i was 15 and "good looking" (at least she thought so) ... but incredibly naive. i wanted to be liked so much so that when a girl was saying she was into me then i actually believed her. if i was into her in return then i'd reciprocate and if i wasn't into her then i was nice about it by remaining polite and cordial whenever i dealt with her.
i don't blame my little sister at all for what her friend did, not in the least. in fact i have hesitated to tell this story because i do not want my sister to feel responsible for how it affected me after the fact. my sister's closest friend at the time was Kim. she was a pretty young thing who later went on to do a little bit of modelling with her shock of red hair and her tall, slim stature. Kim liked me and i had no real feelings for Kim in any way. she was young and the feelings just weren't there for her. i suspect that the fact that i didn't reciprocate in her feelings of infatuation injured her in some way. i was cordial and polite but the heart wants what it wants ... and she wanted me while i didn't want her.
along came Roxy. she was Kim's cousin and she lived out of town but she came visiting her cousin for a couple of weeks in the height of the summer before my grade 11 year. i was bursting with pubescant hormones and i wanted to be liked. Kim had declared her love for me and i had done nothing about that except to be polite and keep my distance. Roxy was a different story. i liked Roxy and i wanted to get to know her better. we spent most of a week and a half dancing and flirting around the possibility of being more than just friends. i was giddy with the idea that she was pretty and she very much wanted to hang around with me. we talked and talked and we flirted shamelessly together as we sunned ourselves in the park alongside the St Lawrence River. the park was beautiful, the weather was beautiful and she was beautiful. i would have done all that i could to remain in those moments, to stay there in the park and lay our towels next to each other so that we could sun ourselves and talk about life.
but i was 15. and shy. and i was slow to make my move.
finally the time came that i wanted to express my desires for her. oh, to kiss her and to hold her hand as we lay in the sun. i wanted to invite her roller skating with me on the coming Friday evening, because that's what you do when you're 15 and it's the early 80's.
i think i've repressed the experience because i honestly don't remember the exact nature of how she crushed my soul. seriously, i don't remember. i do remember that i took her hand as we walked home from the park and by the end of that evening she had made it clear that all the flirting and her obvious ploys from the past week had meant something other than what she was saying and doing over that time. i do remember that by the next morning she was "into" my buddy Paul and i don't for a moment blame Paul for being an innocent bystander in the least.
she left town within days of her crushing my life and all i ever heard from or about her was in a letter that she sent Paul about a month later. she never expressed any "bet" that she had with Kim about whether or not she could get me to fall for her and Kim never mentioned it to me either, but i knew. i was still naive and i didn't figure it out until much, much later but eventually, i knew.
it's only a broken heart. it's only a scar now. i learned that you can't trust everyone and someone who is scorned can inflict their own little damage amidst their hurt so that they want you to hurt too. Kim moved away from town and i didn't hear much about her over the coming few years. she dated Brian for a bit before she left and they seemed very happy together. Roxy sent a couple letters to Paul and he showed me the papers but not close enough to actually read them. we were buddies so he played it cool with me, he knew my pain and we never really discussed what she had to say much. i'm very glad that nothing came together between them since i had come to the conclusion that she was very much bad news in general for guys like me and Paul is most definitely a guy like me. eventually Paul would stand up with me at my wedding and i was an usher at his. eventually we both found women who could hold our hearts gently and lovingly. he's a good man and a good friend.
i fight the urge to have ill will for Roxy to this day, simply because nobody wants to be used like that. i have no proof that Roxy tried to prove to Kim that i could be had, that i was not so untouchable and above it all. i don't think i ever was so untouchable and i didn't realize that i had hurt Kim so much so that i in turn needed to be hurt too. we were all just kids and we didn't realize that all the hormones rushing through our bodies should include a dose of pain too. rejection is painful, even when you're nice about it. i caused pain and in my own turn i felt it too.
i was the object of a bet gone bad. a bet i can never prove existed.