There were basically two reasons I made my mom drive me across town to Magic Wheels skating rink every Friday night instead of the much more convenient Rainbow Roller Rink. Okay, truthfully, there were three reasons, but only two of them ever paid attention to me. Obviously, those reasons were female and the three of us formed a ridiculously silly teenage love triangle.
I met my cross town girlfriends (that’s how I described them anyway, they probably had far different descriptions) through a complicated set of circumstances involving All-County band. Throughout parts of my seventh and eighth grade years I had an on again, off again relationship with both of them. No, not at the same time. This was real life, not HBO.
I never had another girlfriend to bring skating, but they would often have other boyfriends. Since we were thirteen and fourteen, their relationships rose and fell over short periods of time. I’d go with one, then the other, then neither. Sometimes, one expressed interest and I’d go with them. Then the other, who until that moment “hated my guts” also suddenly wanted me. This behavior confused me even more than the hideous things my changing body afflicted me with on a daily basis.
With all the other relationships, I’m not really sure what we had was truthfully a love triangle in the classic sense. It better matched one of the polyhedral dice in my D&D bag based on whomever else fell into our ( fine, their) orbits.
Going to different schools complicated our relationships as did their close friendship. The fact that I did not posses even a rudimentary understanding of the opposite sex didn’t help any either.
The most annoying aspect of our relationships were how quickly they each fell into and out of like with me. I couldn’t keep track of which one wanted to go with me when. I would have been happy with either, mainly because, well, I’m a guy and was just happy a girl expressed interest.
I’ll never forget the time one of them was in a “hating my guts” period. The other asked me to go with her, so I did. The day after we started going together, the other girl wanted me again. I know this because she called me.
“Hello?” I said as I answered the phone.
“Hey, um, why are you calling?”
“Because I wanted to talk to you.”
“I thought you hated my guts.”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about that and . . . I don’t hate you.”
“Okay, good to know, I guess.”
“There’s something else . . .” her voice trailed off. I sat silently on the stairs with the phone cord stretched to its limit. I’m not sure why, since it’s completely out of character for me to remain silent, but I waited. She finally continued, “The thing is . . . I like you. I like you like you.”
“But I’m going with -”
“I know,” she cut me off, “But I had to tell you. I had to let you know.”
“It doesn’t matter now. I’m with her.”
“You could break up with her.”
“I’m not going to.”
“Then I’ll wait.”
“I’ll wait,” she repeated, “Will you promise me something?”
“Promise me that when, if, you two break up, you’ll go with me?”
“You want me to go with you? She’s your best friend!”
“Just promise me for after you break up. Not now. I’ll wait.”
“Uh, Okay, I promise.”
“You promise what?”
“I promise I’ll go with you if we break up,” I sighed. Don’t judge me. I was thirteen and stupid. And clueless. And young. And stupid.
Lest you think I’m joking about the stupid part, I called my current girlfriend, he supposed best friend, and told her what happened. Stop rolling your eyes, I didn’t know any better.
Long story short, the conversation didn’t go well. Accusations were made. Harsh words were spoken. I broke up with her. We both got off the phone angry. A few minutes later, my phone rang again.
“I’m sorry we broke up!” I answered (and this was before Caller ID existed). It wasn’t her.
“Did you really just break up with my best friend?”
“Yeah. I didn’t plan to, it just kind of happened.”
Reality set in as I said it. I was Alone again. Yes, I slightly over dramatized everything then. But then, a thought, a wondrous thought entered my mind. I was talking with a girl that recently made me promise to go with her. I didn’t have to be Alone. It would all work out.
“I have a promise to keep,” I said.
Silence, then, “What are you talking about?”
“Uh, you made me promise to go with you if we broke up. We broke up. So will you go with me?”
“Great . . .what do you mean, no?”
“You hurt my friend! How could I ever go with you?”
“But you wanted to go with me an hour ago.”
“That was before I knew what a jerk you are.”
“But you wanted me to break up with her!”
“No, I wanted her to break up with you.”
“I’ll never go with you!”
That ended up being untrue. We went together later. As did the other and I. Three weeks later, I got my First Kiss.
Things happen fast when you’re thirteen.