I don’t think my parents liked me having the bedroom door closed when Marie was over, but it wasn’t tightly enforced. We closed the door and smiled at each other: there wasn’t anywhere else to sit in my room, just the bed. There was the bed and the stereo, and the two kind of went together.

There is an earnestness when you are young and overcome by hormones and lust. As a parent now, this is the fear of what’s to come next: the stew of sex and drugs and people you can’t trust, coupled with the advent of texting and phantom relationships, online.

For Marie and me, there were handwritten notes passed in class and calls on the home phone. There weren’t machines to record messages even; someone wrote it down.

It was the prom and we had designs on renting a hotel, staying out all night, being grown-ups. My parents pushed back, and said the only way we could sleep together was in a tent, in our back yard.

My English teacher with a lazy eye lent me the tent. He’s the same one who introduced me to The Smiths and the first to really encourage me to write, 1987.

To recount what happened in the tent would be crude, but suffice to say we thought she might be pregnant through some mechanical mishap, and nodded off with our backs to one another in our sleeping bags.

Our next day at the beach was cold and windy. June, but easily winter at the Jersey shore. Something had changed in her overnight, something that couldn’t be presented or discussed. I wondered if she was just hanging in there with me to make it through the prom, and then cut bait.

I got angry and punched the windshield from the inside of the car and it spidered out: the windshield just broke, from my fist. I felt like an action hero and a villain as she shrieked, and when she told her mom, her mom said I was dangerous. And I had to lie to my parents and say I don’t know what happened, for insurance purposes. But I was proud of my own strength, what anger could do.

After we split I would sometimes drive by her house and slow down as I passed. There was the hope I might see her but also the habit of going that route that let me think for a moment we were still together.

And the dead end intersection near our house where we first pulled over to fool around: I would stand there staring at the empty spot, picking at it. And it spawned the first of a series of really bad poetry influenced by Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey of The Smiths. And just about this time I read Catcher in the Rye and bought a used cashmere overcoat and tortoise shell frames, started smoking, and the rest is history. Now I had pain.

Categories: writing

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22 replies

  1. I loved it!!!! i could relate to this in some ways. i love the last paragraph. ive been there.


    • Wunderbar! Well, if you’ve lived, you’ve likely been there with me on that last paragraph brooding, trying to figure things out. Thanks for visiting, and glad you connected with it! Best, – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • thank you really! im in a place right now trying to figure out what i want in life. so confusing but to have stories like this, it greatly helps


      • Glad to help with that. It’s a journey and well, I don’t know that we ever get to where we thought we should, and maybe that’s alright. Because we were probably wrong about that. Good luck, and enjoy your day. Put on some good music and bliss out to The Now…


  2. Pain is where the good stuff comes from.


  3. Ohhh, I remember that sudden change. One day, everything fine, the next day, a stiff breeze and no words.
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dress in black.


  4. Too real. Ouch, that brought some things back. Excellent.


    • Thank you Josh and for signing up for my posts recently! Welcome and hope you enjoy, glad you thought it was real as that’s what I’m going for. And we’ve all got memories like that, it seems. I don’t know how many others break windshields but so be it. Cheers friend! – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. I came from in from a different perspective but the same soiundtrack and outcome. I wonder what would have been different if we’d listened to madonna and hewey lewis and the news? 🙂


    • I have to tell you since our last comments exchange about how I got my moniker name and you got yours, I feel really daft asking where you got the name “may hem.” I kind of didn’t put two and two together. That’s how dumb I am.

      I was exposed to Madonna and Huey Lewis & the News, alright. Madonna was helpful in developing my appreciation of the female form and Huey Lewis, well, to keep from turning Republican. It’s not hip to be square, it’s fucking weak. Keep the Reagan-era programming to yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was a toss between may hem and kay oss. I’ve never been one to fall victim to nostalgia, so now that every ‘social occasion’ seems to think its great to play the old 80s hits I cringe and head for the bar, because i know they’ll never play the replacements or husker du, hell not even the meat puppets or the ramones. But then again im as alone in my musical tastes now as i was then, but now i have kids to warp. I recently managed to get my 17 year old into tom waits, i was proud of myself.


      • Which Tom Waits record did you use with your 17 year old? Rain Dogs?

        I like both may hem and kay oss. Pretty freaking cool, nice. Thanks for sharing. Music is such a powerful thing, I think. And we were lucky to be ‘left of the dial.’


      • Yup. But it was the youtube video of Tom performing Burma Shave that did the trick. Lucky to have been insomniacs staying up into the wee hours of the morning to hear something different, that is.


  6. Enjoyed this: “My English teacher with a lazy eye lent me the tent.”

    Earlier today, my right palm itched and I read that can mean creative energy that needs release. Or itchy palms, which is treatable but depressing. Then your song post and now this one seeded two writing ideas. In this post, it was the heartbreak and mention of Jersey that reminded me of increasingly despaired love letters we found in the drop ceiling of a house we once bought in NJ. I’m not saying what I cranked out was gold (or nickel, even) but you’re some kind of muse and I just thought you should know and thanks.


    • That is one hell of an interesting premise, with the drop ceiling. And the itchy palm, but it could be lycanthropy too. Do you happen to know if your smallest toe is the same size as the next one up? That is another bad sign. You don’t have to share, here.

      I’m glad to inspire! I’ll admit I wasn’t keen on the commenting thing of the WordPress until recently, now having the time w/o a job. And I really like it, because you can really meet and interact with people in ways I was cynical and guarded about before. So thanks for helping me out myself in that, it’s a good thing. And I look forward to your next post! Light up the sky with flames. But mind the phase of the moon.


      • I’ve slept poorly the past couple of nights and resigned myself to being pre-menopausal. My husband said it was probably the full moon. He’s scooby-doo detective to my woody allen. I won’t spoil the toe thing, mainly because I have shoes on and am too lazy to take them off. (A true lycanthropic would probably tear them off. p.s. I had to look up lycanthropy.) Agreed on comments. It’s a great way to connect with interesting people and ideas.


      • Don’t resign yourself (though I’m not a doctor) and yes, blame it on the moon. Scooby-doo is pretty much always right at the end, though he will scare the shit out of you every time. Does the trick with our kids. And I mixed metaphors with the toe reference: any real monster/supernatural enthusiast will pick up on that. The toe thing is for vampires. Or maybe it’s fingers, sorry.


  7. Nice! Amazing that your parents thought what might happen in a hotel room wouldn’t happen in a tent, right? I digress. Those heady teenage memories: nights draped in Drakaar Noir and Obsession, the scent of grass stained jeans from fast and furious make out sessions behind the bleachers, stolen cigarettes and stolen bases, feet up on the threshold talking on the phone, those shooting stars in your stomach the first time you kiss. Ah, young love. There isn’t anything else like it in the world.


    • Yes, right! But I’m not one to judge, as we’re about to enter into similar terrain with our two girls — who, in like five days will be about that age, the way time flies. And in hindsight, very cool they let us do that. Beats the hell out of a curfew, and nice to be trusted (even when not deserved).

      You conjure up some great images here with your beautiful prose! Especially the Drakaar, the Obsession…I had forgotten all about that. Though there’s an Obsession print ad I think I will never forget. Young love is right. Thank you for gracing my digital pad here with some goodness, Dina.


  8. oh the pain of puberty and all it brings along with it.


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