The 'Goddess'

We all had our little crushes on someone when we were younger. I wonder if ‘puppy love’ can be ‘true love’. How do you know you’re in love---when you’re just a kid? Is it possible for a kid of fourteen years old to be in love? Well, I’m going to tell you about my first heartbreak; my very first crush. I still suffer from it today. It had a huge impact on me---and it still does.

I had this major crush on my neighbor since----forever------probably since I was ten years old. She was a goddess! (Still is!) She had bright blonde hair that fell past her shoulders, and beautiful crystal blue eyes. She looked like she was eighteen years old. All the older guys hit on her—not realizing her age. I think everyone had a slight crush on her. She was way too intelligent and too mature-looking for her age.

We would wait for the bus together and we would always hang out after school and have sleepovers. Oh get your head out of the gutters people! We were kids! I was still in the closet, and dating boys. I was so jealous when The Goddess’ had a boyfriend--especially when she brought a ‘boy’ home after school. I was so jealous! The love of my life has this little twirp in her house.

New Years Eve came. ‘The Goddess’ invited me over to hang out. Usually, she holds these big parties—but it was just us and no one else. I. was. in. heaven. I thought, “Oh my Gawd! She invited just me over! On New Years!!!” Her parents were partying down the road with their friends. We thought they were old at the time, but they were only thirty-five. Wow, and I’m approaching that age in a few years myself. (Not a word Romey boy!)

‘The Goddess’ starts grabbing beer from her fridge. We start drinking and hanging out talking. Of course we did those little girl things---we danced and sang like a bunch of wannabe American Idols and played silly drinking games. Yeah Kath—you should watch out when you go out next time. Aren’t your boys this age now?

Exhausted from the entertainment that we performed for no one, we fell on the couch together. She was lying aside from me—holding my hand. We were laughing, but inside, I felt like kissing her. I didn’t let go of her hand. I kept holding on…and so did she. We were quiet for the next ten minutes, laying there, holding each other’s hand without saying a word. Then she just got up, and went to grab her second beer.

Did I lose my opportunity? Should I have done something? Or would she have slapped me across the face? I didn’t know. I just wanted to stay there forever. I sat down on the recliner and began to watch the New Years Eve shows. ‘The Goddess’ squished her way in the recliner with me. Keep in mind—this recliner was made for ‘one’. Part of her leg was resting on mine. Once again, I was back in heaven. We stayed there all night, with a blanket on top of us---until the damn phone rang and it was my mother.

“Get back to the house—ya grandmutha wants to see ya!” My mother says, sort of slurring her words. My family would still be partying well after midnight. My grandmother and I were quite similar in a lot of ways—we loved our beer and we were both born on February 4th. We had everything in common—except our lifestyles of course. While everyone else drank their martinis and scotch on the rocks---my grandmother would be slugging her beer, bringing people out to dance with her. I miss her.

“I have to go.” I told ‘The Goddess’. “I’m sorry. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“That’s okay. My parents will be home any minute anyway. Drop by tomorrow.”
She said, as she gave me a big hug. I never wanted to leave those hugs. I hopped on my trike (three-wheeler motorcycle) and drove off to my house. It was my only means of transportation.

The next few weeks riding on the school bus with her, and going to school, I found that we stopped talking as much. Our friendship was there, but it wasn’t as close. I always sat in the backseat of the bus with a bunch of my friends, and she sat in the middle section with her preppy cheerleader friends. I always sat with the crowd that always got in trouble.

I started seeing a boy that I really liked. We would hang out almost everyday after school along with a bunch of other kids. We all had four-wheeler motorcycles and would ride throughout the Appalachian trails. We always partied at the same spot and made bonfires as we drank our beer. ‘The Goddess’ and I almost stopped hanging out completely. It felt strange and I didn’t know why she was acting so different towards me now. We even snubbed one another in the hallways of our school while going to our next class. We became strangers.

One day while riding the bus home from school, a girl came up to me yelling and screaming. It was one of the ‘cheerleader’ girls that ‘The Goddess’ had with her. She wasn’t a regular on our bus. She was going home with ‘The Goddess.’

“How dare you call me a bitch! Who the hell are you to call me a bitch! You even called me a whore!” She yelled out, grabbing onto the bus seats to hold her balance.
“What? Who are you?” I asked, trying to figure out who she was. I never saw this girl in my life—not even in my school. I had no clue what she was talking about.
“I heard you called me a bitch and a whore! Wait till we get off the bus! I’m gonna kick your ass! I also know you had sex with your boyfriend already—so who’s the slut now?” She screams out, as ‘The Goddess’ just sat in her seat looking out the window. I knew something was up, because if there was any conflict on the bus, ‘The Goddess’ was the first one to look over at what was going on. She didn’t though. She knew something about this odd encounter. And by the way, I was only fourteen years old---I didn’t have sex with my boyfriend yet. But who would plant this rumor?

