Let me start off by stating that everything I’m about to write down is both true and more than likely to sound self entitled and whiny. This is not a happy story, it doesn’t end with me getting the girl, or with either of us accomplishing our dreams.
It ends with a friendship on a knife edge, a girl with serious emotional trauma and trust issues, and a manchild unable to cry.
I can give you the TL;DR right here, Awkward homeschooled boy meets equally homeschooled girl on the internet, five years later, boy calls girl when boy got stood up on his second ever date, and boy and girl started talking every day. fastforward to today, Boy’s emotional issue’s ‘n shit were apparently too much for Girl to handle at the moment, and now both basically aren’t speaking to eachother.
I swear to god, that’s about as condensed as it gets, and even that doesn’t do it justice hugely inaccurate, because of those damned pesky details.
I was raised in a homeschooling family of ten persons. two parents, my Mom and my Dad, an older brother, and six younger brothers and sisters. The reasons for my parents decisions for homeschooling all of us is for another post explanation, as it is a tale in of itself.
When I was about 15 or so, I was told of a website for other homeschoolers like me, a place where we could get to know one another and exchange ideas as freely as Bill Gotherd intended (Mental Gag). The site’s rules said you couldn’t post unless you were sixteen, so for about 6-7 months I waited for my sixteenth birthday.
June 2nd, 2008, the day had arrived, I was now 10 years old with 6 years experience, I could now get a drivers license, in most third world cultures, I was considered a man. But none of that mattered to me on that day, all I could think about was the fact I could now join this illustrious and exclusive web community. Within mere moments, I was bored out of my skull and went in search of much needed birthday cake. But Little did I know that someone else would be having their 16th just two years later, and that she would turn my head on it’s literal ear.
Two years later.
I was now a veteran of this site, I had seen a few thing, and wore that meager experience like a peacock wears his tail feathers. I had seen it all, and I had done it all, and I was bored. I had made a few friends on there, very few of whom I still talk to today, but I kept feeling this sense of longing. That was mostly in part of the fact I was in die hard crush mode on my best friend’s little sister, but I can now see I was longing for a simple friend. Yes, I had my Bestie, but at the time things weren’t as between he and I as they are now. Suffice it to say that, at the time, I trusted him more than he trusted me. One day, I was perusing the forums and profiles of the Homeschooler site, when I stumbled across brand new member that had joined just a few days before. I looked at the profiles pictures, read it’s “About me”, checked the post history. Remembering the minutiae of my this encounter is fairly difficult, so I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy, but I do remember thinking something along the lines of,”She’s pretty, too bad she’s only sixteen.”
Strike one for the Man-Child.
Over the next few months we would exchange friendly banter across forums, leave messages on each others walls, and would eventually become internet buddies. We even attended the same Homeschooler Video chat room a few times.
When I turned eighteen, which was somewhere in this mess of a timeline, I made my first and only Facebook account, and this girl (We’ll call her Stacy) was one of the first people I officially friended, and about a year or so later we exchanged phone numbers. Then things cooled off on the Nate/Stacy battlefront, as work was becoming a full time concern for me and she was attending her local community college. I would work about two or three different jobs in the time period between about 2011 when I got my GED and the beginning of 2013, In that time, we talked over the phone almost every day, telling each other about their day, and listening to what happened at school, or who did what at work and so on. Then one day, she told me something I wasn’t ready for, I don’t think I’d be ready for even now: She was dying.
I shit you not, she was not expecting to live past her mid twenties. That hurt more than anything else I’d felt before, My friend, the one I’d grown close to in the last two years, my confidant, could be gone before I had the chance to meet her in person? I was tearing in two, part of me want to say,”Fuck everything else, I’m going to fix this if it kills me.” the other part was urging restraint, spouting doubts, even saying that I didn’t really know her.
That’s when I came up with the crazy idea, that I would go visit this friend of mine, before my chance was lost forever.
Strike two for the manchild.
I was selfish. I wanted to see her, not for her sake, but for MY sake. I told the two parental units of the household of my grandiose scheme, and they were quick to shoot it down.
I had never met this woman in person.
I didn’t have the money to make a cross country trip.
The vehicle I had was, how to put this delicately, a fucked up piece of shit that was waiting to
murder me. By either exploding or just stranding me in the middle of nowhere.
I simply didn’t make enough money to even consider it.
Once they had finally hammered it into my thick skull that not only was I incapable or going, but also they wouldn’t let me. Stacy started to get better, going from “Could be any day” to “Make the most of your twenties, because you’ll not see your thirties.”
I had a reprieve, a chance both she and I still had time for us to meet in person, a thing of which she made clear she was looking forward to.
With the knowledge she was safe from imminent danger in the meantime, I concentrated my focus back on work.
The employment I was enjoying during Stacy’s death crisis had dried up, and I was unemployed for about six months. I broke my paycheck dry spell by getting a job as a grill technician at a local fast food chain. (Braum’s Ice Cream, for any Midwestern readers.)
And this was the start of my philosophical and emotional evolution, another story for another time. I really owe that job to my younger Sister who had put in a good word to her boss and landed me an interview, I think I made a good impression, seeing as I was employed under the same manager for almost a year and a half, even after switching locations.
