That Feeling
Ever had that kind of feeling? Feeling like you're sick, nervous, nauseous, and constantly thinking of something, or someone? I certainly have, more times than I can count... and in retrospect, I probably wouldn't go back and change a thing about it at all. Call this reminiscing, a tribute to those loving, and sometimes not-so-loving souls along the way of my life, or whatever you want to call it. Although I'd have to admit that each of the individuals described here, to varying degrees, influenced and shaped the person who puts these words forth.

To those that know me very well, or even somewhat remotely well, to see or read of me putting out these kinds of details of my life, of my past, probably comes off as a shock, since I am anything but an open book, easy to read, not having to do much to see what's inside. I'm more of the locked diary... tucked under piles of books, with the key conveniently lost. Actually, though, what I do show here is but a few snippets of those memorable, and forgettable experiences. What I still keep inside is still a vast array of private memories, and many secrets yet to be revealed, and probably never to be revealed either. And yes, I do have a thing for metaphors... and I do have a thing for INOJ songs, each of which seems to tell the tale of one of my experiences. As if it was the words, or thoughts of those people.

To get to the beginning of it all, one must go back in time quite a bit. Not quite as far back as I can remember though. Almost though, relatively at least. It starts with a first time, of course.

"...sitting here thinking about the summer we shared, and how you went away, you never knew I cared..."

My first, she was something quite special. I also happened to be her first. We were both young, I was twelve and she was actually a few years younger than I. But in terms of personality, we had more than a few similiarities, which I think always goes well when it comes to younger people. So, mix that in with our totally youthful exuberance, energy, and foolishness with some heavy (misplaced?) love, and that makes for quite a combination. Though it was so long ago for me, I can still remember a lot of the experiences with her quite vividly, almost as if they just happened yesterday. The memories just get clearer the closer they are to the present day, though. We just didn't really know what we were getting into, but once we got into it, we were too much into it to realize we were both probably in over our heads. Maybe we just weren't ready for it, "it" being a relationship. I realized that, but only after we parted ways, physically but not mentally. The "mental" separation, conveniently enough for me, came just about when I discovered the presence of a second, after nearly a month when we started... sure, I felt like a real a$$ for doing that to her, since she was definitely still in love, but if anyone was going to say it was over, between us, it was definitely going to be me. The distance factor eliminated repercussions of any kind, which was somewhat of a benefit to me, but definitely not for her. Sometimes, when I think about it, guilt does creep in for that, but then again, how else was it going to be? How much could I have softened the pain for her? How much better could I have made it for her? We never saw each other or even talked to each other again until thirteen years later, eerily almost to the month as well.

"...I'm falling out of love with you, I can't go pretending that I love you..."

The second, in a strange way, also marked a first for me as well, but I'll get back to that later. As short as my first lasted, the second just about obliterated the first in terms of brevity. What a roller-coaster ride that one week of my life was. She was a beautifully cute girl, my age, and had a great atmosphere about her (I don't know how else to put it, you just want to breathe the air around her not because of her scent or anything like that, but simply just because of the way she is), I sometimes felt sick and dreary whenever I couldn't see her, but she was a flirtatious tease. And, as you would probably guess, I discovered the latter part of her qualities only when it was too late for me. Not that I would've changed my path probably, of course, but one week of (in chronological order) love, friendship, silence, silent hate, bitterness, break-up, and her finding someone new almost immediately was almost too much for my young, inexperienced heart to take. When it was over, it was as if I never knew what hit me, but the hit definitely hurt, and hurt really bad. So bad, in fact, that I deeply considered the thought of ending my life along with the relationship. I'm not sure if the orthodontics and the hard times in school had anything to do with it as well, but I definitely knew she was the major reason. I wanted to hurt her, give her a heavy dose of the pain to let her feel what it was like, and her being the cause of the death of a human being, one she used to love, was the only way I could think of to do it. I didn't do it, though I seriously considered it for about two weeks, which was about twice as long as the relationship that caused the feeling, so that should give you an idea of how dark those times were to me. It took me a full two years to even think of getting into a relationship again, but amazingly, we nearly reunited three years after breaking up. And even more surprisingly, I actually seriously entertained the notion just as much as she did. But we just didn't seem to have the "chemistry" for a second time around though, and that was too much to overcome even with a good two months or so of not-so-innocent flirting with each other. After that though, we became extremely good friends for quite a while, and even went on a date once.

"...we've been cool since we were kids, but I can't go on..."

