So after discovering/discussing with an ex boyfriend that our lives had been intertwined many years before dating, (Shades of Yellow Pt. 1, Shades of Yellow Pt. 2) and his strong oppositional reaction to that fact, these two little snippets of memories I’ve kept completely to myself all of these years. I mean if the whole turn of events with the park freaked him out, I’m not going to sit down and explain the fact that he also happened to be the first person I’d ever felt a physical attraction toward. I don’t know about all that love at first sight stuff, but there was definitely an instant attraction. How do I know that? How to I remember these things in just detail forever years later? Well…. because NORMALLY, things like that are innocent. When I, young girl, went home and wrote everything down in my journal, I never anticipated actually BEING with the guy several years later, or having a horrible break up resulting in threats, lawyers and off the wall accusations.
Yep, while my choice medium of blogging is relatively new, I’ve been writing things down in various journals since about 1996, which I’ve kept stuffed in a box in storage until the past two years while going through my therapy. There have only been two journals that I’ve lost during the course of time. One was in my car when it was stolen, and the second was a collection of love letters I wrote but never sent to my ex while he was away for several months. I burnt that one. lol. The others have all been collecting dust and falling apart. Some of them are a bit hard to read since I only had access to pencils many times, plus my spelling, and penmanship were quite sloppy back in the day.
Then, there’s the fact that a lot of it’s hard to read because I was in the throes of my undiagnosed emotional instability. Experiencing it as I was growing up it didn’t seem troubled, but looking back at it now? Good Lord, I don’t know how I managed to make it to my twenties before I sought help. Well, I do. I didn’t know any differently, but still. I was very troubled in my adolescence, having a record of it is a little unsettling, but also helpful in terms of gauging my growth and recovery. If I can get better after going through all of that, there is hope for just about anyone.
ANYWAY… while I didn’t tell him all of the details, I do remember discussing some things with him at our first “date” which was really just us spending time together outside of work more than a true date. In fact, we met at McDonald’s, he was 45min late, and I’d actually grown tired of waiting for him. I left, but he called me a few moments later and persuaded me to come back. I almost didn’t, but the same curiosity and attraction illustrated in these next stories, was still present when we started working together, so I did. We discussed the fact that he owned a popular kiosk at a local mall, and used to work at specific restaurant, but I don’t believe I ever recanted my own memories of each of our previous meetings with him. Pretty sure I just sat there dumbfounded and started laughing when I figured out we’d met before. We did talk about my outrageous orange pants after we began living together, but that was because he found them in the laundry not because he associated them with a specific memory.
Taking the time to sort of write them all together for the first time I’ve also noticed something else. Each time we encountered each other prior to our working and eventual romantic relationship I was wearing one eye catching shade or another of yellow/orange. Which didn’t really mean anything at the time, but looking back at it now I have to wonder if his lingering memory of the girl in yellow is what drew him to me each subsequent time, never thinking that I could be the same girl. Much like I was drawn to him each time, never realizing that he was the same guy. That’s probably digging too deep, but it does make me wonder.
I was bouncing around the mall for the first time alone. Well not entirely alone. I was with a gaggle of three of my closest friends, but our parents had left us to our own devices. It was a really big deal to me since this was the first time I was allowed to wander off with out my mom following closely behind. The significance of the moment was lost to my friends who were several years older and afforded much more freedom than I. I was the oldest of three girls, four years apart from my next youngest sister. Most of my life had been geared toward activities and things suitable for an audience much younger than I. It was almost like my parents had forgotten that I was so much farther ahead in maturity and interest. I felt trapped and desperately just wanted some independence. That day at the mall I was granted my wish. I don’t even really think it was intentional as the group of us girls wandered ahead to the next store while our moms stayed behind. We kept on until eventually we were so far ahead our moms were no longer in our minds.
It wasn’t until we had spent more than an hour scouring through compact discs that I realized our moms had yet to catch up. I paused, momentarily wondering if I should be there like I had broken some unspoken law between mother and child. Had I run away? Was I lost? Should we be looking for our moms?
“Hey guys? Where are our moms?” I asked the group as they continued to browse the shelves.
“They’re probably waiting out side. It’s kind of loud and cramped in here.” J, the oldest of our entourage, answered casually. “Why?”
“Oh no reason. I just thought it was kind of weird. I mean… I don’t even know if I’m supposed to be here without my mom. Or where we’re supposed to meet or anything like that. I mean I guess if it was really a big deal some one would find us or page us or some thing.” I said.
