“Joey” (live) by Concrete Blonde

Backspace. Skip return. I almost forgot about you. I just skipped right over a moment, and maybe I want to forget to remember. I don’t know. We were unexpected. It was all unexpected. Even just meeting you. I was supposed to be with an old friend, from high school singing-a-long, holding hands. It had been two years since we’d talked in the hallways, and exchanged notes in History and Religion. Two years since we saw each other daily. We’d grown and changed, and gone done some different roads. But, we still considered us as friends. Close ones, at that.

He had the tickets. I’d bought them, but he’d offered to hang on to them for us. He was going to pick me up, too. Cover parking and some quick dinner on the way, since I’d gotten the tickets. Depeche Mode. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen them. It wasn’t his first either.. But I was still excited to go. I’m always over the moon to go to a live show, especially with good friends.

He didn’t show up. Didn’t call. I’d later find out he took a boy he was crushing on, and flirting with on his work breaks. That truth wouldn’t be revealed for a few years. He wouldn’t return my calls, or speak to me at all. It hurt. Stung. Made me feel bitter and sad and used. But, looking back, maybe it was the hands of fate intervening. Or Loki joking around, playing changemaker. Something.

That no-show night I was set to throw pajamas on, turn on The Cure’s Disintegration, and do the bedroom sulk. That was the plan. But something ignited me. Maybe the anger simmering inside. I ditched my mope-fest plans, got dressed-up, and reached out to a new friend from one of my acting classes. She and her boyfriend were going to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror, and invited me along. Perfect.

Fate, or Loki, brought me to that rundown theater with the sticky floors and threadbare seats that used to sit right behind the Orange Mall (neither the theater, or the mall, exist anymore). So, I was there, and so were you.

You were wearing a John Taylor style hat. You had the deepest brown eyes I’d ever seen, warm, especially when you smiled. That cocky laugh and well-read wit, it was as if you knew intelligence and Han Solo snark were my kryptonite. You were overflowing with both traits, and were not hard to look at either. I breathed you in. Ate every moment I was near you as if I’d been starving. When you asked for my number before saying goodbye I felt myself tremble.

“Joey” (live) by Concrete Blonde – originally from the album, Bloodletting (1990)

“And ,if I seem to be confused,
I didn’t mean to be with you.
And, when you said I scared you,
well, I guess you scared me too.”

“Joey” (live) by Concrete Blonde
originally from the album, Bloodletting (1990)
Song Of The Day – October 4, 2011

To be honest, I thought I’d never see you again. Even though you took my number, I doubted you’d use it. At first, I waited for the ringing, hopeful, even if I didn’t really expect it. When days turned into weeks I let you slip my mind. Filing you away in the “that was a fun night”, but nothing more.

Then you called. Knowing what I know now about you, it was calculated to wait. But at the time I was too excited to hear your voice on the other end of the line to analyze it. You gave no excuse. Also a clue to your intention that I chose to miss.

We shared an awkward first date. You ran out of gas on the freeway. You talked too much about your ex-girlfriend. Said ex-girlfriend seemed a lot younger than me, and you. The flow of conversation, the flirting, the ease and excitement went missing, replaced by nerves and too long silences. The only moment of connection I felt the entire night was the lingering embrace on my front porch. No kiss. You left me wanting one. Wanting more. But, I’m sure you knew that. Also a part of your strategy with girls.

Then another set of weeks with no call. Waiting at first. Giving up again.

“Joey” by Concrete Blonde – from the album, Bloodletting (1990)

And now, years later, it seems our roles reversed. You try on your old routines. You wax worldly and poetically at me. Try to impress me with film trivia, and trying to correct me on things I know I have right. You even try the Han Solo cockiness, the laugh, the wink in your voice. Thing is, I’m not that young girl anymore.

Now you wait. You remind me that you’re waiting. You throw childish tantrums when I don’t respond quick enough. You ask for forgiveness though I’m not sure what you want me to forgive you for.

The things you bring up. Show to me. They never hurt me at all. It was the shattering of my adolescent illusions of love and sex, and the melding of the two, that left marks on me. And all those ploys and schemes you played that added more weight to my already heavy baggage.

You say I hurt you, too. Maybe I did. It never seemed like you felt anything back then, at all.

“And though I used to wonder why –
I used to cry till I was dry.
Still, sometimes I get a strange pain inside.”

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