The first slow-dance that Phil and I shared was the final song of the Valentine’s Day Dance our freshman year of high school. I don’t remember what the song was but it was 2005, so, use your imagination. The dance was, inappropriately enough, held in a local bar that closed down for the event and we swayed and smiled. In that same spot, eight years later, I would be dancing with less-than pure intentions with a guy I never thought about during third period math class.
Our first kiss was behind the Museum in town. We were seated under a tree and were joking about something (I don’t remember what) when he looked at me and simply told me to kiss him. I did. It was nice. We did it again and his tongue came into my mouth and, in shock, I bit it.
The relationship wasn’t solid. I still maintained my short-term dating style with Phil but over a course of four years. I loved Phil, yet I was afraid of love, so even though he told me he loved me on a few occasions, I never admitted it back to him. Eventually he stopped saying it to me. A small part of me is hoping he reads my blog so that he can just know that there was a time that I was in love with him.
We hugged a lot when we were together. I was afraid to kiss him after the first incident. I’d get over that by senior year when we weren’t together but tended to find each other in the dark room during photo class.
In preparation for this segment I went through my email to read our old correspondences. There weren’t a lot but there were some that proved we were close once. One conversation involved me just checking in with him to see that he was okay when he didn’t show up for school one day. Another were a series of fractals that he sent to me on Valentine’s Day.
This boy is the smartest person I knew at the time (he’s still pretty high up on the list). He was teaching himself physics our sophomore year and I tried to get Chuckie to teach me something about it just so I could impress Phil (sadly, I think I just embarrassed myself with both of those boys). He also is extremely talented with a camera in his hand.
He made me an earring once. He never finished the pair so I would wear it on one ear and just part my hair in such a way that you couldn’t see that my other ear was naked. I keep the earring in a keepsakes box on my desk.
At the Junior Prom after-party, a drunken me got separated from her friends and confusedly wandered around the bonfire. Phil found me and held me until we fell asleep in front of the dwindling fire. When it got too cold, he took off his peacoat and laid it over us like a blanket. Looking back, that was probably the first time I realized I felt safe when I was with him; in a way he was home.
I don’t know who ended it for the last time. We never had dramatic break ups for the whole school to witness. We weren’t those people. Our breakups tended to be simple, to the point, and with educated reasoning.
A friend of Phil’s died at the end of the summer after our graduation. All I wanted to do was comfort him the way he had comforted me at that prom party. I didn’t because this grief was too big for any of us to handle and I didn’t know then that comfort is the same in all arenas of life. I regret not going to him to this day.
Phil never tried to change me. He never needed me for anything but who I was and didn’t complain when who I was compromised our relationship. He was the first consistently inconsistent boy in my life. He was also the first person to tell me to pursue my creative writing career (I have it in writing).
A small part of me wishes I could go back and love Phil as fully as he loved me. I think my life would be different and I would be less afraid of love. I don’t think we would have made it past high school either way but I think I could have learned a lot about love and relationships from Phil if I had just given him the chance.