“Do you want us to go find your mom?” J asked.
I thought about it for a moment.
“No we don’t have to. Like I said I guess some one will come looking for us if they’re actually missing us.” I answered.
It was still kind of weird being out on my own so to speak, but it was also very exciting. Liberating almost. I was still a little unnerved by the way it had happened almost by accident instead of some ceremonial you are now old enough to go off with your friends thing. I don’t really know why I expected it to be such a big deal, or how I still felt uneasy with it, but I did. The uneasy feeling finally wore off as we made our way to yet another store.
We weren’t looking for anything in particular, just wasting time really. We bounced in and out of stores that really had nothing to offer a group of teen and preteen girls up one side of the main aisle and down the other until we eventually reached the food court and found our moms. We walked up to the table to check in, and like I had been going off on my own for years my mom hadn’t even been concerned that I wasn’t with her.
That was more scary than any other part of the whole event. I was expecting a lecture at least, or to be grounded for a month, but instead she merely asked if I needed any money or if I had bought anything. I told her that I hadn’t found anything, and then we were off again to the last wing of the mall. At the time there was a very popular trading card game which was the latest and greatest thing. It was rumored that the best place to get any card you were looking for was a small kiosk in the very mall we were visiting. We’d been all over the mall and had yet to find it. Wandering down the last corridor all of our conversation shifted towards the game.
Personally, I had only played the game once or twice. I had a pile of cards at home, but it was more of a novelty for me than a serious hobby. It was the “cool” thing to have, so of course I wanted to have them. I don’t even really remember where I got the cards in the first place. I certainly didn’t have enough to build any substantial deck, nor did I really care to increase my collection for the purpose of playing the game, but I was happily tagging along in search of the ever allusive kiosk none the less. We spotted it just as we headed into another store and decided to stop there as our last stop. A few moments later we were headed toward the kiosk, but instead of stopping we passed by.
As we walked by the kid sitting at the cash register caught my eye. He was busy putting cards into the display case and flipping through a binder. He ran his hand through his shaggy chestnut hair and sat up as we walked by talking of his merchandise. Until we made brief eye contact I hadn’t noticed, but I had been staring at him. As soon as his eyes met mine, I quickly diverted my attention and felt my face grow hot.
I hadn’t really taken much notice in the opposite sex just yet, but something about this guy at the kiosk took me by surprise. A chill ran down my spine, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I was completely flustered and had no idea really why. After a few moments I turned my attention back towards the mysterious Kiosk Kid, and saw him run his hand through his hair yet again and return to his binder. I was relieved that he either hadn’t noticed me staring, or I had diverted my attention quickly enough for him not to pick up on it. Now that he was distracted in his work I was free to continue staring at him as we walked into another store. He piqued my curiosity just as much as he captivated me. I wanted to know more about him, but I was hindered by crippling shyness. I couldn’t even speak to someone I knew by acquaintance let alone walk up to a complete stranger and make conversation. Especially since I had reacted so strongly to him from across the room. It petrified me to even think about talking to him face to face.
We finished perusing the other store and headed toward the kiosk. When we first arrived the Kiosk Kid was no where to be found. I breathed a silent prayer of thanks as I made my way around looking at cards. It didn’t take very long for me to work my way around, especially since I had no interest in actually purchasing anything. The selection of single cards was impressive. I’d never seen them presented in that format. Normally all I saw were the packs of cards sold at the local grocery stores, it was kind of a neat concept that you could come and purchase the exact card you were looking for and that they were easily and quickly accessible. As I finished looking I stepped away from the kiosk immersed in conversation about a certain card that no one could find with B the only one in our group that was even remotely close to my age. I had my back to the kiosk as J and A the other two people in our gaggle of girls, finished their shopping when out of the blue I heard a voice ask: “Why do you wear those?”
I don’t know why I turned around, we were in a mall filled with people. That question could have been directed at anyone, but I turned and came face to face with my deepest fear: a conversation with Kiosk Kid. He was looking directly at me as he pulled out several cards for J and A to look at.
“What?” I asked completely flabbergasted, and slightly offended that he was criticizing my wardrobe, as my face grew hot from embarrassment.
“Those pants. Why do you wear those orange pants?” He asked again, gesturing with a flip of his wrist at my pants.
“Because I like orange?” I answered more confused than anything, once again meeting those dark eyes with the penetrating gaze.
