The Ballad of Golden Boy

April 23, 2015


My memory is So selective. It’s like one of those old southern country clubs, the ones only old southern white dudes named ‘so and so the third’ can get into.

Some days, I drag the lake by the golf course, recover decomposing bodies of past events, and also old hubcaps.

Natural selection I suppose, only the healthiest, strongest versions of our truths should survive. Cut out all the bad parts, like cancer or the brown spots on an apple. What is left becomes our ‘past’. It could kill us otherwise.

I am contemplating a blog about PTSD, this isn’t it…but the skeleton is there, ready to boogey out of the closet. Not today.

For this blog, and my emotional well-being, I CSI my life.
Dust my heart for prints, piece together what happened to the poor dead hooker with a heart of gold in the hours before her untimely demise.

I had a man friend in the 90’s. Golden Boy.

Had body pillows been invented back then, like actual body pillows, I would have called him that. His brother dated my best friend, and tiny town dictated we were always in the same places. He got drunk and mad a lot, my demeanor had a soothing effect on him. I felt protective of him, that is what I do. So (post bar/party) we would curl up on piles of coats or on pullout couches and guard each other.

In the way back when post * https://www.ourladyoflustandgrace.com/the-guest-room.html I mentioned a boy who taught me the true meaning of intimacy ‘not sleeping with each other, but beside each other, floating like twins in the womb…’ That’s him, safe as houses. He was with us when and after Greg died.

Just to complicate shit a bit, Golden Boy was the only one who ever stood a chance of usurping High School Sweetheart from his throne. But there was a friendship there, a valuable commodity. GB made me feel safe, cared for and useful. Things I covet and crave and constantly find myself wanting, probably because I had them once and lost them.

He was the sun. I basked rather than try to keep him in a jar, or keep him at all. My first experience just letting something be and enjoying it for what it was.

And then, (the inevitable ‘and then’) we broke this thing we had made, the thing between us that had no name. It began as it had a dozen times before, braiding our limbs, touching, talking. I tilted my face up at his and caught a kiss, probably meant for my forehead. We devoured each other like we had been starving.

The next day he yelled at me in my kitchen and stormed out of my life.

My memory blocked that part out. No details, just old grey paint, chipped and cracked. I saw it for what it was, one of those trick pictures, with something hiding underneath.

I relaxed my eyes, and then I couldn’t unsee it, all the little details. The way I could feel my eyes light up and the enormity of my smile when he walked into a room. The way the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled back. The thrumming under my fingers when my hands touched him. The weight of him as I held him up when he was drunk. Leaning into him when I was crying over this that or the other thing, how strong and solid and grounding as a tree he was. The timber of his voice, the way he always smelled like sunshine and smoke and good sweat. How I was always cold and he was always warm, so that was just right.

The hurt came back too, I remembered his wrath, not the reason for it. He had a girlfriend at the time, I knew this. Someone had seen him leave my house and started shit. I remembered being calm while he raged, even though that seemed to make it worse, I couldn’t get upset. I thought we could just pick up and go on.

The sun went out, so I moved away.

The void I felt when I got lost again and he was nowhere to be found ate all of it, like a black hole consuming without prejudice, all the good and all the bad. I recall my optimism fading in his absence. He became a parable for what that town was to me, shining moments of happiness marred and made dirty by the actions and words of others who seemed hell bent on my ruination. I felt ground down to almost nothing by the rumor mill and in one final act of self-preservation, I simply left.

We talked last year and it all came back. I remember everything. He called me darling and love, left me turning everything over in my mind, savoring it.

Made my eyes smile, the feel of the sun on my skin after years in the dark.





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