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  • Nemi

Empty Cans...

My first real crush probably took place between my sophomore and senior year of high school. Tonight, I might just rip off the bandage I've had affixed to me for some time. It's not as though I feel like I missed out on life because of what took place but much of me was developed after certain events took place.

For you to know the 14/15/16 year old me, you would only have to go as far as thinking of school, sports, Nintendo, and sports. Coming from a foreign land and being immigrants, my parents didn't care about how well I could spin a ball on my finger or how many baskets I could score, they were concerned with how my grades were shaping up and what I'd do after high school. I tried to explain to my dad that my Nintendo video game playing career could take me far but he would stare at me and ask, "Who's child are you, where did you come from..." (I have yet to show him the articles of the guys making hundreds of thousands of dollars playing games).

It was my sophomore year when she entered our school and entered my heart. I was all of 5'4, 115Ibs soaking wet, and she was woman! To be honest, The Wonder Years television series didn't help either because I thought she looked like Winnie and I was already playing the role of Kevin so nicely.

I couldn't begin to tell you how we became friends but I can tell you that she was my best friend for those two year. We would write notes to each other in between classes, stare at each other from across the room, and then talk on the phone after school, so much to the point there were times the phone operators would buzz into the line to inform me that people were attempting to reach my parents. I know, I know, I know, hard to even fathom right.

Many mornings I'd wait outside of the buildings, at school, just to watch her parent's car pull up and her get out of the car with that twinkle in her eyes, that smile on her face when she would see me. This was the age of innocence, the age where a smile was like holding hands and a kiss well a kiss would make one legendary. As I'm typing this, I'm laughing as well thinking of the legends who I went to school with (haha).

In the pecking order on campus, I was just the nicest kid on the block, probably nerdy too since my parents never let me stray too far, and I was also tiny. The older kids would tease and joke and the kids within my class would circle around as though we were in a fraternal understanding (Phi Alpha Lamda Beta Nu).

As time went on and our liking grew, me and "Winnie" would actually stand closer to each other on campus and there were those rare times we'd touch hands almost like we were holding hands for a moment (MIND BLOWN)! The notes were heating up too with salutations of, "See you soon Q-T". It was nearly impossible to explain to my parents that this woman thought I was cute, they especially didn't want to hear of anything coming from me saying how much I liked her.

On many occasions my father would laugh at me and shake his head and then say her name repeatedly. My parents knew I was in the throws of the greatest times of my teenage years but they never fully let me ride off into the sunset.

It was the end of my junior year when I found out "Winnie" wasn't going to be attending my school any longer. To say I was crushed would be an understatement, I was losing my best friend and I had zero control of the situation. I remember like it was yesterday how we embraced and promised each other that we'd keep in contact and nothing would change. Ooooh that damn summer of '93.

I've only really, really, really liked a few girls within my forty plus years on this earth! My college and post college years were less than spectacular when it came to the dating scene or even for that matter being noticed scene; I was always the funny friend, the trustworthy friend, the friend-zone friend... And by all means I played those roles well.

The summer began without much fanfare but then one evening I received a call from my basketball coach's daughter (she never called me, she was always nice to me but she was more my sister's friend than mine). The conversation wasn't too long but I can still see my 16yr old self listening to her voice, whilst holding the receiver of a corded phone which stretched from one room too the next.

Her: "Sooooo, I figured I'd let you know...."

Me: "What happened"

Her: "The other night I was hanging out with, ______________ and he asked me to go my "Winnies" house"

Me: "Huh, what, why"

Her: "I guess they've been talking since school got out"

Me: "I just spoke with her yesterday"

Her: "Anyway, they kissed..."

Me: "Huh, no. I'm going to call her"

Her: "I know you probably don't believe me but you should call her"

No sooner had she finished her sentence, I hung up and called "Winnie". I'm not creating a whoa is me story as much as I am recalling a real moment in my life which has bugged me for what twenty six years and change.

(Ring, Ring, Ring... )

Winnie: "Hello...."

Me: (Shaking voice) "Hello, how are you"

Winnie: "Good, what's up"

Me: "May I ask you a question"

Winnie: "Yeah, what's going on"

Me: "Did you kiss _____________ ?"

(Silence, silence, silence)

Winnie: "Who told you that"

Me: (Silent, eyes closed, palms sweaty)

Winnie: "We did buuuuut..."

Me: "Okay, I just wanted to know"

That was the last time I spoke to "Winnie" on the phone, my summer was officially over before it really even started. I would go on to finish my senior year of high school without blinking my eyes, I set sports and scholastic goals, which I still think of today and I left to attend college in New York for a year as well.

Earlier today, whilst scrolling through Instagram I began to wonder how people meet nowadays, I thought of all the Facebook friends, internet people, real life friends, etch. We live in a social media filled world which allows for anyone to zap right into another person's life if they so want to and it's up to one to either take the invite, subtle as it may seem or simply ignore it. Was this taking place 25yrs ago too?

Me: "How did you two meet"

Her: "We just did"

Me: "Did you kiss..."

(Silence, silence, silence)

Her: "We did buuuuut"

(The Summer of '93)

I never asked when the seed was planted, I missed the signs of even noticing that they knew each other but we live in such a small town and when the pieces fell into place, I realized that they'd kissed before and I was more concerned with being a Q-T than being the man.

Some lessons refine me and then there are some that leave me wondering when I began to grow up, in life. It's okay to ask the tough questions, in that are the tough answers.

Play back to back... (There's no scar, I'm good)

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