Friday, September 6, 2013

Thank God for unanswered prayers...

Ever had a crush on someone?  I have.  In fact, when I was growing up, I had mad crushes on a lot of guys.  None of them ever panned out.  None of the guys I liked, ever liked me back.  There was one guy in particular on whom I had a terrible crush back in 1980.  His mother, whom I actually liked, taught me math.  The crush eventually evaporated because this guy, as a young kid, was really mean to me.

My family had just moved to the area and I was moved from a different class to the so-called "gifted" class because I could read really well.  It was the class that had all of the popular kids, whose families were all local royalty.  Some of them, including the object of my crush, rode the same bus as I did and the kid I had a crush on was sort of a ring leader.  He and his friends used to pick on me a lot and I would come home upset every day.

I don't remember exactly why we fought all the time.  I think these kids picked on me because I was new and different, got upset easily, and would get bored and daydream.  The teacher would call on me and I wouldn't know what she was talking about.  We had these awful open classrooms that held two classes and were all the rage in 70s era buildings.  My attention would usually drift to the other class because the other teacher was a lot louder.  So when our teacher asked me a question, my response was always "Huh?"  That usually got a derisive laugh out of everyone and I'd be really embarrassed.

Naturally, the object of my attraction would tease me mercilessly on the bus ride home.  I do remember fighting back.  One time, I even recall slapping that kid across the face because he was in my face, yelling at me.  He might have slapped me back.  I also remember making cow eyes at him and he snarled, "I ain't goin' for you, you witch!"  I shouldn't have looked at him that way.  He didn't deserve my positive regard.  You can bet I'll never make that mistake again.  

I remember having this awful mixture of attraction for this kid because I thought he was physically cute and hatred for him because he tormented me.  I didn't know it then, but I was being bullied.  No one ever did anything about it, so my first months in the town where I ended up spending most of my childhood were pretty terrible.  Fortunately, the following year, I was put in a different class and we didn't have too many dealings after that.

Anyway, over thirty years later, I can see this guy's photos on Facebook because he married a local girl and she is friends with some of my friends.  Yesterday, I took a look at a few photos of this woman's husband, the man who once made my heart go aflutter and used to make my afternoons miserable when we were kids.

In one photo, he's wearing a ridiculous bow tie and not really pulling off the look.  We grew up in a small southern town, but it's not exactly Charleston or Hattiesburg and he's not exactly a nutty professor.  The bow tie isn't cute or endearing on him.  It looks silly.

In most photos, it looks like he's straining to smile and it doesn't really look like he's quite succeeding.  His eyes, still very dark brown, don't really reveal much warmth or genuine emotion.  It may be there, but I don't really see it.  He sort of squints and smiles tightly, like maybe his underwear is bunched up in his ass.

In all photos, he still has the same hairstyle he had when he was eight years old.  In fact, he still looks pretty much the same as he did back then.  He's not a bad looking guy, but he's not my Bill.  I don't find him nearly as attractive as I do Bill... or even as I did when we were kids.  In fact, after I looked at those photos, I felt compelled to find Bill and give him a big hug and a kiss.

No offense to his wife.  I'm sure she adores him and he's probably a good husband to her and a fine father to their kids.  People grow up and change and maybe he's not the bully he was when he was young.  I'm just glad he's not my husband... and I'm sure if he ever thinks of me at all (and he probably doesn't), he's delighted I'm not his wife.

I'm not really a big Garth Brooks fan.  I think he's massively arrogant and not even that great of a singer.  But I have always liked his song, "Unanswered Prayers", which is about a guy who sees a woman he used to have a mad crush on many years later.  He once prayed to God that they would get together.  But then he realizes that she doesn't come close to measuring up to his wife.  So he "thanks God" for unanswered prayers.  The song is a little syrupy and religious and has the unfortunately schmaltzy line,

"Just remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs/ And just because he doesn't answer, doesn't mean he don't care..."

