Thursday, January 11, 2007

To All the Girls I've Loved Before
Part V

Despite the fact that I was never any good at it, I spent three years of high school on the swim team. My high school swim team comprised a dozen girls and one or two boys, depending on the day. This is perhaps the reason I chose the swim team over any other sport, apart from the fact that they were willing to take me without any skill--boys intimidated me, but hanging out with girls was comfortable. One of the girls, for whom I can't come up with a more creative nym than Swimmer at the moment, was also in most of my honors classes, as well as my French classes. Swimmer was an intelligent, hard-working, fun person. She was not shy but she was unassuming.

My crush on Swimmer is significant in that this is the first time I was aware of an actual longing to be with a girl--a feeling that came from inside me and not from my attempts to disguise my feelings for men. I will not deny the possibility that, however genuine my attraction to her felt, it was a product of societal pressures to be straight; I will not, however, automatically dismiss it as such. The important thing is that to me the attraction felt real, and that was a new experience.

Swimmer was the first girl I ever asked out. Despite the fact that I saw her daily at swim practices, I waited until I was home to call her and ask her, very awkwardly, to the Mistletoe Ball (this was my junior year; I took Dandypratt's sister my senior year). I was quick to clarify that I was only asking her to go "as friends." She told me she'd get back to me. The next day she told me the answer was yes, and that was more or less the last thing she said to me for the two months until the Ball. Whereas we had been good friends for the two previous years, suddenly now she would hardly acknowledge me. This had much to do, no doubt, with the teasing she received from a friend who had a personal vendetta against me. The night of the dance we had a decent time, but still she was quiet and aloof. Afterwards I pulled into her driveway and got out of the car with the intention of walking her to the door--I would not have dreamed of being so forward as to attempt a kiss--but like a bolt she was out of the car, up the steps, and standing in the open doorway. "Thanks," she said. "See you Monday." And the door shut. I was left standing in her driveway, kicking myself for having ruined a perfectly good friendship.

For the next couple of months she kept her distance, but literally the day after I asked another girl to the Junior Prom (who you won't read about because this girl really was just a friend, though I think she might have been interested in more), Swimmer was my friend again, as if the Mistletoe Ball had never happened. And I'm glad, because she was a good friend, and remains so. We keep in touch via Christmas letters, and this year she sent us a wall calendar without even knowing we needed one. Unless, of course, she's psychic. If you are psychic, Swimmer, or if you're just reading this blog, rest assured that my crush on you has long since passed, but I'm glad you started talking to me again.

1 comment:

Th. said...


Even though this never happened to me, I always felt like it would be the inevitable conclusion to everything that felt possible.

This was a big source of misery in high school.