Last week we asked you to pour your heart out about your biggest, most-heartwrenching, wonderful, terrible first crush ever. And holy fucking shit, did you deliver.
Choosing a top ten was hard. So hard. It was basically impossible, and so at more than one point I put 50 of my favorites in the random number generator and chose the best ones that way. Seriously, the caliber of your crushes left me laughing, crying, nodding, saying things like "Girl. GIRL." and "Oh, hell no!" The point is, there's some damn fine writing in here, so you should probably read them all and tell me what I got really wrong in the comments.
As for the types of crushes — they ran the gamut. There were plenty of celebrity crushes — but it didn't stop there. We had the boy next door; best friend's cousin; best friend's older brother; coworker; classmate; anime buddy; bookstore lust; MSN messenger luv; all boys Catholic school love; someone who adorably has a crush on everyone; a BLIND ITEM FAMOUS PERSON; and a kid named Delos Cripps. And that's ain't the half of it.
Without further ado, let's dive into the hormonal wading-pool that is first crushes.
Oh, Beautiful Kevin via Rokokobang
This will probably be identified by anyone who knew me in high school, but I will change names to protect the innocent.
His name was Kevin. Oh, beautiful Kevin. He was a junior to my lowly freshman. It was truly love at first sight. He was the lead in the school musical, with a fantastic voice and stage presence - I attended to go support my sister (in the chorus), but once Kevin came onstage, if you had asked me where my sister was, I would have answered "WHAT SISTER?" I had no family! Kevin was my family now! I loved him so much I couldn't think. I would silently gasp when I saw him in the hallways, strolling with his equally beautiful friends.
I was introduced to him once, during a fire drill, by my neighbor friend who knew him through musicals. "Hey," he said. Oh god. Who knew that word could be so beautiful? I didn't. Not until Kevin said it.
The next year, fate struck. I was seated in a classroom, and happened to glance under my chair and notice a baggie of something or other. I picked it up - it was Kevin's motherfucking senior portraits! He had left it in there from the class before! I was inpossession of like 20 copies of Kevin's senior portrait! I quickly consulted my friends.
"Give it to him in the cafeteria!! He'll be sooo grateful, and he'll have to talk to you! Maybe he'll invite you to sit!" While the thrill of another interaction was intoxicating, it was almost scarier than never seeing him again. What if I said something stupid? What if I did something stupid??? I couldn't. I justcouldn't. I was too insecure and awkward, and Kevin was too beautiful!
I turned it into the office and told them I had found it under my seat. I'll never know if they got it back to Kevin, but I know if they did and he took a quick count, he'd find he was one picture short. You BET I stole one.
Kevin graduated and left. Devestation was complete. A few years later, applying to college, being accepted to my first choice, I realized Kevin and I would be at the same school again!!! (It really wasn't on purpose. I'm not that much of a stalker.) For another two years, we would be united in the same place! Hallelujah, fate has struck again!
And I saw him again. I got to college, looked for him, and saw him. Just as I had hoped I would. And I don't know what happened in those few years - I don't know if it was extremely obvious the whole time, if he started dressing differently, coiffing his hair differently, or if I just grew up, but the moment I laid eyes on him in college, Iknew:
Kevin is suuuuuuuuuuuuperrrrrrr gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy.
Fucking high school via Dukes of Atlanta
I was totally into this girl I went to high school with.
I went out with her a few times freshmen year, and then she dumped me. I'll get back to this.
She was smart, super cute, and had a great personality. We got along great.
Fast forward to many years later, I ran into her at a party. Where she confessed to me that a friend had convinced her she shouldn't date anyone. She also told me that she had a crush on me the entire time we were in high school, but didn't think I would go out with her again. So, we had huge crushes on each other and both of us thought the other wasn't interested.
Stupid high school.
Choir boy via See You in Rach-Hell
His name was Eric. He was the younger, cuter, troubled brother of the popular very-good-boy in choir, Ben. He had long, curly hair that went past his shoulders (forever getting him in trouble with the administration), and he wore suspenders with his V-neck T-shirts. Every time I saw him in the halls, he would always make lingering eye contact with me—and I knew it was lingering because I would meet his eye, look away, desperately embarrassed, then look back and notice he was still looking at me. I will never forget the time I was walking back to class, alone in the halls, dreaming about how cute he was... then I turned the corner and there he was, as if I had dreamed of him so seriously that he had manifested in my reality. I'm sure my expression must have read "crazy girl about to kidnap you and install a living fixture in the shrine in her closet" but he smiled, gave me a simple (yet totally romantic) head nod, and went on his way. Swoon.
