reading:
Impulse to Fly
Almitra David

listening:
3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of...
Arrested Development

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Wednesday 17 April 2002

the first girl I loved

I don't know what to call her. Her real name didn't suit her at all.

It's funny, how sometimes you look back and you could've sworn to god you were in love and it turned out that you weren't. And then there were those times when you were sure you weren't in love, when in fact you were, all the time.

I was once attracted to wounded people, the ones I could see were hurting, the ones I was hoping I could in some way help. She was so beautiful. The first time I saw her was at an audition for a show one summer that we both ended up being cast in. She was a dancer. Her singing voice wasn't anything special, but when she danced I couldn't help but look at her. She was so beautiful and radiant, and I so wanted to be part of that, part of her. That summer I fell hard, but I remained on her fringes. I watched her talk to everyone else, put on her makeup next to me in front of the big mirror, but my vocal cords were paralyzed. I almost couldn't allow myself to be part of something so beautiful and graceful. It was all I could do to snap a picture of her in her costume, near the end of the run.

I lost track of her then, I think she was two years ahead of me in school. I didn't see her again until my sophmore year, when we had a painting class together. I looked forward to that 3rd period every day. By then her body had started wasting away. I didn't know what it was then, but she was out for months that year, and I missed her. She wanted to be a dancer, and she was a shade taller than me, and not thin. She told me later she had mono. I believed her.

She came back near the end of the year, and I remember that I gave her a box of jellybeans, for her birthday, I said. I remember going to Boscov's to get them. She gave me a hug then, and I can still almost remember how soft her skin was and the way she smelled. Her huge smile and clear violet eyes. How thin she had gotten, and how I could feel the bones when her cool, dry hands grasped mine. I loved her because she was one of those people that, when she looked at you, she saw all the way through you, right down to your core. Everytime she talked to me, I felt special, like she and I were the only ones in the entire world. A few weeks later, she gave me a box of jellybeans too, as a thank you, and ate them all at once, waiting for my parents to come pick me up from school.

And then she graduated, and I heard only about what she was doing second-hand from her brother, who I was friends with. She had went to college in Philly for a semester, and then dropped out and had moved to Arizona to go to chef's school. I imagined her graceful form against desert sand.

After my first semester of college, I went over to her brother's house for a bit of a party, and she was there. She had gained all the weight back, and her hair, I remember her hair the best, it was shorter and cut into a shag. She looked so beautiful. She was drunk already when I came in, and enthusiatically greeted me with a hug and a kiss. I stared at her the rest of the night, and the drunker I got, the more I wanted to kiss her, the more I wanted to take her upstairs, away from the noise and the other people and the guy sitting next to her who I assumed was her boyfriend. I wanted desperately to tell her how much I loved her, how much I admired and how I just wanted to get under her skin. I never did, of course. I haven't heard from her since.