About five months after being hired, I started attending my local community college at age 21. Laugh now, but I was doing this 100% debt free and without a cent of scholarships. Woopie…
After a month of pure monetary torture, I realized the meager $8.55 at 26-28 hours a week wasn’t gonna cut the mustard for much longer. I needed either a better paying job, or a second job. I chose the latter. My School offered a work study program that both paid and, AND gave a 3 credit hour discount. Fuck, the hell, yeah. I snatched that opportunity up like a falcon dive-bombing a pigeon, and began the most grueling nine months I’ve ever gone through. One job that paid $8.55/hour @ 26-28 hours a week, a second job that paid $7.45/hour @ 19 hours a week, and between 12-9 credit hours for the two semesters I did this. How I managed it with the prior stress training I had, I don’t know.
This is when things get shitty.
During all this, starting back when I made that first account, I was evolving as a person. I was growing away from my parents ideologies about life and morality, it didn’t help that we had gone through a few religion changes during all this time as well, so I was essentially forced to come up with my own set of moral standards, because the foundation I was raised on was ripped away with nothing firm to replace it. I began to question everything, starting with my Fastfood boss, who happened to be a lesbian. She opened my eyes to a lot of things, mostly how wrong the stereotypes I’d been brought up in (not by my parents) were so incredibly wrong. Also, going to college, My first actual classroom setting I’d ever experienced was a massive eye opener as well, with the classes I attended and people I met, it changed me at a fundamental level.
But, unbeknownst to me, Stacy was going through some changes to. Since her diagnosis, she began to live her life as if each day was her last. She decided to continue with her education and study to become an EMT, much to the chagrin of her parents and LDBF at the time. Also there were ongoing emotional trauma continueing on the in background of all this, which I won’t go into as these were told to me in confidence. Suffice it to say, I still choke up when I think about it.
For me, life couldn’t be better. Sure it was stressful, with the things that had happened in the beginning of 2013 , it was more stressful than anything I’d ever gone through but I could handle it.
Then things started to go to shit.
To back up a few months, my dearly beloved Meemaw passed in the early months of 2013, which was soon followed up by the suicide of a cousin and the accidental death of a childhood friend. All within a few months of each other. My family was in a shambles, my Mother’s Mom had passed, my Father’s dad was getting worse in his previously diagnosed Alzheimer’s, (Fucking eternal damnation on the hell spawn that came up with that.) and we were all trying to cope in our own ways. Mine way, it to burry it. Burry it so deep no one, not even your self can see it, let alone feel it. Alway wear a smile, always give a laugh, and everything will go back to normal. I was and am heading for a breakdown that has yet to happen, but it promises to be one of epic proportions…
My manner of copage, while most likely intensely harmful, to a lesser or greater extent worked. It had most everyone fooled, even me. Until that second date.
I was all set, or so I thought. I had convinced myself I liked her, that what I felt was more or less real. Until she stood me up. All the pain, all the hurt, every unrequited feeling of romance I had ever felt, welled up to the surface. I left the place we were to meet, and drove straight home.
I couldn’t think straight, I was close to absolutely losing all hope and all grasp of sanity when I called the one person that came to mind. “Stacy”. I dialed and drove the 3.5 miles back home, and when she answered the phone, I put on my bravest voice and tried to hide it.
It didn’t last. I caved and told her everything that was going on, and she listened to what I had to say, through all the sobs, through all the moans of pure sorrow, she listened to it all. we talked for about an hour or more, I can remember exactly, but she told me to call her if I needed to talk some more.
And call her I did. If we were talking everyday back when we thought she was dying, we were talking to each other at least twice a day now, maybe even more. And over the course of about six months, the confidant I had in her began to become something more in my sight.
Sadly, this was not the case from her perspective. Where she was a platform to vent all my pent up emotional vomit and angst, I was her springboard for issues in her own love life.
I will spare the details here as this is getting far more lengthy than I intended, and the opportunity for me to turn this into a “She owes me for being such a good friend” argument is all too real a temptation.
Strike three against the Man-Child was fast approaching.
Semester two started off with about the same fare as the last one, except weather was colder, the classes were different, and the familial troubles were getting worse. In truth, it was nothing like the previous term, I was switching majors, my grandad was getting worse, my emotional burying technique was close to it’s zenith, and now my uncle on the same side as my grandad was in ill health. If I could sum up the first few months of 2014, it would be that for me, everything to do with Y chromosomes was going to shit. Then suddenly, Finals.
Keep in mind, there were multiple issues which “Stacy” was contending, During this entire time, she’d gone through at least one break up, and last I had heard was in the process of a second one. She was getting flak from her parents, she was going through a similar religious crisis I had gone through, and had to deal with starting the infinite abyss in her near future, and still was able to somehow put up with my self important bullshit this entire time.
I can honestly say, the finals for spring 2014 were the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The week of finals, my Grandad passes way. This shit is starting to get to me, I started smoking cigarettes around that time, and I was constantly withdrawing into myself for some sort of relief from this fucking world. I began to seriously worry about my mental state, and I still don’t know if I’m 100% okay upstairs. Stacy found out about y smoking and was practically livid, she threatened to cut off all communication until I was clean, and that was went it started. True, unadulterated, fear of abandonment.
I began to panic, which made me smoke more, which made me lie about it to Stacy, which made me guilty which made me smoke even more.It spiraled down until she had enough, and she quit taking my calls. No contact, no nothing. I had lost her.
Since then, some 6 months later, her name brings an ache to my chest, a gut wrenching feeling that I’ve lost a thing not much else in this mortal plain can compare. I true friend.
Strike three for the Manchild, I’m out.