He was The One, but I never got around to speaking to him, because he was way Too Cool for me. (And I was a chicken.)
High school ended, I graduated and went off to a university hours away that none of my peers were attending—except one. Eric. Gorgeous, long-haired, suspenders-wearing, troubled Eric. Move-in day, I went to my parent's car to grab some remaining knick-knacks and literally collided into him. Except he was gorgeous, short-haired, soccer-uniform-wearing Eric now—which was evenbetter!!
Icing on the cake? He was the roommate of one of the first friends I made on campus.
It was the kind of love story movies were made of. It was the beginning of my lacking-parental-supervision adulthood. It was the beginning of the chick flick to be be based upon my life.
But I never got around to talking to him, and he transferred out. The end!
Brought to you by Rach-hell, under the influence of pain medication. But it's all true, I swear. (Seriously.)
The New Girl via Halloweenabler
It was the new girl at school. Everyone was basically a redneck except for a few of my friends so when she showed up one day in her plaid pants I totally fell for her. She was the manic pixie dream girl before that was a thing. I was obsessed. I would try to sit next to her in all the classes we had together. I would do push ups and situps whenever I was alone because I thought "she would probably like a guy with a great body. Or maybe not, but better not risk it." I got ripped.
She had a pretty crumby home life and her mom had moved her to my town basically to hide from her dad. I would talk on the phone sometimes with my crush when I was feeling brave (I'm in highschool at this point and still super scared of girls) but one time her mom picked up. For a little bit she thought I was her husband and she demanded to know how I found her, when she figured out I was just some dumb boy calling for her daughter, she told me never to call again and hung up on me. I freaked. When I'm stressed I run so I ran from my house in the country all the way to her house, about nine miles. I stood outside trying to work up the courage to knock on her door and tell her how I felt, but I couldn't do it. I walked to a friends house and went to sleep.
A few weeks later a friend coaxed me to go to a party with him because he said my crush would be there. She wasn't, but I met the person who would become my first girlfriend. My girlfriend had this "friend" that was always lurking around (turns out he had a crush on her) and ended up dating the girl I had a crush on for years. It was emotionally abusive and my crush is still dealing with some of the issues from that relationship today. Fast forward ten years to now: My ex girlfriend is dating her shitty "friend" and I stayed buddies with my crush. About six months ago I finally told her how I felt in high school and we went on a date, forming ten year old love-parallelogram. My feelings were still really strong for her but she didn't feel the same way, so it didn't work out. Se sera, sera. There's a lot more to this story, but you'll have to buy my all five volumes of my audio book to hear it.
Quarter century crush via DamnedFallacy
Oh my. The first time I saw my crush of a quarter century was in junior high. He was a friend of a friend. He was gorgeous -dark haired and dangerous- and brilliant, with a dry wit. I fell hard and fast, only to watch him head off with other girls time after time. I dated other people in high school and college, but always had feelings for him. Every single person I dated during that time would have been dropped in a second if I thought I had a chance with him (and don't think I don't feel guilty about that).
Finally, one night in college, we hooked up. However, I had just survived an attempted rape (by someone else) and even though this was about the most consensual things could get, the combo of me being freaked out and vulnerable and this being OMG the one dude I always wanted caused me to freeze up faster than Han Solo in the carbonite. He thought I was frigid and didn't like him, I thought he hated me, and it was awful. I was guilt-ridden and miserable.
We kind of stayed on and off in touch over the years and both married other people. In my heart, though, this was the one that got away, with all the attendant what-ifs. What if I had another chance? Did I screw up my chance at true love? Everybody got compared to him and often found wanting, especially my first husband.