We all got off at the same stop, and surprisingly, the girl didn’t approach me. She just walked off with ‘The Goddess’ towards her house. It then hit me---‘The Goddess’ set this up. She had this girl verbally attack me on the bus, humiliating me in front of all my friends as they all looked on.
“Fcuk you ‘Goddess’! Don’t ever call me again!” I screamed out, across the street. She just looked back at me, almost in a sad way. Not one word came out of this vivacious beauty. She was always first to say something. I couldn’t believe how incredibly quiet she was being.

I walked into my house and straight into my room. I cried all night. I didn’t eat dinner or talk to my family. My mother was concerned. Hell if I ever missed a meal—this wasn't like me. Something had to be wrong. I couldn’t stop hysterically crying---looking at ‘The Goddess’s’ picture at the same time; hoping that my eyes would pierce her soul through the photo.

Later that evening, while my eyes were all red and puffy and hard to see out of, I slipped into the living room. I went straight for the liquor cabinet. I made myself ‘my version’ of a Long Island iced-tea. A drop of iced-tea, and a bunch of liquor---I believe I poured scotch or some whiskey in there. The amount was that of a full 8 oz glass. I drank it all. I wanted to feel numb. I then drank another. It burned.

“Debbie! Debbie! Wake up man!” My sister’s boyfriend was slapping my face, throwing cold water on me—trying to wake up from my unconsciousness. “Come on Deb! Wake up man!”

I woke up---but I couldn't breathe in or out. I started turning purple. Somehow, Bobby managed to get the air into my lungs by pulling me up and banging my back. I was sick all night—I almost died. Bobby saved my life. I’ll never forget the feeling of not being able to breathe in our out. I seriously thought that was my last day here on earth. He found me in my bedroom on the floor. My shorts were twisted around, and I somehow managed to get half my body under the bed. I don’t know how this happened, and I don’t remember---I just remember that feeling of not being able to breathe. My question is—how did Bobby know to come into my room? Why did Bobby come into my room? My sister stood outside the hallway scared. My family knew something was wrong.

A few days went by, and ‘The Goddess’ called me up. She apologized for the way her friend acted, and said she heard a rumor that I spoke of her. It was juvenile bullshit. We both said we were sorry—but till that day, we never returned to the friendship we once had. She would invite me to all her big parties and events, and I would invite her to mine—but we never hung out together alone anymore as buddies. We were now officially ‘acquaintances’.

Through the years of growing up, turning into young ladies, we would see one another periodically—because we were neighbors. We spoke and stuff, but it was different. At the age of twenty, we were still ‘awkward’. I found myself still not being able to look her in the eyes, because I didn’t want her ever knowing how I felt about her.

I watched her walk down the aisle and get married. She knew I was gay at the time, and invited Madelene and I to her wedding. When she first appeared at the doors of the church—tears began to flow nonstop. It didn’t matter, everyone was crying---because everyone loved her so much.

At the age of twenty-three, she invited me to her baby shower. I went of course and got the biggest gift on the wish list. I always flourished her with gifts—even as a kid. On top of the huge gift, was a little framed poem. It’s supposed to impersonate the new baby—speaking to its new mother. I forget the words of it—but it was so beautiful, that ‘The Goddess’s’ mother read it out loud to everyone, and started crying. They both started crying. Of course I still had ‘The Goddess’ in my heart. Even so, I wished her well. She was starting a family of her own and was about to become a mother.

Growing close to my thirties, I still saw ‘The Goddess’. She started working for a nearby jewelry store—which I always go to. She always greeted me with a kiss and a hug. I asked her about her two kids, and she asked me about Madelene. I still had a hard time looking into her eyes for some reason. I mean, come on—it’s been twenty years and I still can’t look this woman in her eyes? She helped pick out the rings that Madelene and I exchanged for one another. She knew how much I paid for the rings, she knew exactly when Madelene and I would exchange the rings and where we would do this—she knew that Madelene was the one I chose. She knew my whole life—though she wasn’t in it. Even when Madelene and I broke up, I bought her a huge diamond ring to make up for the hurt I caused her. ‘The Goddess’ picked it out.

Everything Madelene is wearing was picked out by ‘The Goddess’. Madelene loves ‘The Goddess’ and they always talk when they bump into one another. ‘The Goddess’ always invites me over when I’m in the jewelry store.

“Come by Deb! I mean, we’re neighbors!” She always says that—but never ‘calls me up’ to invite me. I don’t know if it’s sincere. We never spoke about what initially broke up our friendship later on through the years, but when we do see one another—it’s very familiar and feels ‘warm’ --and yet it also feels awkward.

I think the biggest fear about being friends with her now is--she’ll find out somehow. She’ll find out that I was totally head over heels for her. How? ...Through my eyes.

Whenever I hear a kid in their early teens saying, “I’m so in love with him/her!” I don’t take it lightly. I believe them.