveled in it. I needed that kind of intimacy and we were great friends, outlasting his move to another parish and almost surviving my divorce, until the week my daughter was in the PICU and he didn't come through for me in any fashion. He broke my heart like no lover ever has. I don't even have his phone number anymore.
5. And John. As in, the john. As in, the bathroom at my old house. Most specifically, not the john, not the toilet, but the bathtub. Six foot soaking tub with nickel plated claw feet and pristine porcelain. Oh I miss it. I now live in a house built in a more sensible era with a sensible modern tub. But love isn't sensible. And I miss that tub.
I love this.ReplyDelete
I knew some of this but not all of it. I'm laughing at you squeezing in between John #1 and his girlfriend, and I'm really glad that John #2 figured life out, because I think I've only heard some of the negatives there. John #3 of course. And if John #4 disappointed you, he's a disappointment to me too. Laughing again at John #5. I hope you get a claw-footed bath again some day.
John #2 is married to a social worker, has a daughter the age of my Maeve. He's a fire captain in Houston and seems good. It's good.ReplyDelete
What is it about Johns--they're all heartbreakers. My first love was John Hunting in Grade 1. Actually, he was almost everyone's first love in Grade 1. He broke many hearts that year.ReplyDelete
You excel at mixing humour with pathos--this is fabulous. As is the sound of that bathtub. Why oh why must we settle for sensible when there is sublime?
I want to echo this great humour with pathos statement. So well put, Helen.Delete
". . . so much not fully realized." Oh, my . . . These are all great.ReplyDelete
My daughter's Johnny was a first-grade love too, Helen. I never met him, but one day noticed this totally adorable kid in a car going through the bank drive-in. Yes, it was Suzanne's Johnny.
My John was a beyond-handsome Yalie I had a major crush on one summer in my mid-teens. He picked me up once to carry me on the hot road, and I wrote a poem about it--30 years later.
I wanted to ask about John #2, but you've already answered my questions in your comments. You all write wonderfully. It's so good to be back.ReplyDelete
My John was a banjo player. I was in love. He changed my life.ReplyDelete
Love is never sensible. I have a history with Richards, and vow to not meet any more. Are you cautious with Johns now? Beautiful and sad and full of joy - your style.ReplyDelete
I actually have no John's in my life right now. No students, coworkers, friends,neighbors, relatives. Suddenly that strikes me.Delete
Johns. My only John broke my heart, but in hindsight, thank the heavens he did.ReplyDelete