Cue to the end of last year. I'd been through one divorce, and lost my beloved second husband to cancer earlier in 2012. He'd lost his wife to cancer several years before. He sent me a "How you doing?" email which led to emails and then phone calls. Within 24 hours he offered to get on a plane and come see me, and within a few weeks, we had a long lovely weekend together. It was awesome. Everything was fun and good and wonderful and all the conflicted feelings about the years ago vanished. Just the same, I figured out that I really wanted to stay his friend forever, but he was absolutely and completely not the love for me. I'd held on to that rope for years, but it was the easiest thing in the world to let it go.
This is going to sound fairy-tale, but once I let it rest, I opened up in a way I don't think I had before. I loved both my husbands, but there was always this little tiny corner table reserved just in case. With that gone, I found the real man of my dreams. I love him with an adult's mind and a teenager's heart, if that makes sense. I don't know if I could have done that without the resolution.
Teacher's pet via ferdinandthebull
I am extatctic to share my crush story. I switched schools in the fourth grade. There was this girl named Nicki. She was pretty and smart and nice to me. I never asked her out because it was a good ten years later before I figured out how to do that. Her family moved away the following summer. I moved back to town a few years ago with my daugther. Last fall my daughter started kindergarden. When I dropped her off in her class I discovered Nicki was her teacher! Nicki (Nicole now) had just moved back to town after getting the teaching job. She didn’t really remember me. I asked her out the last day of school last June. We are still dating. I would like to marry her.
Best Friend's Brother via ElizaCat
This is a VERY condensed story of my first and only heartbreak.
I was a sophomore in high school, and I fell HARD for my best friend’s brother. I was kind of mousy and quiet. He was tall with lots of lean muscle, perpetually (and probably strategically) tousled hair, and crazy blue eyes. He was the smartest guy in our grade, but also kind of a jackass, one of those guys who adds his douchey commentary to everything. He told his sister he liked me, and she obviously relayed the message, so I became a blushing, mumbling idiot for a few months. Then, at a Christmas party, he told me I was beautiful and kissed me. I was a goner, you guys.
Our relationship was a very sweet and innocent one. There was a lot of hand holding involved. Everyone told me that I “tamed” him and that he was different and sweeter around me, and I believed them, because I was 16 and stupid. I totally thought we would be together forevah and evah, and someday tell our grandkids about our high school days.
Anyway, he dumped me after a year for a girl named Alexa, who was older and bolder and had kind of a “reputation” at the time. I was completely and utterly devastated. Because I remained (and still do!) close friends with his sister, I still saw him pretty often…every single time, I felt heartbroken all over again, in the way that only teenage girls can. This went on for YEARS.
One weekend our junior year of college, he invited his sister to visit him at his school about an hour away. She, in turn, invited me to come along, and I immediately said yes, knowing it was a bad idea. He sent me texts all week telling me how glad he was that I was coming and how excited he was to see me. When we got there, he gave me a hug and told me I had gotten even prettier, and I knew right then what was going to happen.
Long story short: we all got drunk, I lost my virginity to him, and he told me he loved me. For weeks after that, he begged me to come back myself, told me he always thought we belonged together, that we could start over again. When I finally caved and said yes, he told me it was all a big joke and that he essentially just wanted to see how far he could push me.
I’ve seen him a few times since then, but the only time we talked was about 3 years ago, just a couple weeks before I met my now-husband. We ran into each other at a bar in our hometown. We were both kind of drunk. He came over to say hi, and I went off on him, screaming that he broke my heart twice just for the hell of it, and I would never forgive him, and I deserved better. Then I stormed out. It remains one of my proudest moments, and the first time I ever really felt free of the weird hold he had on me.
Now I’m married to the man of my dreams and living happily ever after.
Last Dance via ByronJanesByron
His name was Tom. And he was perfect.
I was in sixth grade and he was in eighth grade. The first time I saw him he was wearing dark jeans, an orange Abercrombie & Fitch sweater and his blond hair was spiked. Before him, there was only Spot Conlin.
Tom was so cool. He was so popular. He was so cute.
My first middle school dance, knowing I had a crush on him, he danced with me. I was wearing khaki cargo pants, tennis shoes and a black sleeveless Roxy hoody with a white t-shirt underneath. I finally had contacts, but still had my braces.
We danced to Lonestar and the cafeteria was empty for 3 minutes.
When I got home, my shirt smelled like his cologne. I didn’t wash it for weeks.
