The quest to get served in a bar is an arduous task for underage adventure seekers. Constantly wanting to feel more grown up than you really are is enhanced while holding a beer.
There is this bar in my hometown that is the cool proverbial hole in the wall with live jazz, a sleek deep brown wooden bar with stools with backs you can fall into as you imbibe. Smoking a cigarette, laughing and talking a bold boy strikes up a conversation with me and my male friend I was at the bar with that night.
The boy had blue-green eyes, curly hair and a devilish smile. We laughed and talked and finally as the bar was closing he asked us back to his house. Of course I said yes, forgetting completely and not caring at all about the friend I had come with whom had crush on me and in my deep heart I knew I was making a clear choice to blow off this nice boy I had been friends and friends who have sex with for many years for this new intriguing person.
We sat in his kitchen listening to music, playing cards and talking. As it became later and later my friend who drove me wanted to take me home and leave, I am sure feeling like a neon pink slimy hairy third wheel.
Because of the magic of that night I do not even remember what happened but that the new boy and I became inseparable. I heard Tom Waits for the first time and found it the most amazing music I had ever heard. Where had this singer been all my life? Romantic, deeply personal and melodic despite his gravel.
Smoking, talking, laughing and falling in love felt grown up, similar to the feeling I was looking for in other boys, drinking, drugs and misadventure up to that point. I felt sexy. I felt desired. I felt unashamed of those desires and complete as they were reciprocated with ease. The loving of this boy was easy and intoxicating.
Laying in bed laughing naked and talking. Sitting in silence on the sofa each of us reading and not talking but completely engaged with each other. Feeling so completely happy.
Despite the fact that eventually he broke my heart into pieces and we had only one other night with each other before I moved away from my hometown and we didn’t speak again ever I loved him. Love him.
When I returned to my home town after my mother died and my husband and I moved into her old house to start a new life together I tried to contact him. I left notes for him at the bar. I just couldn’t find him. If my notes found him I assumed he wasn’t interested in reconnecting in friendship which made me sad but I understood. A year later, back in the same bar, I inquired about him. The bartender, who had a kind but sad face pulled me aside and told me that he had recently died. Drowned. He was dead. And that was it.
I loved him. It was a first real love and I will be forever grateful.