But I think my first love was actually Jimmy. He had red hair and blue eyes and we used to play all sorts of games together, like Monopoly and Payday. Hours and hours were spent at my house, playing all sorts of board games. This is also one of the few really pleasant memories I have of my sister Laurie, actually, because she would often play with us. We passed whole days playing games on the front step of our house, where it was cool and shaded and the summer months would simply crawl at a snail's pace.
I would give anything to go back to those days. Those were days where, in my memories at least, not a cloud existed in the sky.
One time, Jimmy and I decided to play a mean joke on a kid in the neighborhood named Dean. Dean was younger than us, and kids kind of picked on him (Not like me. I wasn't picked on until a few years later.) We decided to try and sell him lemonade, but the lemonade that we intended to sell him was actually piss. We sat in the woods drinking gallons of water and then pissing like crazy into a canister, which we then brought over to him and tried to get him to drink. As I recall, we actually talked him into it. We laughed like crazy.
Later on that summer, we were playing in the woods, and decided to play in my backyard. I had a metal fence that separated the woods from the backyard, and Jimmy started to climb over it. And I recall, very distinctly, moving up behind him and kissing him on the back of the neck. And Jimmy stopped, and looked at me, and said something like, "I've got to go," and he left.
Looking back, that was probably the beginning of the end. That was probably shortly after Fourth Grade. Fourth grade I had all the confidence in the world. There was nothing I couldn't do. I was emcee at Flag Day, and had a ball butchering the teacher's names.
Jimmy and I still hung around for quite some while after, although we eventually stopped talking altogether, when 5th or 6th grade came about and I started to be ostracized. He became great friends with my sister, and I recall distinctly one time where he came over and the three of us played. It was probably 6th or 7th grade. We were playing with a tape recorder, creating stupid talk shows that I think involved superheroes. (Nothing as creative as my friend Joyce, however.) And I left the room for a moment, and Jimmy started babbling into the tape recorder, "Isn't Teddy gayyy? Isn't Teddy gayy???"
And I heard it later on and grew very upset. And hurt. And I'm not certain that I ever said anything to Jimmy or Laurie. I think that I just hid my feelings, as I always did back then. As I was trained to do. As I still do. Except anger. That always come through, doesn't it?
About seven years ago, I saw Jimmy one Christmas Eve that Laurie was home and reconnecting with old friends. He tried to give me a big hug. Lisa and the kids were there. And I couldn't do it. I was still hurt after all those years. I walked all the way to the other side of the car to avoid it. And I spent much of the evening ignoring him down in the cellar where my parents hold their Christmas parties. Pretending I was having a ball with the kids. Pretending he wasn't in the room. I couldn't bear the hypocrisy.
I never had any friends who truly accepted who I really am. Not really. Is it any wonder that I appear angry?
Is it possible to get rid of the anger?