I was deeply in love with you for about twenty minutes.
Near the end of my senior year in high school, my sister, who was by then a junior in college, paged idly through my new yearbook. I'd inked little stars in the corners of the photos of the boys I'd kissed. She clucked disapprovingly. There were quite a few stars.
She turned a page and pointed. What about him? No star. I looked over her shoulder. Charles H--? I shrieked. Yeah, he's cute, she said. He's a relentless, fascist blowhard, I sniffed. He says mean things to me. He has amazing eyelashes, she said, turning the page.
The next day at school, I took a closer look at you. Everything about you was thick and lush: your hair, your eyelashes, your body. Your skin was perfect--pale light gold, like a peach. You stood up and you were suddenly tall. I hadn't noticed until then. You'd lost most of your baby fat but you were still bigger and taller than the average high school boy. You were man-sized. I wondered what it would be like to put my arms around you. To know what it felt like to hold a man.
I lingered after class and listened to you try to browbeat our Civics teacher into awarding you outstanding student. I laughed, using it as an excuse to nudge you with my shoulder. I said, maybe I should get it. I got an 'A' in this class, too. We stopped at the door and the breeze ruffled your hair. You were achingly beautiful. You blinked at me and said, but you got 'Cs' in all your other classes. You don't deserve an award.
My heart thumped once, hard enough to break. I brushed you off with some snide comment and walked away.
What? Too melodramatic?
In the years after, I didn't think of you very often but when I did, I imagined you as a member of some double-secret cabal of neo-con political puppet masters and captains of industry, that you were a Skull & Bones clean-up man, an angel-faced assassin, or that you were the guy behind the guy, villainously bald or buzz cut, a hulking Black Ops overlord with an eye patch, standing in the shadows between a potted palm and the American flag, deep in the bowels of the Pentagon.
A dark and wildly romantic fantasy.
Your brother says that you work together rehabbing real estate. That could mean anything from flipping houses to developing mega malls. I certainly hope that you set aside some of your properties for the poor, the elderly and we marginalized ‘C’ students!
Maybe you could give me some tips. I bought a 124-year-old Victorian in “rapidly gentrifying, up and coming, popular West Oakland.”
What that really means is I live in the ghetto. Only in the Bay Area can you drop $500K to live next to a crack house.
I do hope you’re doing well, my darling Charlie. That you like your life. I hope that you watch “Family Guy” and laugh. I hope that you find the war terrible and unnecessary. I hope that you love and are loved and if you have children, I hope you tell them everyday that you will never ever let anything bad happen to them.
I’m just happy that you’re not one of Dick Cheney’s minions.
Or are you?
What the heck is a contract closer? Sounds like you’re somebody’s minion…
Love (for twenty minutes),