When I look back at my adolescence, I feel grief.
It’s not a grief that’s relatable. It’s one that I know I’d be better off letting go of, moving on from, accepting and getting over. But it’s not just the desire to look back that incites this grief, it’s not just a nostalgia that would be otherwise socially acceptable if not for where it leads
it’s every time I’m in a group of people talking about sex,
whenever it’s my turn to tell how I lost my virginity and I get to make a choice between bringing everyone down or keeping it to myself,
it’s that game of truth or dare where I’m asked to tell my most embarrassing story,
it’s that yoga class where I get my period and I ask if anyone has a pad but all they have are tampons so I have to leave.
So it’s not always my fault that I’m reminded. But sometimes I do just want to look back. Sometimes I just want to reminisce my adolescence. Sometimes I want to remember it fondly. Or just tell a story from it without having to hide it in my face when I realize how he’s connected to it.
But there are no memories of marching band or pit orchestra without my rapist. I loved marching band. I especially loved pit.
That’s still true. But he was there. There’s no long bus rides to away games and competitions without him.
There’s no tech crew without him there throwing screws at me.
There’s no story about that bomb threat at the school that doesn’t end on his couch watching him play Portal for hours.
There’s no summer movies on the beach without him pulling the lifeguard stand over for all of us to sit on.
There’s no sunny afternoons kayaking in the Navesink without his kayaks.
There’s no complete story of my first boyfriend that doesn’t include him.
There’s no 3 a.m. trip to the diner, any trip to the diner, fancy Fridays at the diner, not without him.
There’s no cloudless nights looking up at the stars in a hot tub having supposedly deep conversations without him.
There’s no ten mile bike/rollerblade ride to Sandy Hook
No jazz band
No cast parties
8 foot snowmen
Joint sweet 16
30-second film project
Breaking my knee
Streets in my town where we walked together.
Memories with mutual friends he’s not even a part of.
One thing leads to another and I remember and the memories are tainted
And sometimes all I want is for the good times to have been real.