A single past (Part 1 of 4).

Chuckie wasn’t necessarily the coolest guy.  He would grow up to play the bass clarinet and he’d teach himself the mandolin; he’d become a miller; he’d work with computers; he’d remain a smart dude.

And, like I said, he wasn’t considered the coolest guy, but I think I liked him because his quirkiness matched mine.  How does that song go? “That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images…” Yeah, it was something like that.  But, I was “cool” by association and tried to keep up appearances (this was middle school, you guys), and I strung Chuckie along.

He’d give me a necklace and I’d break up with him by letter.  He’d ask me to slow dance   at one of our middle school dances and I’d hide in the bathroom.  He’d become my secret admirer and I wouldn’t give him the time of day.

I was a bitch.

Or I seemed like one because I was afraid to be as openly quirky as Chuckie.  He was comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t like everyone else.  He didn’t need to fit in.  I did.  All my friends fit in (and they never required me to be like them but I was afraid to not be like them) and I wanted to fit in even though that was tiring for me to do.

Chuckie and I broke up three times that 7th grade year.  We got back together one last time at the of end of our freshman year.  Not much had changed.  Friends were the same; I was the same, scared, hormonal me; and Chuckie was more himself than ever. But we gave it a go.

It lasted about a month.

He was the first boy I kissed.  He was the first boy I got drunk with and then drunkenly kissed.  He was the first boy I let get to first base (that’s the one with the boobs, right?).

But the thing is, I never fully appreciated Chuckie for who he was – I do now.  Although I couldn’t see it then, I learned to embrace my personality from him first.  It would take me until my sophomore year of college to begin seeing that being weird was normal.  Everyone was weird.  I think that if I had to do it over the only thing I would have done differently is be myself.

I don’t think we would have worked out either way.  I never felt myself love him.  But I think he’s the one that taught me the most about myself, even if this was realized through drunken reminiscing, years after our final break up.

Our last conversation, about a year and a half ago, Chuckie told me that I had been a bitch (not in those exact words) when we tried to date.  It made me realize that I was more horrible than I initially thought (I tried to apologize but he said it wasn’t necessary to apologize to someone who loves you).

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