Mar 022001
 

In High School I had this friend. I’ll call her Jen, because that was her name. Jen was one of my better friends back then. We spent hours on the phone, sometimes every day. We shared secrets, dreams, fears. Everything that good friends do.

So it only goes without saying that I did with Jen what I did with every female friend I had in High School. I fell madly in love with her.

For those of you who don’t know me, this was a pretty common thread of mine. I’d meet a female, she would look at me, and I’d fall in love with her. Sometimes she didn’t even have to look at me.

I made a lot of good friends really uncomfortable with this trend of mine. Girls who really wanted to be my friend couldn’t because the smallest amount of attention that they would pay to me instantly became them “sending me signals” that they liked me. It’s something I’m horribly embarrassed about, and whenever I think on it I shake my head in shame at the pathetic person that I was back then.

But I digress…

I wanted to write about Jen because she is one of the few people who I knew in high school that doesn’t like me anymore. In fact, for a while there I think it was fairly safe to say that she hated me.

This bothers me. Profoundly.

I strive to be a good person. I try and make a positive impact on the people around me. Generally, I think I’m successful in this endeavor, but Jen is one of the few people that seem to genuinely dislike me.

What’s worse is that she has valid reasons.

The first was from high school. When I was pulling my “oh I love you” routine on her, I went through my standard pattern of utter depression when she rejected my clumsy and awkward advances. Apparently, during one of our conversations about this, I mentioned wanting to die. I may even have gone so far as to say I was going to kill myself. Jen stayed up all night worrying about me. She kept trying to call me to see if I was ok, and I didn’t answer the phone. She was convinced I had done something to myself. So the next day at school, she asks my friend Beau if I was ok. His response? “Yeah, he’s fine. We were playing Dungeons and Dragons all night. Why?”

So Jen spent all night worrying about me, and I was off pretending to be Thockwoddle the Archer and fighting the forces of evil.

You know what’s worse about this? I don’t remember it happening. At all. I remember being “in love” with her, and I remember being distraught over her not feeling the same way. But suicide threats? I don’t remember doing it. So not only did I put her through a night of hell, I don’t even have the common courtesy to remember it.

So you can imagine her displeasure with me.

Cut to several years later. I hadn’t seen Jen since I graduated from high school, but we ran into each other at a Halloween party for a mutual friend. A friend who had recently broken up with a close friend of mine who I was in regular contact with (he had recently moved to New York). Jen was, apparently, willing to let bygones be bygones and start fresh with me. We greeted each other, traded small talk and “how are you’s.” Everything seemed fine. Then the hostess asked me a question about her ex boyfriend.

For the record (and this probably makes me seem really stupid again), I don’t remember what the question and answer exchange was. I think it was as simple as “Does he ask about me?” Now, how do I answer a question like that? If I say yes, she gets her hopes up that he still likes her. If I tell her the truth and say no, she thinks that she didn’t mean anything to him.

I took the ethical high road and lied. I told her no. You see, if I had told her the truth, I would have told her that he called her an insane bitch. I would have told her that he said I should try and get her to give me head because she was really good at it. I would have told her that he had wanted to break up with her a long time before he had, but didn’t because he really didn’t have anything better to go with and she was nice to fuck every once in a while. I didn’t think she needed to hear that, nor did I want to make up a whole pack of lies about how he had asked about her. So I said no.

There was no way I could get out of the question without hurting her somehow, and sure enough she spent the next hour or so holed up in her room crying. Jen saw this, saw that I hurt her friend, and decided that I was still a shithead and not worth her time.

I really can’t say I blame her, considering our track record. I just wish it wasn’t the case. Jen meant a lot to me in high school, and whenever I hear about what she is up to I get a pang or regret knowing what I lost.

And it makes me wonder…

Like most people, I wonder about myself. I try to be a good person, but I wonder if I’m doing it because I AM a good person or because I am serving my own need by being so. I guess my question is, do all of my friends know the real me?

Or does Jen?