It had never mattered to me how someone perceived my clothes before, but sitting there, cornered by this boy and confronted with it stirred up something inside of me. I was one part offended, one part attracted to his directness and honesty.
He watched me for a moment before he answered, “That’s dumb. The only reason some one wears bright orange pants is because they want attention. Not because they like orange, and orange is cool.”
At that, I scowled, rolled my eyes and returned to my conversation with B as J and A finished their transaction. He was wrong. I didn’t want attention in the least, but the reason behind my wardrobe choice was deeper than the surface answer I gave him. It was true, I did like orange, but the only reason I was actually wearing such outlandish pants was because I was stuck in a whirlwind trying to establish an identity. (Hello BPD)
I was still so young and living in my parents house. I couldn’t out right rebel in the classic fashion as my parents controlled everything from what I watched on television, to what radio stations I listened to, and who I was friends with. Feeling the growing pressure between they and myself, they also stopped providing me with my weekly allowance. Even if I was to go out by myself, or with friends I didn’t have any resources to buy anything with out my parents’ permission. I felt smothered, my vibrant and outgoing personality hidden under this veil of secrecy in the guise of “acceptable” by my parents. This way, by convincing my mother to buy something innocent such as orange pants I could rebel, and display the vibrance and vitality I felt for life but in an “acceptable” fashion. Even having them in my wardrobe I was rarely allowed to wear them, but it was a start. I suppose it did catch people’s attention. Not a lot you can hide with orange pants, but that was the last thing on my mind.
Of course I couldn’t sit there and explain all of this to a stranger at the mall. I hadn’t explained this to anyone. It felt foolish. No one was going to listen to me, it would only drive them away. So I reacted the only way I knew how to when confronted, indifference and anger. As J and A finished their purchase, we walked away and I told them about the highly offensive confrontation with the guy. As teen and preteen girls tend to do, we all began to talk very loudly and passive aggressively insulted the Kiosk Kid. I don’t remember what we said exactly, but it was something to the effect of being an adult working at a kiosk at the mall selling trading cards to children. Something we said I found exceptionally hilarious and let out a loud and genuine laugh as I tossed a seething glance back in his direction as we began to walk away.
Again, I caught his eyes. This time instead of an attractive curiosity, I saw something else in that fleeting glance before he returned to his work. It was a hint of sadness, and anger. I immediately regretted being so cruel to him, but the moment had passed and we were on to other things.
Fast forward a few years. The kiosk had closed, and for all I knew, I would never see that Kiosk Kid again. I did go back with another group of friends a few months after that exchange on a whim to see if I might run into him again, but to my great disappointment the kiosk was gone and it was all just a memory. Until this next event… Of course a lot of things can happen in a few years time. Kiosk Kid had grown up quite a bit, changing in both physical appearance and life situation. If I hadn’t written these things in my journal, or wound up dating him, I never would have known that Kiosk Kid and the cute cashier in our next story was in fact the same person, just as I’m sure if any shred of these events stuck in his memory he never knew Orange Pants Girl, and Bored Rude Girl were me.
The day after I returned from my trip to Brazil happened to be a birthday party for one of my young second cousins at a local restaurant. It was set up like an arcade with games, tokens, tickets and prizes. My younger sisters went off to play, and I decided to sit at the table with my mom. I was still pretty young and there was plenty for older kids to do, I just chose not to do it. Partially because I was exhausted from the two day flight home, and partially because I just felt a little out of place being one of the oldest kids at the party.
I had pulled out the last remaining shred of clean clothes I owned before heading out the door, which happened to be yet another shade of pale orange. This time it was a shirt, which was tighter than I liked, really showing off my curves. I hated it, but it was the only thing clean so I put it on paired with the baggiest pair of cargo khaki’s I could find in my closet.
My mom and her cousin talked about anything and everything, but I was soon bored with the conversation between them and began to people watch. We were seated directly in front of the prize counter with a decent view of the behind the scenes action. I watched as the manager did something with the register, took care of customers, and then seemingly out of nowhere another employee appeared, who I hadn’t seen before.
As he made his way to the front counter he looked like he had just rolled out of bed with his wrinkled uniform, and disheveled unshaved appearance. I didn’t really understand it, but something about him caught my eye. I was immediately attracted to him, and all sorts of thoughts and feelings were welling up inside me that I hadn’t felt since the encounter with Kiosk Kid. As he went about his business I gave him a good once over.