She was a friend of mines for a long time before we got closer and, if nothing else, my third was a bridge of the chasm that found itself in my heart. Or, she represented the transition between two long uneventful periods of time. It was more than two years since my second left me for another, and it would be two years until I'd even see the fourth. I'm not exactly sure why I got into this third relationship: she wasn't exactly my type, after all. And I know I wasn't really her type. Maybe I was just in need of a person to love and express my feelings to, and from her point of view, I suppose there was this great, big mystery about me, and she probably found that intriguing and interesting. But that's how I am, really: I let a lot of my personality and emotions out at times, but I tend to keep more than enough in the bag (of tricks!?) to spring upon my small circle when I feel it's appropriate. And I have more than a lion's share that's secret, much of it unknown to everyone but myself. Not so much because I love to keep secrets to myself (I do, sometimes, actually, but...), but because more often than not, I lack an understanding ear to tell it to. Anyway, we didn't last very long either, about two weeks, maybe because she got tired of peeling off a bunch of layers of me to find... another set of layers to be peeled to reach the "true" me, whatever that is. The one quality I remember most about her is that she was too "easy" in a manner of speaking, you didn't have to do much to gain her affections, she'd just give it to anyone who showed the interest. She left me for another, but strangely, I felt nowhere near as depressed as I did with my second. Maybe I was getting used to getting dumped? Or, trying not to sound too cruel about it, maybe she didn't mean as much to me as my second? I think that is the more probable reason. Maybe it was the friendship matter that clouded things for us, but still, I don't think I could ever seriously stay in love with someone who'd give her heart away at the drop of a hat. Otherwise, there wouldn't be anything left for the real special person in her life. We remained good friends after that, and to this day as well, which is evidence that friends can still be friends after love.

"...I really don't want you to go away, take a little time to see I've changed, I really love you..."

It was, as I mentioned earlier, another two years until I met my fourth. She was a pretty, shy, frail, yet loveable soul who captured my heart without much effort on her part, which you'd have to call impressive since I was her first boyfriend. Maybe two (or is it four?) years of just being one of the guys had me just brimming with "lovey" feelings to give to someone special, someone willing and happy to accept them. And that she was, for about three weeks or so. This time, I was the one to call it quits, because she simply would not level with me, she wouldn't ever be serious about the relationship. She was decidedly younger than I, but the age difference was an irrelevant issue, as you may discover as I go on... her inability to take the relationship seriously was the problem. Not that I didn't enjoy the time we had together, though.  Heavy on fun, very light on mutual, tangible feelings, that was the relationship between us in a nutshell. It might have been just fine for her, but as for me, I needed a person who would seriously accept all the love I had to give and wanted to show her, not one who would just take it and play with it like some child's toy like she did. Even with that though, it was extremely hard for me to let go of her and my feelings for her, perhaps because I waited so long to find another, which was her. Or maybe it was because I still cared for her too much, even if it was hard to really determine if she cared about me. But, as the two girls before her did to me, I left her for another. She did not take it as well as I would've hoped, but she took it just about how you would expect one to take it, which was badly, but acceptably. The fact that I ended up with my fifth just days after breaking up with her, and that she was actually a close friend of hers did not help. It was cruelly funny how it seemed to me like she was willing to be a serious participant only after I broke up with her. We never really said a word to each other after that, ever. We probably would sometime, we just haven't had the opportunity yet.

"...I'd rather be alone, than be in love with you..."

The fifth reminds me the most of my fourth, mostly because of our age difference, circumstances, and the duration of our time together, but as far as every other aspect goes, she was almost exactly the opposite. Brash yet gentle, rough yet loving, she always seemed to combine the best aspects of two opposite qualities. And she could be genuinely in a relationship, and she could be a loving or as aloof as you'd want. She did have experience in such matters, about the same as I at the time, so that could go a long way in explaining why she seemed so much different than my fourth. And, that was our downfall. She was simply too serious about "us", probably twice as much as I was, and maybe even more than that. She was the only girlfriend I had who would wonder aloud how good of a husband I'd be, who our babies would look like, me or her. Though such talk didn't really scare me at all, I did find it a bit awkward, somewhat out of place considering that we didn't last together for very long. And, almost exactly like my previous relationship, we lasted together for about three weeks. Though we got along amazingly well for the most part, talking to each other quite a lot in school, on the way home, and at home over the phone, that one difference between us could not be overcome, by no amount of compromising. And the thing was, I didn't necessarily want to break up with her just because of that, because I felt that the good things we had going together were just too, well, good to give up just because of one small, but significant difference. But, she didn't feel that way, I guess her thinking was that if you weren't going to have anything substantial, something "fruitful" happen from it, why bother? And, she didn't take very long to let me know what it was that she felt, and that we should part ways because of that. I took it pretty hard, since I felt that up to that point it was the best relationship I'd been in and it was extremely tough for me to just let it go, but I wasn't suicidal about the break-up, and I accepted the fact after a while. We never so much as met eyes after that, and I'd say it'll be that way between us for ever.

