Mini-Me Monday: Julian Thomas

Oh, the pre-teen angst!

I’ll warn you now, this is a longish one. But it’s also fascinating. This is the first Mini-Me, but hopefully not the last.

What follows is an unedited “short story” I wrote shortly after the events transpired, with modern-day annotations for your benefit. Names and places changed or omitted, of course. I can’t decide whether to be disturbed by the fact that I still kind of react to guys the way I did then (but that’s another story), or laugh. I think I’ll just go with laugh.

A long time ago — when AOL Instant Messenger was still the bee’s knees — in a land strangely identical to the one where I currently reside, there lived an eighth-grader named Maria. She attended a small, Catholic, K-12 school, one of those ones where the classes are so small that the 1st and 2nd grades share a classroom, as do the 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, etc. At this point in her young life, Maria had grown out of the phase during which boys were fit only for gratuitous kicking. But she had yet to grow into a new one. In sum, boys weren’t icky, but they were definitely beneath notice.


Julian Thomas: A Short Story about a Weirdo

 INTRO

About a month ago, a new boy came to our school.  Apparently his name is Julian Thomas and he’s a freshman; that’s all I knew about him…until he IMed1 me.

1: Nowadays, the kids would say he “messaged” me. Back when AIM was the only way to M, we called it IMing. Like texting, but on the computer. Gosh. It’s not that complicated.

ONE

Completely randomly, someone IMed me whose screen name I’d never seen.  The name was “bayareajuliant,” so the name “Julian” reassured me.  I figured the new kid had just gotten a hold of my screen name from a friend.  He said, “Hey,” and I just responded with a question mark.  He told me that he was the “new kid” at school in ninth grade, and I found out that he’d gotten my screen name from Claire, a girl in 7th grade in my 7/8 class.

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In which I experience emotional overload

Dive off the blocks and into the sea of letters. A world of black and white where grey is a figment of your imagination, where the power of the written word is all you need to float onward, onward, into the bliss of oblivion.

Journal your life away. Too overwhelmed to live, too scared to love: hole up in a little den with paper and ink and plaster the walls with your scribbling. Papers, the palimpsest of a life. Scrape away reality to make room for the fiction.

Reality hurts. Its razor-sharp edges chip away what little sanity I have left. Maybe if I scurry away between the leather-bound pages and wrap myself tight in the parchment, it won’t find me. Safe and secure, never breathing, never dying, constant as the text on the page, I’ll be protected. Fiction my stronghold, fantasy my rampart, I’ll exist, and persist until the ink fades and blank pages remain. Clean, pure, and whole, without worry or regret or fear, simply…

Nothing.

In which I express my feelings rather than study for exams

I suppose, now I’ve gotten more exposure to the opposite sex, I understand a bit better. Why it’s so hard.

To wait.

I always figured it was easy, black and white—a solid brick wall you just can’t pass, and that’s that. I’ve decided to wait for marriage, so that’s what I’ll do. Piece of cake. Right?

Well, yes, that’s still the plan. But I think I get it now, or at least understand it better. When you get closer to someone, if there is a physical attraction, it’s strong. Powerful. I can feel it now, gripping like a vice, puling and working my insides like taffy. The alarm bells ring frantically in my head, warning, warning, but they don’t stop the wanting. The wanting comes through loud and clear.

It’s like powerful magnets. The closer they come together, the stronger the attraction, and the harder it is to keep them apart. Get them too close, and you have no more control—they snap together, whether you want them to or not. I’m scared that I can have such a powerful emotional reaction when all the while my more reasonable faculties assure me that anything that wouldn’t make it into a PG movie is a BIG mistake. I know that. I do. I just…hm.

I can’t help my emotions, but I don’t have to act on them. I can recognize them. I can channel them. I am in control, whether my body thinks so or not. I am in control. I am in control.

Maybe if I say it enough, it’ll be true.