I didn’t know this Cashier Kid, but he met all of the physical qualities, I found attractive. Scruffy, dark hair, and dark eyes. In addition to all those points, he was also well built and muscular, which had never really mattered before, but on him it intensified the butterflies in my stomach. Even dressed in his wrinkled uniform his broad shoulders and arms were well defined. I was captivated, but completely unsure of how to act. I still lacked the courage to go up and start a conversation with him, so I just watched from afar.
There was a small rush and he disappeared behind the scenes once again. I tried to get back into the conversation at the table, but it just wasn’t happening. After about an hour Cashier Kid walked back out to the counter and started doing something with the register. I don’t know if he noticed me starting or not, but I totally was. Taking in every inch of him, studying him intensely, wishing desperately that I had the courage to go up and talk to him. When I couldn’t muster up the courage, I started trying to find an excuse. Eventually my little sisters would need to cash in their tickets as we were getting ready to leave, maybe if I waited long enough for them I could go up and “help” them out.
As if she were reading my mind, my mom suggested that I go up to the prize counter and look for appropriate prizes for my sisters. I waited until Cashier Kid wandered back into the back, and then casually made my way up to the counter, trying my best to seem interested in the little trinkets behind the glass lost in my own thoughts.
“You look really bored over there.” A voice said bringing me back to reality.
I looked up and to my surprise there he was. Standing less than two feet away from me, and more than that he was TALKING to me. Cashier Kid.
“Yeah. My little sisters are at a birthday party.” I answered, as I blushed.
“Well it’s not all for the little kids you know. There’s stuff you can do to. I hang out here and play games with my step son all the time.” He answered.
My heart skipped a beat when he mentioned his step son. Yes, it meant that he was married, which was a bit of a disappointment. But then again, how likely was it that we would strike up a conversation or friendship anyway? He was just an unattainable crush, which I had known the first time I caught site of him, but all the same for a brief moment anything was possible. All of these thoughts racing through my head, and the only thing that managed to come out of my mouth was: “Well yeah. I know that. I just don’t feel like it.”
At that he smirked and said: “Oh, too cool for that huh? You’d rather sit over there at the table and be bored.”
“Well actually we’re leaving. That’s why I’m up here. I’m waiting for my sister so she can cash in her tickets because she’s like five and can’t pick stuff out by herself.” I answered with a scowl.
“You’re not here just to talk to the cute guy behind the ticket counter?” He asked with an even more devious grin.
At this point I had been found out, and was kind of taken aback that he was flirting with me. Especially since he said he was married. It was still pretty new territory for me, the whole human interaction with the opposite sex thing, so maybe he wasn’t actually flirting so much as just making conversation and calling me out on my obvious staring and discomfort while interacting with him. I was so wrapped up in the heat of the moment that I resorted to the only thing I knew, a snide sarcastic mean remark. “I might be, is he here?” I said with an acid tone in my voice.
He produced a half hearted laugh to mask the fact that I had stung his ego and replied: “Ooooooooh. Good one. Is this your sister?”
My sister had indeed walked up. We cashed in her tickets and got ready to leave. As we were walking out the door Cashier Kid waved and loudly called: “Byyyyyyyye.” Drawing the attention of my mother, which made for a really fun ride home being interrogated.
So… Baring my adolescent soul right here. It’s taken me quite a bit of time to decide if I wanted to share these moments. Especially after all the drama that the short lived relationship between Kiosk/Cashier Kid and I, break up, plus everything else after the fact has taken it’s toll. I’ve already got people making accusations against me for sharing my memories and lief experiences. Do I really want to add fuel to the fire? Clearly, as it’s been published I decided to share it. lol.
It’s my life, they’re my memories. I’m aware it’s a very real possibility that the only person who remembers a lot of this is me, the awkward girl who wrote down all the static in her head stuffing it away in a closet until I was ready to deal with it. That’s how memory works. It’s all a matter of perception, and it never matches up between people 100%. That doesn’t mean anyone is being dishonest, it’s just one of those scientific conundrums of the human condition. A lot of the things I’ve shared about my past are fairly detailed and specific, because I wrote them down. There are also a lot of memories that I didn’t write down, which aren’t so detailed due to the passage of time. Maybe there is more to the story that I’ve forgotten or left out, but since I can’t sit down and compare notes, all you get is my version. Which is how it should be on my blog, regarding my life, right?