Sis recently asked about my past history with women – over the months she has gathered many tidbits, but oh, the gaping holes. She wants the beginning and I realize that I have been starting the tale at age 22. Seven years prior is when the real story begins, seven years erased.
So back to sweet sixteen, senior in high school, a geek for sure. But it was a different time – 1970 – and geeks were okay. Hard to worry about a senior prom when there is a war to end, a president to depose, a world to save. (Plus ca meme…) A long way from sixth grade when an invite to the big party came with the disclaimer that a mother insisted I be on the list (and I was so needy, I gladly went).
So Allison entered my life – the first of many blondes, a free spirit a year behind me. Puppy love on steroids. Of course my sisters both married their high school sweethearts. That is how life worked, so I was set. We took our time, we were young: we had our whole lives ahead of us.
High school graduation – no prom as I already hinted – and off to college. At the last moment another high school friend – Jon – decides to attend the same college and after ditching the roommate from hell, I end up with Jon. We each have our girlfriends – seniors in our high school. We are friends, the four of us.
This is 1971/72, not long after the summers of love, a touch feely era. So we are touchy feely – I give Jon massages – he may return the favor, but it is a blur. The massages are just massages, but there is a part of me that hopes it will go further. Of course I am too terrified to test the waters, to let my hand stray, to see if he responds. So innocent it all stays.
Spring comes and Jon announces he is transferring to a state school – I am guessing the tuition bill took its toll. The dorms close and I return home – technically part of a large city, but truly a beach town. The beach, a boardwalk – one can hear strains of Bruce singing Sandy in the background.
Allison wants to talk: we go to the beach, the ever present beach. The beach, the ocean – it is the bedrock of our lives. It is where we came together. It is where we separate. Allison tells me, it’s over. She needs to be free; she does not share my love. We part.
I walk the few blocks to Jon’s house. He listens, he gives comfort: he is my friend. I am empty, I am sick: I wander home, a lost soul without an anchor. I cannot even imagine the next bump – no, not a bump, an atom bomb – that awaits me.
The next day I learn “the rest of the story”: Allison is in love with Jon, she will be attending the same state school as he has transferred to. As he listened, as he comforted, HE KNEW. HE FUCKING KNEW.
I glance at the clock, it has been a long session, but I am not done.
The devastation – I want to write how I bounced back, found a new girlfriend, showed them. Simply not the case. It was the start of a lonely time. There may have been an occasional date – I may have even been intimate at a point or two along the way, but the simple truth is that is was five years before I was next in a relationship – a relationship not based on being a brother. Now there were many good times in those five years – “sisters” who were dear, friendships discovered, more than a few concerts and road trips: tremendous growth as a person. But the lack of girlfriends was striking.
This was all decades, many decades, ago: an Allison thing with Jon being a bit player. But as the current themes swim in my brain – male relationships, bi-sexuality, latent homosexuality, I fear that it is less resolved than I had hoped and that Jon has been given short shrift.
I know that to be the case because as this post pours out, just writes itself, I realize that thirty four years later, there is still something that hurts.
But I heard you let that little friend of mine
Take off your party dress
I'm not gonna get too sentimental
Like those other sticky valentines
'Cause I don't know if you are loving some body
I only know it isn't mine
Funny, the song was not even written back then..