I can't sleep, (which, what the fuck? I got three hours of sleep last night. I should be unconscious, but Mia woke up at 12:30 to eat and now Chris is snoring and I'm wide awake.) so let's climb into the wayback machine and take a trip all the way back to junior high.
I know, junior high is a scary place. I'll hold you, don't be afraid.
Seventh grade orientation, earth science class, last class of the day, and all of the sudden, there's this guy. Preppy-looking, dark hair is some crazy pompadour, blue eyes like oceans or lasers or I don't even know what just blue like you would not believe and gorgeous. I was in love. I was so much in love, that on the bus on the way home I told my best friend all about him and how in love I was and that his name was Benjamin. Benjamin, Benjamin. I clearly remember saying it a few times like that, all dreamy and gooey.
Except his name wasn't Benjamin. Benji turned out to be this sweet, goofy kid sitting next to my new one true love and I guess I heard wrong when the teacher called roll, or else I was blinded by my love. And I wasn't the only one. The school had this thing on Valentine's Day where you could send someone a red carnation for a dollar. I sent one (anonymously, of course) to not-Benjamin, as did all of my girlfriends. As did every girl in the school, if the red carnations crammed into not-Benjamin's notebook at the end of the day were any indication. (I never got a carnation. I was a huge dork in junior high. Oh, and in high school. Dorks are sexy though, right? I made it look hott.)
Not-Benjamin turned out to be a really nice guy. We were friendly during his junior high preppy phase and friendly during most of high school and by the time he was a long-haired, unwashed, scraggly hippie senior year we were good friends. I was madly in love with him for all of seventh and eighth grades. Oh, and ninth grade. And part of senior year too, which was a little awkward since I was dating one of his best friends at the time. Not-Benjamin was good at all the arty things I was interested in, but mainly he could write. Man, could he write. He was the first person who really impacted me with his ability to manipulate words.
One day, while we were hanging out in a cemetery (don't ask) we started a contest to see who could give up their particular crutch for the longest. Not-Benjamin wasn't allowed to smoke and I wasn't allowed to be sarcastic. Unfortunately, I also wasn't allowed to just not speak, so I was doomed. Not-Benjamin worked hard to bait me, and I was doing ok, until he said "I love you, Beth." I said "Oh I love you too, not-Benjamin," and he went straight for his lighter. I crashed and burned, because it cut too close. I was over it by then (mostly), but not far enough away to remember it charitably and laugh. I'm laughing now.
I've only seen not-Benjamin a couple of times since we all left town after high school. The last time was 10 years ago, maybe a little less, and it was awkward and weird. Or probably, I was awkward and weird. Since then, I haven't heard from him. And then yesterday, I read Isabel's post about myspace and logged in to the account I never use and searched for people who had graduated high school with me. And there, in the "last person I expected to see here" category, was not-Benjamin. So I emailed him, and he emailed back.
And because I am dumb and this whole thing where I tell people about the other blog but not this blog has become too confusing for my poor, addled brain, I mentioned that I had a blog. I tried to get out of it, but naturally at that point I had to cough up the link. Not-Benjamin is reading my blog. I'm a little embarrassed, and I don't know why, so I decided I may as well just go all the way and post this, which is about the most embarrassing thing I can think of for not-Benjamin to read, and then I no longer have to worry about it because the damage will be well and fully done.
So, everybody, say hi to the first boy I ever loved. Oh, and tell him to be nice to me about this or risk the wrath of the internet. Y'all could work up some wrath on my behalf, right?
(Oh, you guys got that the title is supposed to be a play in My Own Private Idaho, right? Not on Private Benjamin? Swear.)