Last night I succumbed to peer pressure (read: I felt mortified and tragically unhip after talking to an acquaintance ten years my junior and tried to get in the loop) and made a profile on a social networking site. Having registered and not really knowing what to do next, I searched for high school classmates. Big mistake. Huge.
There in full color of the 20 or so people listed from my school and era (thank goodness we appear to be all equally out of the loop) was my first real high school boyfriend, the first boy to ever declare “I love you” and the source of the highs and lows of my entire high school existence. He plucked me from obscurity in my first year of school–he was a class ahead of me, and the literal golden boy of his year. Blonde, athletic, talented, and popular. Our “relationship” was a massive five weeks long and I don’t really remember why it ended or what went wrong. But once it went wrong, it went very, very wrong.
When things didn’t end well (and again, I really don’t quite recall what happened) he chose to subject me to public humiliation in the form of a performance–in front of the entire high school–of a song he penned with the lyrics “think twice before you call someone your love”. I was utterly mortified.
Strangely enough, the story did not end there. This golden boy somehow became a key player in my circle of friends for the rest of high school. For years we had a tempestuous relationship that frequently involved tears from my end. He dated my best friends and I dated his. We eventually became friends of sorts, but there was always this undercurrent of pain. I had not really thought hard about him for years until his face appeared before me thanks to the wonders of the interweb. Blame my distance from home for my having subjected myself to this little walk down memory lane.
Even if 14-year-old-I had felt the same passion for this boy as he apparently did (or thought he did) for me, I was young and utterly unprepared for a serious “I love you” relationship at that age. Looking back, I’m unconvinced of his understanding of the true meaning of those words at that point! Certainly I was not prepared for the bloody aftermath of this brief fling. It’s amazing how high school can mold you and/or scar you. I still have a few really good friends from those days and they remain the best friends I have had. But I present my little story as a warning to others: behold the danger of the social networking sites. The one person you thought you had left in the past might just be lurking out there in full color. And he just might make you feel bad from a distance of more than 15 years and 4000 miles.