But the overall message is good.  Sometimes what you think you want isn't what you really need... or as good as what you could have.  

I had a moment like that yesterday as I was looking at photos of Robert.  I don't remember exactly what I saw in him, but I had a very intense crush on him back in 1980.  In 2013, I'm now thanking God that none of the guys I had crushes on ever wanted to date me.  I don't have the inevitably unpleasant memories of what might have been.  Never would I have guessed back then that there was someone much better in store for me.

On a related note, I also realize that if I had managed to snag this guy who captured and broke my heart, I would still be living in the town I grew up in.  I appreciate that town now, but it never really felt like home, even though I call it my hometown because I spent so many years there.  I think it's because when I moved there at age eight, I really was treated like the new girl and went through a lot of hazing. In any case, I would not have wanted to live there for the rest of my life.

I notice that this guy is still friends with a lot of people we went to high school with... people who also still live in that town.  Their wives all went to high school with them and they look like a bunch of image obsessed MILFs.  I mean, they are definitely very pretty and it looks like they live well.  But they have been buddies their whole lives and it looks like they could use an injection of new blood or something.  It's all a bit incestuous.

I guess I can understand that on some level.  I have family members who have lived in or near Rockbridge County in Virginia their whole lives; some people like the comfort of living where they grew up with people they've known forever.  But don't they get bored hanging out with the same people?  Do they ever go anywhere on vacation besides the Outer Banks?  From their pictures, it looks like the girls all get together regularly for girls' nights and the guys all golf together.  They all look like their parents did in the 80s, happy, successful, and connected.  Behind those smiles, there are all kinds of stories.

That makes me also wonder... why don't they move?  Are they afraid they can't compete somewhere else?  Do they fear new experiences?  Is the prospect of being a new kid in town too overwhelming for them?  Is life in that town really so awesome that they'd never move somewhere else?  I mean, I know moving is a pain in the ass, but don't they ever wonder what life is like in, say, Seattle?  It's like they are the living embodiment of a Pat Conroy novel.

I am now glad none of my crushes ever worked out.  At the time, it was painful to be denied the object of my lust... but if I could have seen into the future, I'd know I'd end up with someone who is just right for me and I just needed to be patient.  I also know that I'm one of the few lucky ones who found the right person.  It took a long time, but it worked out for me.  Thank God for unanswered prayers.


  1. I had a couple of crushes in high school, but I was realistic enough to know that if they had any interest in me at all, it was only so they could copy my math homework.

    I'm pretty heavily into the crush phase now, and the guys are all too much older than I to be interested, although they're nice to me in class. I'll spend a lot more time in the dorm this year in preparation for going away next year, and the dorm has mostly freshman, who will be my age. The dorms are co-ed, although each floor is single-gender. Anyway, I'll have more of an opportunity to socialize with my age level peers than I've had since fourth grade, so it will be interesting. I still look younger than most of them, but a little crefully applied makeup can make me look a little older than I look without cosmetic enhancement. (Too much just makes me look like a little girl who got into her mom's makeup.) It will be fun, but I can't afford to get heavily emotionally involved, because they'll all be freshmen, and I'm a senior and will presumably be out of this place in less than a year. I don't think I'm even taking any classes after winter semester unless my counselor thinks I need something to increase my chance of a major foundation award.

    My favorite Garth Brooks song (I'm not a country music fan, but I like the odd country song here and there)is "The Dance." It's trite, but it's pretty just the same.

    1. I'm sure it's especially weird in your situation. You haven't been a legal adult for very long at all, and yet you are surrounded by people who have had a few years as adults. That reality is changing for you now, but I'm sure it had an affect on your social life. When other teens were dating, the guys you were around were too old... and I would imagine that guys your own age would feel weird about dating someone so smart. A lot of guys are immature that way.

      I didn't date much at all until I was a high school senior. And even then, the guy I dated was truthfully more like a very good friend.

      Most everybody likes "The Dance". It is a pretty song, but I've heard it done too many times on karaoke night!


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