Monday, 17 October 2005

Where are you now?*

You can't make stories like this up. Or that is, you can, but it would be unimaginative, lame and clicheed.

But this is true. I promised I'd tell the story of me and my first US Ex (from hereon out referred to as USX).

We met in a bar. I was an 18 year old virgin, and this was the first time ever I had met anyone in a bar, in any sense of the concept.

The bar was called after a famous movie star, and our story strangely ended up mirroring that of his most famous picture.

I was chatting to the bar tender one afternoon after school, probably doing my calculus homework at the same time. There was a lot of calculus homework in those days... Or maybe even worse, matrixes, or imaginary vectors or something else that I've successfully managed to forget by now.

The bar tender looked up to serve a young man who came to the bar, and then he said, so, USX, have you met ... She's a lovely 18 year old virgin (I'm not making this up, that was the bartender's idea of 'funny'). He said he hadn't. And then we got chatting.

This was about a week before my senior prom, and USX said he'd never get to go to his prom, because he graduated a year early and went abroad. So I invited him to mine.

On Prom night, he was wearing ridiculous socks but looked amazing in a suit. He was tall and lanky with amazing hair, the kind girls would kill for, long, wavy, blond, soft like that of a baby. He always wore it tied back.

We didn't know each other yet, but we got to know each other over the weekend as most other people at the dance were intolerably spoilt brats from Texas. The theme of the dance was Hollywood, and we sat at the table by the same name as the above star who had the bar named after him.

I don't know if I fell in love. I already had a broken heart. But he was so sweet, so different from all the superficial, self-obsessed, stone hearted and insecure guys I knew.

He was like an ancient hermit trapped in the body of an 18-year old. His dad used to make him play football because he thought he was gay. I dreamt he would write me songs on his guitar.

I took him to the afterparty and we kissed. We kissed for a long time, and he had the softest lips I have ever felt.

We had 22 days together, then he had to move home because his mother had a brain tumour.

The night before he left he had a leaving party. I fixed two of my friends up, they're married now. A girl had a fit and had to be taken to hospital.

We spent most of the night awake, lying on his bed, partly clad; he didn't want to have sex with me because he said he didn't want to be remembered as someone who hurt me. But in a way I still lost my virginity to him that night.

After orgasming he fell asleep, the kind of person who is incredibly vulnerable when awake, so when they're asleep one look at them will tell you that this person will have their heart broken again and again until there's nothing left of it.

I got up, washed my mouth out and sat in the living room with his friends watching the sun come up and drinking Black Tower. Then I slept next to him for maybe an hour, before he had to get up for the airport.

He let me follow him into town; he waited for the airport shuttle in the bar with the filmstar name. He cried. I cried too. He said he thought he could have loved me. A few weeks later he sent a letter saying; what a stupid thing to say, of course I love you.

I moved abroad, but not to him, it was too far. We talked on the phone and kept exchanging letters but love fades so fast when you're that age, even when you think it never will.


*sung in the style of Desiree in that track in Luhrman's R&J

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