Every dance that year, he saved one dance for me.
He signed my yearbook and gave me his number. I want to look at that again.
The next year, he went to high school and with my mouth free of braces, I met my first boyfriend at the regional spelling bee. We were scolded for talking and his hands were huge. Manly. I was wearing a long khaki skirt and an American Eagle button up, tied just at the waist with a tank top underneath.
His name was Jordan and he was eliminated on the word, “porpoise.”
I found his name and school in the program book and eventually found his family in the phone book. It didn’t matter; he had already contacted my school and called me first. After a few months, he broke up with me. At 14, 20 miles is long distance.
I later found out Tom was jealous. We started talking on the phone. My house had an extra phone line for dial-up, and I would sit between the side of my bed and the wall and talk to him, for hours. Laughing, telling stories. It was only a few times but I can still hear his voice.
He had now entered his skater phase. His hair was black and he tried very hard to skateboard. We bought the new Blink 182 CD the day it came out and talked about it on the phone.
Only in the past few years did I realize what, Take of Your Pants and Jacket, meant.
My dad heard the bonus track on that cd, broke it in half and threw it down the stairs.
That summer, we walked downtown to Hallmark where he helped me pick out a birthday card for me friend. We went and ate Chicken o’Rings at a local hotdog place. And he walked me home.
The shortcut to my house was through the cemetery. He was wearing a purple Volcom shirt that day. I was wearing jeans, tighter jeans, and a red sleeveless Roxy t-shirt, sans undershirt, with knock off Doc Marten sandals. We saw a bee and he fake pushed me and ran.
I laughed and laughed.
I took him to my favorite spot. I used to sit there and read, sit there and write, or sit there and think. With a perfect view of the lake, it was my favorite place in the world. Cemeteries still bring me peace.
We sat there and our foreheads touched. And our fingers started to intertwine. I couldn’t breathe. Seriously. Could. Not. Breathe. I looked down just to take a break from him eyes. That was the first time I noticed I had hair on my big toe.
We kissed. And we kissed. It wasn’t my first kiss. But it was magic. His tongue, his hand in my hand, his head, his face.
We didn’t really talk after that. In my excitement I told too many friends. Or I told the wrong friends. I still make that mistake, but when something feels so right, it only feels right to shout it out, arms open.
After that, I practiced discretion and kept that crush close to me.
I made it to high school and started seeing him again in the hallway. He always made my stomach hurt, in the best way. He knew I liked him and made it a point to always smile. It seemed almost uncool to still like him, so it felt like our secret.
He was in a band for a while. They wrote a song named after me. I will never know who wrote the lyrics. He left the band, but still hung around with them. I wrote an article about their band for the town paper. The day after publication, he found me after school in the lobby and read me the message written on his hand, “Great article.”
The days before winter break, my parents caught me drunk. I drank vodka in the hot tub with my neighbor. When they got home the water was 85 degrees.
As part of my punishment I wasn’t allowed to use the phone or computer but I snuck downstairs before we left for vacation. I logged onto Yahoo Messenger and there was a message from Tom. He liked me. He wanted to get to know me again. He wanted to hang out during winter break. He didn’t expect me to feel the same way but wanted to start seeing each other, to talk on the phone. I had it memorized for a very long time. Now, I only remember the last words. “I just wanted to, you know, ask…”
He liked me.
I flew. My heart flew, my stomach dropped and the world made sense.
I didn’t respond – I wanted to play it cool and decided to wait until after my vacation.
Part of me was also afraid it was a joke or a setup. It was too perfect.
My parents may have also been walking down the stairs…
Either way, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t respond. And I didn’t call.
I wrote down the message and brought it with me.
It is still somewhere in my parents’ basement, in my box of special things.
We got home from our trip and I was so tan and so excited to see him, and for him to see me, tan. I felt beautiful.
There were so many missed calls from my friends. So many. There were voicemails – “call me.”
I called my best friend. She asked about my vacation. I felt guilty when I said it was wonderful since they were stuck in snow and I was free in the sun. I told her I couldn’t wait to see Tom because I just felt pretty.
“You didn’t hear?...Tom’s dead.”
Fuck off, I told her.
It felt terrible saying that.
But it was true.
