Tag Archives: choices

Young Love.

4 Sep

I hated him the moment he walked through the door. He looked older than his very young years. Not old; mature, distinguished, chiseled, even with a slightly round face and Great Pumpkin head. He was clean shaven and deeply tanned. He wore an aqua-green polo shirt and acid-washed jeans. His hair was close cropped and “brown” wasn’t an accurate color description; “bronze” is perhaps the closest. The same applied to his eyes: just when you thought they were nothing special, a simple turn of his head made the rich forest green hidden within the iris sparkle. He smelled like a deodorant or cologne that had the word “breeze” or “wave” in the name. He had a perfectly formed yet honking schnozzola and over-plumped pillow lips sheened with what I assumed was a balm of some sort, but soon discovered was just plain-old saliva from his habitual lip-licking. He was absolutely monstrous. In a few months I’d be head-over-heels in love with him.


I am surrounded by youth. Sometimes I forget how young they are, but I’m reminded every time I fall in love with them. It’s not as disturbing as it sounds: I work at a university. They’re all, with the exception of one 16-year-old genius that I did not love, at least 18-years-old. I know; it’s still pretty bad. But how could I not love them? Everything is so important all the time; every relationship will last forever; sex is terrifying and dangerous and no big deal; secrets abound; gossip is nourishment; fashion and music and ever-changing slang and adventures and unnecessary risks and always tomorrow and the next day and the next. This is what it is to be age 18 – 30 and in college. I’m counting the older end of the student spectrum because something happens to you when you’re surrounded by newness and the promise of something, anything and so much hope. It changes you. It does not always make you better.


“I can’t believe you guys hired him! He’s such a jerk. He talks back to professors, when he’s not interrupting them.” Good, another reason hate him, and from a reliable source, him with his dumb face and dumb hair and dumb voice.

I wouldn’t talk to him, outside of giving him work orders, this cretin who so blatantly disregarded the hierarchy of academia. “Who do you think you are?” I thought, glaring at him over the top of my computer’s monitor. Him with his sweet, minty breath, perfumed by the gum he constantly, loudly chewed, his juicy lips endless smacking away. “I hate you” I’d whisper to myself. “I hate you and your fuzzy-duckling hair and humungo nose that still seems perfectly suited to your face.”

“I hate you,” I thought. “You are dumb and awful and I hate you.”


“We should go to lunch! We’re both off that day. Come to my place for lunch.” Her place is a retirement community in a moderately wealthy town. She is my work friend, a Chinese woman that never wears a bra and brings me tuna sandwiches and oranges that are always too ripe for my taste.

She’s older than 50, but younger than 70. I think. She’s married to an older white man, hence the retirement facility, even though she works two jobs. Three, if you count the slaving away she does for him. She tells me all the time how young I am, that there’s plenty of time, but to be careful. Be very careful about men. They will ruin your life if you choose wrong. She chose wrong. She left a man in China that adored her but didn’t want to move to America. Years later, after his broken heart mended, he married. He adores his wife. Everyone talks about what a good husband, what a good man he is. My friend’s husband is not a good man, but he is stunningly handsome and robust, despite terminal illness.

She says that I deserve someone nice, a good man. I do not tell her that I think I am in love with a horrible boy in his twenties and am in complete denial and don’t want to meet any other men and have, therefore, already chosen wrong.


“Have you ever seen Key and Peele’s East/West College Bowl? It’s a skit about- here, let me just play it for you.” I finally started to talk to him. I can’t remember why.

I somehow learn that he plays football. He plays a position that I pretend to have heard of. I am immediately embarrassed by my attempt, that seems to come out of nowhere, to connect with him. He makes me uncomfortable, mostly because he’s not as ugly as I thought, once I really took a good look at him.

His very presence reminds me that I am old and yet, under-experienced.  The students always think I am 10-15 years younger than I am actually am. I hate correcting them, but lying feels desperate and foolish. His beauty – because, I have to admit, he was, in a way, beautiful – reminds me that I’m fat, and that maybe it was a bad idea to stop straightening my hair, and that though my face looks young, it is only marginally attractive, and only sometimes.

I show him the Key and Peele skit, my hand trembling over the mouse as I click on the screen. He’s too close to me. As the clip plays, he starts to giggle. Not laugh. He giggles. The way a baby does when you tickle its belly or make those loud kissing noises on their neck and fat cheeks. My friend once told me not to make those kissing noises on her baby because the sound of them was too loud and would damage his hearing. We aren’t friends anymore.

I was shocked that this lip-licking, gum-smacking, football-playing, so-ugly-he’s-actually-handsome cool kid was giggling with abandon. It was gross and horrible and probably what made me fall in love with him.

To Be Continued. . .

 

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