Looking back on my high school years, I feel like I was always filled with this mild existential angst and I could never locate its source. I wouldn't go back to that era if someone paid me. It's so challenging to be an adolescent; not a kid anymore but not an adult. A multi-year limbo of confusion and hormones and ennui; unsatisfying, not cathartic at all, practically voiceless. And for me it happened in the mid to late 90s. I feel overwhelming gratitude that I didn't experience cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, texting, FaceTime, and on and on as a youth. Kids have it far harder now than I did.
The following passage is me weeks before my 17th birthday, on my way to summer camp in Northern California. I was thinking of Brian, a boy I'd met in Alabama and had a crush on. I was also thinking of Matt, a guy I'd known for years but whom I'd never thought to consciously look at in a romantic or sexual way though it had always been in the back of my mind. At this stage of my life, I had never been in love. I couldn't wait to be. I couldn't wait for passion and desire and for places to channel and fulfill them.
Saturday, June 29, 1996
I’m on the plane to Sacramento. Five minutes ago, I stood at my gate and the sun was shining in the windows. Looking out on all those planes felt like it did when I was leaving Alabama. Brian and I have a link and I will see him again. He called me on Thursday night and we had the best talks. He said, “We have to keep in touch,” and I hope we do. (“I still believe she was my twin” - Bob Dylan).
I picked Emma up and we went to her house with Elizabeth. We talked and played guitar all night while I thought about Brian. I wrote Emma a letter and left it by her bed. Yesterday, I picked Margo up from Cat’s Eye Café. We went to Lincoln Park and had an awesome talk about guys, our “guy style,” and got smoky.
I drove to Oliver’s last night but he wasn’t home. I stopped by Mason’s and seeing him made me realize that I have changed and I need to be with a guy who is solid. I don’t want to live how I used to live. Not that it was so bad when I was with him, but I could have done without it.
I came home and Oliver called so I packed for my trip before driving back over there and drank a brew and chatted with him, Elise, and Matt. Some others came over and we went outside to look at the moon. Matt and I wound up sitting in the living room. He told me he was very attracted to me and said that he was seeing me in a different light. We talked about how we’ve known each other for so long but we don’t know each other. I told him I was attracted to him, too. I asked if I could write to him and he gave me his address. He walked me outside and we stood there hugging and we kissed and now I’m thinking about him and it feels good to know one back home will be thinking of me while I’m gone. We talked about how things were different the night I came to Oliver’s to hear them play a while back. All the sudden we took a look at each other.
I have no idea what awaits me for the next two weeks. I want to marry someone in Alabama and I want Matt fucking Warner. How do these things happen? After all this time, it’s safe to say I want him. I’ll write you in Cali.