He died in a car accident days two days before I got back.
I didn’t cry. I barely knew him. But he was so important to me.
My friends went to the visitation together. I only wanted to be with my mom.
She held my hand and cried as I stared. She never approved of that crush. But I will never forget her being there. My pain was her pain. She grieved for his parents. She grieved for me.
The trifold poster in the funeral home had my article on it. It had the set-list with my Song. I wanted to cry. I think I cried. But it didn’t feel right to cry. Nor right to hug his family. He was my crush. I barely knew him.
I think about him often. Usually when I can’t sleep. Or when my heart hurts. He was perfect. He was my first love. He was my first loss.
Have a Gr8 summer via cantfindwaldo
I realize this story is a total fucking cliché. But it’s my cliché and I lived it, so I’m gonna share it. Here goes:
I was 13 years old. It was the second day of 7th grade. I was in social studies watching an educational film on the Magna Carta and doodling in my notebook (it was a picture of a basset hound on water skis—in my mind a TOTALLY BRILLIANT masterpiece of anthropomorphic art, thankyouverymuch). The bell rang, and through the clamor of students rushing to get out the door, I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey. You’re a really good drawer.” I turned around to find the owner of the voice. Who was this refined, cultured individual, this avid supporter of the visual arts, this animal water sport doodle aficionado?
I’ll tell you who. THE MOST ATTRACTIVE GODDAMN INDIVIDUAL I HAD EVER LAID EYES ON.
Neurons fired. Lightning struck. Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe, a gas giant exploded. Every animal on earth sensed an imminent major weather event. A bearded, crazy-haired scientist in a parka conducting research near the North Pole picked up some strange readings on his lab instruments. And I became a woman right there on the fucking spot.
“I’m serious,” he said. “You’re really good.”
And that’s when the relentless pain began. I was a hopeless nerd. I was a head taller than every single person in my grade. I owned a mouse pad with R2-D2 on it. I was (probably rightfully) convinced that this dude would want nothing to do with my frizzy hair, awkward, curve-less body and my vast collection of books about unicorns. So I never talked to him. Ever.
But I thought about him constantly. I cried about him. I rollerbladed past his house (because it was the 90s and that was the only way to get anywhere duh) in hopes that I might see him. I listened to some shitty Smashing Pumpkins song over and over because I heard him on the bus telling somebody he liked it. It was a terrible situation all around.
Then at the end of the year I worked up my courage to give him my yearbook to sign. In my fantasy he would hand it back to me and his message would read: You are stunning. I want to 1) kiss you on the mouth 2) do all the sex stuff 3) marry you and make attractive, intelligent, artistic, musical genius superhero babies 4) play Nintendo with you forever until we grow old and can no longer hold the controllers anymore because of arthritis.
What did he actually write? THIS:
Hi Katie [Katie is not my name. Not even close.]
Have a Gr8 summer.
So, yeah… I then promptly moved on with my life.
Davids via anthro-pologist
First celebrity crush: David Duchovny. Oh yes. I was 13. He was, like, 40.
First real crush: We'll call him David, too. I was a freshman in high school and I was friends with all his friends. They were witches. I was not. They all moved away, so we became friends by default and I fell in love. SO MUCH LOVE.
Then he decided he'd had about enough and kinda stopped hanging out with me.
I got more friends. Most on the fringe of his circle, but not intentionally (I think). We didn't talk for like a year.
I tried pot for the first/only time with his friends. I had a panic attack and like... narrowly avoided shitting an actual brick. They thought it was funny and told him.
I cried. I came out of the closet. I made more friends, that didn't like him.
I had grown about a foot in this time period, because high school, so I was taller than him. I went on a "diet" and lost weight, so I was skinnier than him. I was a virgin. At one point, he randomly informed me that those things didn't appeal to him. I was all like, "Thanks I think?" but inside I was all like "Blew it."
He graduated, so I didn't see him around but once or twice.
I got a boyfriend, then moved in with him, far away from home.
One day, David added me on Facebook and told me that he was always afraid of me in high school, and that he had a huge crush on me but was too intimidated to talk to me.
I said, "Oh. Thanks."
I guess it worked out.
