There was an article in today’s paper about this guy who counsels high school students about which college to go to and how to get into the college of one’s choice. I’ve often thought, off-handedly and with no intention of follow-through, that that would be a scam that I would be good at, so I read the article, and of course gazed at the accompanying pictures.
It’s the first guy I ever kissed. Like, for real kissed.
Imagine the shock of that… opening up the Sunday paper and finding a grown-up, somewhat balding version of the guy last seen groping you in the back of a school bus on the way back from a marching band competition. I’m reading this, and he seems to have grown up into a successful, intelligent, cool guy — the kind of guy who teaches intro to philosophy to high school kids and is their first taste of a cool teacher who tells them to question authority — and all I can think about is how those vinyl seats smelled on that school bus, and how he was sort of way more into the tongue thing than I was, and how I don’t even remember how we started kissing in the first place. We certainly didn’t date. Really nice guy, though. Glad to see he’s doing well.
The next guy was also a band geek, and he smelled like the leather jacket he always wore. And faintly of hair pomade. Seriously, every time I walk past that leather store in the mall, or that booth that is at every county fair and craft show, selling whips and wallets, I inhale the leather-scent and think of that guy. I once wrote him a crappy poem while taking the ferry back from Martha’s Vineyard about how the sea and sky were the same grey as his eyes. And also something about his shoulders. I was deeply into shoulders at the time. That groping took place in the back of a rented limo while my brother was in the front seat. Yikes.
Issues? Why would I have issues?
Then there was Paul. Ahhh, Paul. Tall Paul. Brooklyn Paul. I took the bus to Manhattan, you met me on the steps of St. Bart’s (can anyone remember why that made sense at the time?), I was reading Fear and Trembling because I was so spiritual and deep, and you were wearing your arafat scarf and a soft black hat and a long black coat with little buttons all the way up the front that reminded me of Robert De Niro in The Mission. Ahhhhh, Paul. There was no rank scent associated with this one — just the ashy, rain-drenched flavor of the city and the dense aroma of simmering tomato sauce that permeated the neighborhood you lived in — was it Carroll Gardens?
When I came downstairs the next morning, you were in the kitchen, chopping mushrooms for an omelet, and singing along to Patsy Cline, I Fall to Pieces.