This is a maudlin’ post, very indirectly related to writing, so if you’d like to skip it, I totally understand.
Time gives one perspective. Experience gives one insight.
Experience makes for great writing fodder, because you can look back at all the people you knew over the years and re-diagnose their hang-ups while using “Joe Bob” from college chemistry as the baseline for your villain.
And some of my research fro character creation is leading me down the dark paths of physical and mental disabilities, some severe, some not and when you compare that to people you once knew, sometimes only briefly, you dig up old bodies you didn’t realize were in your own backyard.
At 40, one has developed the perspective and cultivated the experiences to give one social survival skills.
When you’re 18-19, you don’t have these skills, typically. I was no exception.
I was also a little bit of a physically attractive girl with less of the narcissistic baggage that you tend to see in hotties who know they’re hot (probably because I was convinced I wasn’t hot, but that’s a story for another time.).
In my Senior year of high school, I was dating a guy “D.” It was fun and of course when you date someone, they introduce you to their hobbies. One of D’s hobbies was a weekend Anime Club populated almost entirely by older guys (late college to 40’s older.). My snarky attitude and tendency to hide behind messed-up humor helped me fit right in during the first meeting and I became a regular member.
The morning after prom, D dumped me. He said it was because I was leaving for college and “a long distance relationship wouldn’t work.” (I was going to a school a whole 2 hour drive away – I guess that’s long distance. I think it was more D was done and it was time to move on and distance was a convenient excuse.) I continued to attend Anime Club meetings because it was fun.
And word got around that Katty was single.
Not creepy-old-guy-hitting-on-some-girl-half-his-age ‘Oy,’ but every-available-male-in-my-age-bracket-coming-out-of-the-woodwork-in-under-a-week ‘Oy.’ It was like a murder of testosterone laden young crows just hovering and waiting and descending in one massive flock.
It was a bit overwhelming. And irritating. And flattering as all hell, but still irritating.
Anyway, as I was leaving an Anime meeting, a guy whom I shall call “Randy” approached me as I was talking to a few people about nothing in particular. He was the very silent type. Very withdrawn, very quiet, shy to the point you’d thought he’d cry if you asked him a question. Gods, you wanted to make eye-contact with the guy when you tried to say ‘hello’ but he would never let anyone do it. I want to say he was in his early 20’s.
He listened politely for a few minutes as we all chit-chatted, laughed quietly at a joke or two we all bantered about, handed me a note and walked away.
I opened and read it, not thinking of anything in particular, and immediately started cussing.
I think you’re a very beautiful person. I’d like to go out with you sometime.
I shouldn’t have cussed. I shouldn’t have gesticulated wildly and gone on about “what the hell is it with people?”
I should’ve just tracked Randy down and talked to him. Or at him. Randy wasn’t the talking type. He could talk, he just didn’t very often.
At 19, I didn’t appreciate the sheer amount of nerve Randy must’ve been working up for the previous 2 hours to hand me that note. I didn’t understand at the time that Randy may have had “a condition” of sorts and that by losing my shit in typical high school fashion I was essentially kicking him in the balls so hard they would need to be amputated in order to save his life. I didn’t have the maturity level and background knowledge garnered from excessive, obscure research I do now to really “get” that while Randy was in his 20’s employing a middle-school tactic, that was extremely risky from his point of view and must’ve felt like a heart-attack to him just writing that note. Delivering it must’ve been akin to sticking a gun barrel in his own mouth.
With all the research I’ve been doing lately, that particular memory has become more and more bothersome. The realization that I was wrong has gone from a random musing to a desperate need to apologize.
I don’t know what happened to Randy. He may have moved or turned into a reclusive billionaire or maybe he’s dead. It’s been 20 years – a lot can happen. I probably wouldn’t recognize him on the street if I saw him. I don’t even remember if Randy was his real name.
But I do know I owe him an apology. If I knew where he was, I’d deliver a (very) late apology in person for how I acted.
But I don’t know where he is. So I must resort to public spectacle to deliver it, because it’s the only method available. So if “Randy” ever sees this particular post (odds are he won’t, but if he does) –
I’m sorry, Randy. You didn’t deserve that.