How we met, part 1:
You might be wondering about now how I came to make the decision that this guy TripletKing (TK) was worth packing up all my crap, selling my house, and moving far away (Maryland to California) from my friends, job and church, right? And naturally everyone second-guessed that decision for months, although the engagement helped calm some people’s worries. Especially all the bitter burned women friends I have who thought no man would be worth such a sacrifice. And they usually aren't are they? But to understand how I could already know this guy was different enough to take the risk for before I headed for California you’d have to know more about my dating past, and possibly more about how we met.
You might think that when there are only 50 people in your high school class for 5 years that you’d know everyone intimately by your senior year, but TK and I didn’t really meet until then. See, he was the true definition of computer geek and therefore spent every moment when he wasn’t in classes in the computer room, or the video arcade downtown. He was slightly socially inept, especially around girls, as the stereotype works and therefore hung out with the rest of the socially inept, slightly unclean computer guys who actually referred to themselves as the ‘nerd herd’. Now, mind you we were attending the geekiest high school in all the contiguous states, possibly even all 50 states. You had to test to get into this high school and many of my classmates had already skipped grades in grade school. Because we were so ‘smart,’ our school had a habit of combining 7th and 8th grade into one year. So when we were seniors in this high school, we ranged from ages 14 to 17 max. TK was 15, I was 16 and as it is in most high schools, 15 year old boys are not the coolest regardless of their love for the computer room. But even in a geek high school there are gradations of geek. There were cool geeks, jock geeks, the popular girl geeks and druggie geeks. My group, the average, kinda normal, but not really standing out in any way geeks who could pass for normal high school kids on the street. Despite the fact that TK probably could have held his own in the average geek crowd, the fact that it consisted mostly of girls and his love of computers placed him firmly in geekiest boy clique.
This was before the computer age had struck. Back when every computer screen was black with either orange or green print on the screen, pre-mouse era, pre-instant message. So we had no clue that these guys, the geekiest of the geeks, were likely to be millionaires once they developed computer software no one else had thought of before. We just didn’t hang out together very often.
Anyway, TK decided to break ranks with the boys senior year, and chose an elective class that apparently no other guy chose. He and I had both signed up to take a class called Social Advocacy taught by Mrs. Baker and Ms. Wysocki, an elective about social issues like poverty and illiteracy. As typically sheltered middle class Midwestern kids we had no reason to have really been exposed to the realities of the world. Having attended a school for the gifted like we had for the previous 4 years, meant we had rarely been exposed to minorities much less minority issues. Our classrooms were full of different skin colors, but they were children of Indian and Pakistani engineers who were professors at the University, not black children of the ‘other side of the tracks.’ And Champaign-Urbana did actually have an ‘other side of the tracks’ literally. The train tracks cut through the city and the difference between the houses on one side and the run down shacks and projects on the other side were just as it has been described in many books. After 6th grade in an elementary school with bussing I never had cause to interact with those kids because most of their parents hadn’t pressured them to take the test to get into Uni.
So, TK was the only boy in this socially responsible class, the big softie. No hiding or napping for him in this class. (yes, he had that habit, he admits it freely.) At first I became his friend because I felt like he needed one amongst all of the estrogen. Not that teenage girls really have a lot of estrogen, but they sure do have a lot of hormones of some sort. Thank God they weren’t all in love with him because that would have made class annoying. I immediately took pity on him, and since I was just beginning years of being attracted to men because they were the underdog, I even felt more than friendship towards him. We talked a lot from the start but then we became closer. We truly had a kinship that we were way too young to understand. The truth was, we were hot for each other but too stupid to do anything about it. I used to lay in bed at night and imagine kissing him on the ridiculously 80s water bed that I somehow knew he had. We talked on the phone for hours but never said what we were feeling. Thank God for that, no doubt we’d have screwed it all up.
Well we did, kind of, anyway. All good things must come to an end, especially if you’re an overdramatic, terribly romantic, deeply emotionally disturbed teenager, as we both were. Due to the insanity of teenage brains we did end our friendship on a very sour note. Somehow TK wrote me a letter that he thought said how he felt about me, a love note perhaps, into which he poured all of his deep loving feelings for me. I then received a letter from him that I thought supposedly betrayed our friendship and in which he said that he believed all the untruths that another classmate had been spreading about me. I supposedly read that he was suicidal over my drinking (uh, didn’t happen!) while he had written how much he loved me. Naturally, when I wrote him a scathing, vicious, raging letter telling him what I thought about his suicidal tendencies and what he could do with his self righteous condemnation of behavior I hadn’t even committed, he was a little stunned. In fact the scar still remains today of the heartbreak he felt. He felt he had handed that heart to me and I had burned it at the stake. Both of us were brokenhearted actually, because I had just lost my best friend. Well, seeing as how both his original letter and my scathing reply were burned over 15 years ago, we’ll never know the truth of it, but needless to say we both walked away angry, betrayed, bitter, and not friends.
To be continued.....
To be continued.....