“YOUR TITS ARE just as nice as they were when you were 15.”
Sloppy drunk and in the midst of a fourmonth dry spell, I’d said fuck it and brought my high school crush home with me. “It’s impossible to hang out with someone from high school and not talk about high school,” he pontificated. “I could be with Charlie C., or Liz W. or even Dan S. right now, and we’d probably be having roughly the same conversation.”
“Ssh.Your feet stink.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
For years,Tristan had been just out of my reach. He was a popular kid; I was a weirdo. He came from a family of carefree overachievers; I came from a family of crazy Jewish people who meant well enough but with whom, I felt, at the end of the day, I had precious little in common. Their dad was the president of a prestigious liberal arts college. Their mom was a psychiatrist. One brother was a model/musician, another wrote speeches for D.C. politicians. In an intellectual upgrade on Nietzsche’s victorious blonde beasts, all three older kids had gone to Harvard. I wore black and ate lunch alone.
He used to tease me until I cried.When we got older, I began to find him attractive. I wish I could say I’ve progressed beyond this template.
We hooked up twice our sophomore year of high school: An awkward make-out session in the chorus room followed by an illfated hand job while “studying” for finals that ended in him frantically washing off the lotion I’d applied like I’d seen them do in American Pie. I’d never touched a penis before, and I was flying blind. After that, he pretended I didn’t exist. I was crushed.
In the throes of hormone-addled fantasy, I imagined I saw the scared little boy that no one else did. Despite partaking in all those quality genes, he was the fuming straggler of the clan. I just knew if I could chip through that asshole exterior, he’d break down and cry like a baby in my arms. IF only I could get him to acknowledge me.This never happened.
Eight years later, I saw him at a mutual friend’s band’s show in Brooklyn. We left together in an unspoken journey toward whatever closure 10 minutes of humping might give us.
We caught up as we walked together. I was two years settled in an apartment I liked, with friends I liked, working in a restaurant and writing as much as I could. Nothing fancy, but I was relatively optimistic. I thought he would at least have been a congressman by now. But he wasn’t. Following an extended sojourn in Africa, he was living with his parents and trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.
I showed him the view from my roof and he kissed me. Ten seconds later, his hands had fumbled their way down my tights. Given the handicap that I’m now a grown-ass woman, it was twice as awkward as it had been in high school.
We went down to my bedroom and he gave me the most feeble cunnilingus I’ve ever experienced. Looking forward to the end already, I fetched him a condom and he got into it with the finesse of an adolescent jackrabbit. He insisted on finishing between those tits of mine he was imagining were still 15. But after I felt a stabbing pain, I realized that the Gentile establishment had just jizzed in my eye.
“I wish I could stay, but I have work in the morning.”
“You know I’m totally going to write about this,” I deadpanned.
“What? No you’re not,” he said, his features falling into an adorably alarmed little I just fucked a crazy girl who hates me face.
“Don’t worry, I’m probably only joking,” I replied. Or maybe I had been, until he dared me.
He bestowed one final, patronizing kiss, then fled the room as if he’d seen a ghost.
Exactly a week later, I awoke to a call from a 212 number I didn’t recognize. He spoke in the falsely upbeat tones of a nervous 12-year-old asking a girl on a date for the first time.
“H-hey Jamie, what’s up? I’m sorry I didn’t call you sooner but I was, uh, wondering if you wanted to go for a walk or something? Get some sun on your Gothic self, ha ha?”
There was a time when I would’ve been over the moon about this. That window had ended over five years ago. A brief flash of vestigial tenderness flickered, then died. “Ummmm, yeah, I kind of have a lot of work to do…maybe later…but I’m pretty swamped with stuff, y’know what I mean?”
“Yeah. OK. That’s cool. Um, OK, bye.”
I hung up the phone and went back to sleep.
Jamie Peck is a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn. Her hobbies include bicycling, vegan cooking and not sleeping with horrible boys from high school.