Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Fricassee

My life is a YA novel today.  No, really.

I've been helping to organize a reunion party for the cast members of GODSPELL from my high school days (potentially scary, right?).  So it's a small cast -- just 10 -- but it's been challenging tracking down the last couple of people.

Our "Jesus" was the most elusive.  I finally came up with a name and address that I thought MIGHT be him.  (Mind you, I'd done extensive stalking.  We're talking old wedding announcements, family members, looking up his middle name in the year book--oh, yeah.  I'm good at this.)

This was a physical mailing address, so I had to, yanno, write a note.  On paper.  With a pen.  And send it in the mail.  With a stamp.

And, of course, I had no idea the whole time if I'd actually gotten the right guy.

This morning, I got an email from him.

Yep.  I FOUND HIM.  (I was going to say I FOUND JESUS, but that felt out of context.)  He seemed delighted that I'd found him, and expressed true regret that he won't be able to come to our reunion.

He also said that he thinks of me from time to time, and that it always brings a smile to his face.

He also said he'd love to chat on the phone.


Right.  He broke my heart eons ago.  And now he wants to chat on the phone.

What should I say?

"So, when you said you loved me, what, exactly, did you mean by that?"

"You probably didn't realize I saw you kissing that other girl in the hallway a few weeks after you'd dropped me like a stone.  Without actually TELLING me you'd dropped me."

"That time you stopped the car so you could sing along with the love song that came on the radio, just for me?  Yeah.  I still think of you when I hear that song.  And it's not a warm fuzzy."

Seriously, I'm being dramatic.  (It's all true.  Really.  It just doesn't bother me anymore.)  I'm just wondering whether I can handle the level of weirdness that will definitely occur during a phone call.  I'm also wondering if Mr. A will want to sit by me while I'm talking to "Jesus".

What would you do?

(Don't you love these totally off-the-cuff, nothing-to-do-with-writing Friday Fricassees?  Just channeling my inner teen this morning.)

(In short: help!)


  1. I'd assume he didn't mean it literally. :-) And then go write the scene!

  2. Who talks on the phone nowadays? Friend him on facebook instead.

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  4. I would probably offer to be Facebook friends and call it day (honestly). But it's interesting to think how big a deal those early crushes were.

    Another writer recently was asking me about YA books and mentioned the term "puppy love." Now, this person clearly does not write or apparently understand YA, so I sort of let it go. When you are there, your love does not feel trivial or infantile, it's very serious and real. Only someone much older looking back on their life would refer to their teen relationships as puppy love. Even then, it's kind of insulting. I had a serious boyfriend at 16-18 and though we thankfully held off on making a lot of adult decisions, or love was very real.

    In my opinion, that sets apart the YA writers who really get it; they're writing from the place that is real and alive and not nostalgia.

  5. Yep, that's got YA written ALL over it!

    I say nix the call. Some things are better left as is. Or was. Or...whatever.

    There will always be certain people from your past that you wonder about, maybe even keep tabs on in an entirely non-stalkerly, just-making-sure-they-are-still-alive-and-okay way. But, just to leave him by the locker with that girl and move on.

    My first big I-loved-him-so-much-I-acted-like-a-stupid-dork crush had a Mohawk (not a faux hawk)back in the day. He was wicked smart, but did some dumb #*%$(* things. I heard he is a neurosurgeon now. I saw him in a parking lot a few years back leaving the grocery store with an armful of flowers for (I presume) his wife. I didn't say anything--I just held back until he drove away.

    I am glad it all turned out well for him. That day I saw him from a distance, I was even more glad to head on home to my husband and kids.

  6. I totally think you should call him.

    Right now, you're still giving him the power, and if you talk to him, you will restore the power to yourself and find out that he was probably also a mixed-up teen not sure of what he was doing, led by hormones, peers and whatever else leads boys around at that age (we're not talking brain cells, since teenage boys tend to do a LOT of stupid things. You want to hear stupid? Ask my husband and his friends about their teen years!)

    But this is such a great source of angst to channel for your writing! And I'm so glad you "found Jesus"! :)

  7. holy cow! It IS a YA novel!!

    I guess the question to ask is, what would you get out of talking on the phone with him? Something positive? Then go for it. Negative? Then skip it.

  8. Eh, you could just say, "Yeah, sure. We should do that sometime," and brush it off. He probably meant it in the same was most adults mean it.

    If he was serious, I guess you could talk to him... but you risk giving him the idea that you might be into him still. If that's what he's looking for, things could get messy.

    If you guys weren't, like, besties after the breakup, then I'm not sure why he's even asking. At best, I can see him wanting to assuage his guilt about the way he treated you. At worst, I can see him either trying to start something up again OR having come to a lonely period in his life, recalling how you adored him and craving some of that attention.