BONUS: Gotta give a shout-out to dollyrkr, our fan favorite with the very entertaining first time story doesn't disappoint when it comes to crushes:
When I was 15 I was sent to a Mormon-run "residential -" you know what I don't even know what you call it. It was this weird place that you sent your kids to if they hadn't committed a crime but you didn't want to deal with them and you thought they weren't normal - it was in Provo, Utah and it was insane. There was a barbed wire fence around a mile and half of property that houses the boys at the top of the hill, where the "school" (bunch of trailers and teachers who gave you work to do but didn't teach it) was and the cafeteria was. The girl's houses were at the bottom of the hill. 4 rooms each, 16 girls to a house. Crazy Mormons with insane rules following us around judging us. It was a nightmare place that locked us underground in little rooms for days on end for obstructions like rolling our eyes or using sarcasm.
"School" was where Ryan and I passed notes. His notes were amazing, they always looked like they'd been written on a typewriter, and they were cocky and witty in a charming way. He wrote me notes because he had a crush on my roommate, Lillian. Lillian was one of those little cat girls. Quiet, elusive, small, wide-eyed. The ones all the boys had a crush on. Her skin and her eyes and her hair were all caramel. I coveted every cell of her.
Passing notes was all there was to do at Heritage. It was literally what we all lived for. We couldn't talk to the boys, except on rare occasions, like a mixer once a month. Most teachers allowed no talking in class, except one class I had with Ryan, where we could get away with it sometimes. Between each class, we'd pass each other and hand off a folded note, and it was everything. So, I became the cupid for Ryan and Lillian. I didn't dislike Lillian, although, she was so boring and not very smart so I resented that her beauty and her catlike caution of the world was so captivating when I felt that if we were in the real world and Ryan could have her he'd bore of her fast. It was actually the perfect environment for her, because she was on a pedestal to so many boys there but they could never really get to know her, only idealize her.
I put forth all of my personality and creativity to Ryan. I poured my heart out in letters to him of my fantasies of what I would do once I was free, what I believed in, and I made as many jokes as possible about our tormentors. My favorite movie during the year and a half I was trapped there was Some Kind of Wonderful and I constantly dreamed that he would realize I was Mary Stuart Masterson and I was truly his girl. They let me watch that movie for my 16th birthday, a big treat for us since we normally were allowed no TV, and Lillian prowled around our room afterward, hissing, I know why you like that movie.
Her and Ryan were "a couple" after a few months of matchmaking, but that meant nothing at Heritage. They'd never kissed. We were monitored at all times and there was no opportunity to even hold hands there. So it was all about the emotional connection. Somehow she was able to create drama, and she'd break up with him and get back together with him nearly every other week. He would write to me everything about their issues, and I would always feign that I was on the side of their love, and I wanted him to be happy. Then for a while, she finally mellowed out and they seemed in a good place, and his notes to me lessened, and I cried a lot into my pillow and said that it was because I was locked up. Which it kind of was, but it was also that my love was unrequited, and I was locked up with him, couldn't escape him and his damn stupid girlfriend who was in the bed next to me.
Then Lillian left. Like out of the clear blue sky, she was released. This would happen sometimes when a parent lost their job and their insurance changed and couldn't cover the cost of our "care." He was all mine.
I had it all worked out in my head that he was going to tell me she was a placeholder and now we were free to love each other. There was nothing standing in my way. I was so thrilled, I couldn't wait to see him again. And when I did, he was sad, but I was there to comfort him, it was perfect. I told him not to worry, he'd see her again one day, but at least we have each other.
He knew that I liked him, how could he not. Within a week of her leaving he asked me in a note to meet him in the bathroom at 5th period twenty minutes after class started. The two periods preceding this meet I was consumed. I spent every minute dreaming of what I would do when I finally got to touch him. Those twenty minutes staring at the clock were the longest twenty minutes of my life. As I walked to the bathroom, his teacher was pounding on the door saying "What have you been doing in there for so long?!" And he saw me as he exited and he looked angry at me.
"Where were you?" he said the next day, passing notes in class. I said I was there on time, he hadn't waited. I was happy that he'd been anxious too. I asked if we could try again and he said no, it was too freaky with the teacher pounding on the door. We knew that if we were caught doing anything, we'd be sent to live underground in the little white room they called "Crisis." We'd both been sent there enough times for small offenses, we were too scared to know the punishment for actually doing something wrong consciously.
