Back to School


In high school there was this dude. He was the captain of the soccer team…or was it the lacrosse team? Swim team? Doesn’t matter. He was athletic and good-looking in that white-bread, vaguely-non threatening way. Good family, not enough angst to make him truly dark and mysterious (read: emotionally stunted/unavailable). Could shotgun a beer, party with the drop outs but also knew all the librarians’ names. Everyone knew him or had one of him at their school (for further edification, switch to ABC Family or the CW and take your pick) and every girl had a crush on him, wanted him on her arm or on her lips or on her punani, fucking her on a pink cloud of rainbows and unicorns as he professed his undying love and dedication, at least until graduation. Certainly out of my league. He knew my name, waved a friendly hello in AP English and that was about the extent of it.

My story was that I was the outcast in high school. Yeah, commence the eye-rolling. Because everyone thinks they were the outcast in high school. Cameron Diaz calls herself an outcast. I’m sure Ryan Gosling called himself a loser and dork in high school, or at least at the Disney tutoring program he was enrolled in. I don’t think enough people knew me, period, to even achieve the first level of rejection. I was a late transfer and because I didn’t grow up, lose my first tooth or get my first menses with the rest of the class, I felt completely left out and a total reject. I was lonely, ugly and insecure a fair amount of the time, like most teenagers are, so therefore I decided that I was the class outcast and no one, especially the lacrosse/soccer captain dude (let’s call him Ryan, shall we?) would ever acknowledge my existence, much less want me. Boo fucking hoo.

OK, bear with me, I promise this is going somewhere. Fast forward 7-8 years. I’m still living in Boston and I’m out with my girlfriend. It’s Friday night, after work, and we’re at some bar that decided to turn itself into a nightclub at 10, so all the rummies have been ushered out and replaced with chicks in black micro-minis carrying test tubes of shots and guys in shiny shirts. Wot the hell, we shrug. So we dance to some retro Kris Kross with some townies from Dot. Suddenly my friend is dancing with some other guy who looks kinda familiar – I squint and move closer. Holy shit, it’s Josh, from high school! Small world. So I go over and smile too brightly, just standing there looking at him, knowing he won’t notice because I’m the girl who no one really knew, the outcast who would just be on the sideli–
“Hey, no WAY! Ariel! What’s up?!?”
“Uh, hey! How are you, Josh?”
“It’s Jordan.”
Oh shit.
“Hey Jordan!”
“Hey, you’ll never guess who I’m here with!” He gestures with his thumb to the nearby bar. A guy is slouched against a bar stool, watching the dance floor with a bored expression. Not a clue. I peer closer. No, it couldn’t be…
“Ryan Johnson,” Jordan smiles. “Remember him?”
Holy fucking shit. Well, there’s no way he’s going to remembe–
“Hey, Ryan!” Jordan shouts. “Look who it is! From TS North!”

Ryan is on us in an instant. “Jesus, Ariel? How the hell are you? How long has it been? Didn’t know you still lived in town!”

He looks older, more world-weary, a bit heavier. But still. It’s fucking Ryan. Johnson. Captain of the whatever-team. Class-Vice-something. And he’s talking to me.

We proceed to talk shop, where we ended up going to school, where we’re working, who we’ve kept in touch with, blah blah blah. The conversation is stilted and a tad tedious. Jordan and my girlfriend, unburdened with any historical narrative, are having the time of their lives on the dance floor, busting moves to House of Pain. I’m going drink for drink with Ryan, wanting the giddiness to overtake me in a gauzy haze of pink clouds and unicorns and urging my feverish teen masturbatory material to grab the reins and steer. “Yeah, but Ryan looks a little worse for wear,” my sober critical voice whispers. “You really want to fuck this guy?”

“Yes!” I hiss back. “This is Ryan Fucking Johnson. Me, loser-reject Ariel, finally gets the Captain of the Jocks. So shut the fuck up and wait for me in the car!”

Long story short, I ended up back at his place. It was a mess; old takeout containers, dirty clothes, etc. It was more depressing than juvenile. And when Ryan took off his shirt, all I could see was back-ne and a beer gut. God forgive me, I did. I am no prize, either – but it was killing my lady-boner right quick, especially after several formative years of buildup.

“Hey, Ryan–” I ventured, as we took a break from sloppy tonsil-hockey. “How is…everything? Are you doing OK?”

“Yeah,” He sighed, eyes closed. “You know. Not doing what I expected to be doing, and, I don’t know, my parents–” he stopped and gazed off into the distance.

“Whatever. Want a drink? I sure as hell want one.” He got up and headed to the kitchen.

The magical night came to an end with me giving Ryan a hand job and sneaking out after he passed out. I left my number but he never called. You know, because he’s Ryan-Fucking-Johnson and I’m loser-reject Ariel. That’s the story I’m sticking with, anyway.

1 Comment

  1. Nikki B

    August 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Ha ha ha ha! Ohhhhhhh high school! Or, rather, ohhhhhh running in to people from high school ten years later!

    A few years back, ran into a dude I had a MAJOR crush on in middle school. He asked why we never hooked up and then proceeded to ask for my underwear.

    Alcohol is a bad look for some people. Sometimes. And I just wasn’t drunk enough.

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