    If you really, really want to get back into some kind of friendship with him or just catch up so you know what happened with his life or get some closure or just for the sake of morbid curiosity, then talk to him. You're both adults now. Adults can talk on the phone.

    If, however, you don't really want to--like you really just don't care about it at all--then remember that you're under no obligation to "catch up" with him if you'd rather not. His need to relive those days or have your attention doesn't trump you need to just... I don't know, do more productive, rewarding things.

  9. Say you're willing to chat again if he is willing to dress up as Jesus and get his picture snapped while kissing you on the cheek.

    This is probably too long distance for the above, so just write a New Adult story about a woman who watches Sting's "I'll be Watching You," that first mainstream stalking video, while arranging a reunion.

  10. Hmmm. My spidey sense is tingling!

  11. Love the comments above. My advice - don't do it. Been there, done that. It didn't turn out well. Reason: there was nowhere for the conversatuon to go except rehashing old stuff and feeling slightly embarrassed by the while thing. We could only share our teenage experience because there was no further history - nothing to talk about. But you could write about what might have happened. Much more fun .

  12. I've done the facebook message thing with a guy from a similar story, and yeah, it was just awkward.

    If you were really good friends beyond the teen romance gone wrong, then catching up might be a positive experience, but if not, enjoy the success of your mission to find him and call it a day.

  13. Omg, I've been there. Seriously. And,'s awkward. There's no way to avoid that.

    I read in a sci journal (yes, I'm that nerd) that the first person you fall in love with gets imprinted on a certain part of your neural cortex and that imprint NEVER GOES AWAY. Same with the first person you have sex with. A friend of mine concluded: you will either love or hate that person for the rest of your life, but you can never go back to neutral.

    And I totally agree with Stephsco about YA writers. 100%.

  14. Liz, I have always suspected something like that. Stupid neural cortex...erm...yeah.

  15. I think it will be awkward and a little weird but that you still ought to go for it.

    This is one of those things that you simply don't get to experience very often in life and you might regret missing out on the opportunity if you don't do it.

    Don't you want to know where he landed in life and what he's doing? I know I'd be curious. This is, after all, why FB is so popular - the chance to find out about people you sort of remember and are still curious about but don't necessarily want to call. Only, in this case, you do have to call. I'd definitely do it.

    It won't be that awful and then you'll get to tell all your other old friends about "Jesus". They'll be chomping at the bit for your info.

  16. I would invite him to skype during the reunion. It won't be awkward with 9 other people present.

  17. Oh that's tough! Play it cool. I too remember all the old things, and even when I've moved on, I'm still dying to ask WHY.

  18. First, do you WANT to talk to him? Or are you just being a nice person and finding it hard to say no?
    If you do want to talk with him, is it because you have questions from the past that you need answered or is it because you'd like to catch up on each others' lives?
    Without being harsh, I find it hard to believe that you honestly want to catch up; you would have stalked him down years ago if so. Sometimes the past should be left in the past. This way, it doesn't become your present all over again.
    Good luck!

  19. For Pete's sake, we're all adults. To much thought is going into this. Relax. It was yesteryears he broke your heart! And one thing I've realized after attending several reunions over the past years is all those quirky kids from years ago that made stupid mistakes grew up...almost like it never happened. I've no grudges. No point. Lord knows, I made my shares of mistakes. So call if you want to, or just keep it simple and be his friend on FB and catch up. Either way it doesn't matter because you have a wonderful husband and you're a fabulous author. You've moved on. But...I think the Skype suggestion is a totally fabulous idea. It'd be cool for all the cast to catch up with him that way! Good luck!

  20. Can I respectfully disagree and say that reconnecting with your first love xx years later (I'm guessing over 10 but maybe not 20) is not YA at all but falls squarely into the category of chick lit.
    It has Marian Keyes written all over it. The tantalizing idea of it...the hint of flirtation in a FB message... agreeing to meet...the anticipation...the last minute cold feet...then accidentally running into him when you're having a bad hair day and slurring due to dental work. And he's with his wife...a model.
    And so on.
    Much more fun to read about than to live through.

  21. The idea to Skype with the rest of the cast is the best idea. Getting the cast back together was why you tracked the guy down in the first place.

    Ask yourself one simple question. If Mr. A was the one contacting an old love, would you be happy about it?

  22. Unfinished business? Not "warm and fuzzy".
    A hidden/revenge agenda unrequited by forgive and forget? So hard to do the right/best thing.

    Skip the phone call and save the marriage.

    Besides, if he read choice 3 above, he'll get the point....

  23. Don't. Call. Trust me. It doesn't sound healthy, and you probably wouldn't like Mr. A. calling his high school crush either. And, it sounds like there's no burning agenda you need to discuss with him anyway. I agree that you should very optimistically mention to him about calling/getting together via Skype for the party. That way everyone can talk.