"What would you have done if we'd met?" he asked.
And that's when I began to write erotica.
This evolved to me writing it for other "couples" there, I'd write fantasies out for my roommates, cheesy stuff like, "we're in a sauna, and the air is thick with steam..."
I became quite known as the go-to, even across the other girls' houses, as who to ask to spice up their "relationships" with their "boyfriends." As I was one of the few girls there who'd had sex with several boys, I knew a bit more than most, but mostly my imagination carried me.
Ryan never wrote anything sexual. He just begged me to write more. And then he was released. And I was still there. And it sucked. I still wrote him letters. He even replied. Every few weeks he'd write me and all of the horrors of Heritage would melt away, my crazy virgin 41 year old Mormon psychologist who looked like Steven Tyler as a woman didn't even annoy me when she'd offer me life advice.
Ryan loved me, I just *knew* it.
I would spend hours drawing hearts with his name and writing "I jones for Ryan Jones." Every night I'd dream that one day we would be together. We would get married. I would be the love of his life.
I was incarcerated there from July 31st 1988-Dec 7th 1989. When I'd been sent off I was living in Orange County, CA, when I was released my parents had moved to Tempe, Arizona. For Christmas my grandparents gave me a $50 gift certificate to Tower Records. I went and bought the cheapest cassette I could and took the rest in cash. I bought a $29 plane ticket from Phoenix to LAX and I hitchhiked all the way to Ryan's house in - I think it was Mission Viejo.
His girlfriend answered the door. Yes, he knew I was coming, but this was before cell phones and I had only called him from Tempe, saying I'd be there soon, so he didn't know to hide her. He didn't know I was in California until I used the phone to be let in to his gated community. He acted like I was just a friend, and really, after all, I was. A friend who wrote him dirty notes. His girlfriend looked like a whiter version of Lillian. Tiny and maneuverable. I was slim but I've always had a more womanly build, I'm not one of those little bony girls the guys fetishize. I never wanted to be one, because they seemed breakable and fragile to me, I just wanted to be desired like one.
We hung out awkwardly, talking and smoking pot, with his quiet girlfriend looking at me out of the corner of her eye, and trying to read Ryan. He was his charming, cocky self, loving having his women on both sides of him. Inwardly I told myself, of course he has a girlfriend. It's okay he didn't tell me, we were never a couple... Then he said his dad would be there soon and we had to take off. I said I didn't have anywhere to go. He said to go to the "beach" by the lake in his gated development and sleep there. His girlfriend wanted him to go to her house but he said no. He said he was going to hang out there. Told me he'd come by later and bring me some food.
After several hours of sitting on the beach reading, once it was dark, he finally showed up. He didn't have any food. He was straight to the point. "So, where do you wanna..." he grinned at me out of the side of his mouth.
I looked around, there was a little picnic area, but surely anyone could just walk up. I didn't know. I went to kiss him, and he said, "Hold up."
That wasn't how I'd pictured our first kiss.
Then he said, "Here let's go in here." And he led me to... a bathroom.
We were out in the free world. I'd loved him for so long. The first bathroom was fine because it was the only possible place we could meet. But I'd ran away from home, I'd kept him in my heart...
And I knew that he wouldn't be with me at his house because his girlfriend could come over and she was his reality and I was just this girl who he wanted to fuck because she'd written him slutty notes.
This is where you want me to say that I stuck out my chin and said, "I'm better than that! I deserve better!" But no. All I was thinking was,
Ryan. Ryan. Ryan.
We went in the bathroom and he just stood there, and made me do all the work. Maybe because I would talk about undressing him in my notes. I tried to do it slowly, and he said "hurry up" so I tried to do it passionately but his hands didn't lift to caress me or take my clothes off. He laid on the dirty floor of the bathroom, the door was shut and locked. I had never been on top before, and I tried to do it as best I could, I was so happy that I was finally with him, but so sad because he just laid there like a log, passively, I couldn't understand why, I felt so desperate, I wanted him to like me so much and he was inside me but he said, "God, haven't you ever done this before? I thought you were an expert."
I never saw Ryan Jones again.
Image by Sam Woolley.