The Girl in the Blue Blue Jeans
She was my first love at first sight. But I swear I didn't see her. Not at first.
It was like this:
It was the summer before I was going to be a freshman in High School. I had already been practicing with the marching band for six weeks, so in a way I already was a freshman. She was a junior. The upper classmen didn't have to practice the first part of the summer, the first six weeks, so I had never seen her before. Her and a couple of guy friends showed up a day before they had to to supposedly harass us, but in fact they were just there to see the new faces.
Us under-classmen or lowest-caste men or whatever you call it or whatever we were, we had already been practicing for a couple of hours, drowning in our own sweat in the brutal Texas sun. Now, logically I know, and I remember, that I first saw her in the distance, in my peripheral vision, as she and her couple of friends walked towards us across the practice fields. And I most certainly know that I must have seen her, at least surreptitiously glanced at her, when she was ten feet in front of me barking the marching commands. But I was too afraid to look directly at her and this must have been the most important fact because I swear the first thing I saw wasn't her walk, wasn't her gestures, wasn't her face, but her blue jeans--just a little patch of a few inches of her thigh.
They were dark, dark blue. 501 button-fly's. The coolest jeans you could possibly own. Even more important than Izods and Polos were 501 button-fly's. I remember hers had that beautiful fuzz, almost down, that is particular and peculiar to 501's that hadn't been washed that many times. It wasn't just 501's you wanted; you wanted 501's that were new, 501's that were still the deepest original blue with that white downy fuzz.
All that I was brave enough to look at, all that I was willing to dare being caught staring at, was that down and blue on her beautiful thigh.
And she was beautiful. I know this because after an eternity I finally started looking her. Especially her beautiful, beautiful face. I started to look at her not just because I wanted to look at her, but because I wanted to defy her. I wanted to find something wrong with her so I could cure this incipient disease, this thing that would surely only end badly. But there was nothing wrong with her. She was better than perfect--she was new, she was real. She didn't have the look or what I thought I wanted most, she was what I wanted most and hadn't even known I had wanted. She wasn't just something novel. She was a discovery. She was a revelation. And I hadn't even been looking for anything. I hadn't been paying attention. My guard wasn't up. I had been melting in the sun, just wanting the day to be over so I could collapse on the couch in my parent's air-conditioned house and the universe surprised and amazed me by presenting something more wonderful and beautiful than I had ever imagined. Some people say that if you ever experienced even more than a fraction of God's grandeur you would be annihilated. I had glimpsed The Beauty behind The Veil and could think of nothing but wanting more.
Which isn't to say she was anything more than a girl. But that's like saying someone is only the most interesting and beautiful person you've ever met; that someone is ONLY a human being, a great human being. There are few things greater, if any.
She had shoulder-length hair that was brown with a golden hue. Green eyes. A sharp nose and a slightly freckled face. Delicate, long-fingered hands. Waif-width shoulders on a slender frame. Long legs to a narrow waist. A collar bone begging to be kissed. Pouting lips with a permanent, endearing smirk. One tooth among perfect teeth that angled slightly forward. She smelt of almonds and honeysuckle. She moved as if the earth could barely keep her from floating away. Her voice was bright. Her words, quick. Her laugh embracing and bold. Her smile--a smile that makes you forget who you are.
She had the habit of wearing only one dangling ear-ring in her left ear and a stud in her right. I have never seen anyone ever do this before, then or since. It would probably look silly on someone else. But like everything else about her, it worked. It was a natural part of her. Another thing that made her unique.
She glossed her lips to the point where they were impossibly wet. Unlike every other girl, she wore no bracelets at all. She didn't tie her barely long enough laces, she knotted the ends to keep them from pulling through the uppermost eyelets. She never put pictures in her pendant and she never checked her watch.
The first time we met I felt like she was messing with me and I still feel like this now. Ostensibly, she was flirting or at the very least being very nice, but it felt like she was playing with the little kid who liked her. She thought it was cute. It's nice to be adored.
It had been a couple of days since I'd first seen her and it was one of the first times I wasn't thinking about her. I was running up and down the stairs outside the band hall chasing my best friend for some unknown reason. We hardly ever chased each other unless there was a third and it was keep-away. We were having fun and we were acting like little kids; we were being unusually childish, or child-like, depending on your perspective. When I wasn't thinking about it and just having fun, I was child-like. If I stopped and thought what I was doing I'd probably feel childish. In some ways that's what it often was to be a fourteen-year-old.
After a while we collapsed at the top of the stairs just enjoying giggling and trying to catch our breaths. Seemingly out of nowhere, her and a friend appeared below standing on the grass. After smirking a second they asked us if we would like to chase them. And then they laughed. They couldn't have been laughing with us because they hadn't been part of the fun. We weren't laughing with them because we didn't know what to make of what they had said. So it sure seemed like they were laughing at us. And I resented it. She had killed a pure moment when I wasn't thinking about much at all, certainly not her, and reminded me that I was just a boy.
There was a dorky looking senior with thick glasses who lived in my neighborhood and would give me rides home. I inarticulately tried to tell him what had happened. He laughed but also almost angrily told me that if a pretty girl talks with you, you should just be glad.
And that's when I made my fatal mistake. I thought maybe, just maybe, she might like me; that she might actually be interested in me. I thought that one day I might kiss her.
So I started talking with her. All the time. And we got along. It's odd, I can't really remember most of our conversations, I just remember that they were happy and long. Soon she was the one giving me rides home even though she didn't live close by. Sometimes we would just drive around in search of a Slurpee. Sometimes we'd hang in the parking lot singing Madonna. Well, she'd sing with Madonna, I'd just mainly listen to her. We would scrounge for change in her ashtray for her cigarettes which she would later ash and flick out the open window. She drove with one hand. Her dash was sun-cracked and her tires were bald. Her car was a faded tan behemoth with a trunk for six. I swear I was in love with her.
Then school started and it wasn't exactly the same. There wasn't band and then a lazy afternoon, there was school, which was a lame, dull imposition 'till I could see her again. I taught myself Algebra II just so I could tutor her. When she wasn't supposed to go out I'd ride my bike miles just to see her. I'd talk to her on the phone for hours just to hear her. But I knew it was slipping away and there was nothing I could do about it.
I had to do something. I had to tell her something. If things had to change, I was going to make them change for the better, not for the worse.
Or maybe I just wanted a spectacular end.
So then one day like every good little High Schooler, I asked her to go with me. That meant that I liked her liked her. And she laughed. I never would've thought that bright, beautiful laugh could break my heart. Current Mood: not blue