"...I like you, but I just don't love you, don't wanna leave you but I just can't please you..."

My sixth relationship started just as the remnant shards of my fifth were almost gone from my mind. She was sweet, caring, and the only girlfriend I'd ever had who was older than I. And I loved her with all my heart. I guess I learned a lesson from my fifth, which was not to worry so much about the future of things, just let the present be as good as it can be and the future will follow suit. And the time I had with my sixth was precious, memorable... and fleeting, in more ways than one. We were a hit from the start, but then, like every song that becomes a hit (and even those that don't), it gradually petered away into nothing. Near the end, which was less than a month from our start, we had almost nothing to talk about, nothing to do with each other, practically no relationship. And it certainly wasn't my fault, I tried everything I knew of to keep us going... but it either wasn't enough, or I was in a hopeless situation, depending on how you look at it. For her to say outright that we were over would've been overkill. But she didn't do that. Instead, she revealed the reason why she was far less than an ideal girlfriend to me, and that was, I wasn't her only boyfriend. I don't exactly know why she felt that she had to tell me about that, we probably would've broken up in the natural course of destiny if things had continued along their paths, and I had every indication that it was going to end up that way anyway. Maybe she felt guilty, or sorry for me. Well, if the relationship between the two of us was still a warm, loving one as it was to start with, I might have considered staying, seriously. Love is love, no matter how small the gestures, no matter how you cut it. But I knew the love wasn't being cut, and I knew her love wasn't going to me at all, not one bit. So, I ended it. Given a choice of taking it or leaving it, I left it in a heartbeat, not even giving so much as a second thought. It was definitely one of the unkindest cuts of my life, or non-cuts? I knew it was far worse for me than my fifth, but not quite as bad as my second. We see each other rarely, but always on the friendliest of notes. On a couple of those rare occasions, I did get the sense that she would've liked another chance, a chance to go through it honestly and one-on-one, but severely infrequent meetings make for unlikely happenings, and this was no exception.

"...I'll bet you really missed me, I guess you did by the look in your eyes..."

I became a boyfriend again about ten months after breaking up with my sixth. And I went on to marry my seventh girlfriend, but as it turned out, she wasn't really my last, which may come as a surprise to you. Devotion and kindness were her most obvious attributes to me, as well as a seemingly undying love showing through her pretty face. But it was probably her ability to accept my love, and her affection for such love, that eventually brought her to the pinnacle of my life. That, and the fact that I needed someone's nearly constant presence and assistance to get through my college life situation. We spent so much time together, shared so many things, went to so many places, had so much fun together. Not that it was always happy happy joy joy though, and not even close to that. We had several disputes, arguments, whatever you call it, and much of it was of the serious nature, especially early on. I can't even remember how many times either (and sometimes, both) of us would threaten to end things, walk out, break up. But, those bad times only served to keep us together even longer. How long? Long enough to get married. Long enough to start a family. And long enough for me to actually have a few relationships in between, as well. Am I the cheating heart type? I have to admit the jury's still out on that, but... to speak in defense of myself, those were completely accidental to begin with. To speak against me, I really did nothing to stop them in their tracks. To speak in defense of me again, I never asked for more than friendship from someone else. To speak against me again, I wasn't exactly feeling guilt-ridden when they asked for more, and I too often provided a little more, even with both parties knowing the situation full well. You could call it a nagging fault, or you could call it a strangely positive attribute, it just depends on how you look at it. But from my viewpoint, it seems like a bit of both, and practically running down the middle. Circumstances, and the siren's song of other hearts, may strain the bond at times, and even run me astray when times are really grinding, but in the end I always seem to find my way back to her. We see and talk to each other just about every day, to varying degrees.

" I'll be movin' on, in time you look and I will be gone, 'cause when I needed you, you were never there for me..."

Yes, I did have an eighth, and she wasn't even my last. I say I did have that eighth now, but I honestly didn't know it then. I'll probably go to my grave saying she was never my girlfriend, but everyone I know says I was her boyfriend, but I guess I'm outnumbered by huge proportions. So I'll include her here, for discussion's sake. A cute, bright, hardworking, subtle, and sweet individual, she always had a goal to reach and would go to the depths and beyond to attain them. To me, she was a friend, a confidante, someone I could talk to for hours at a time, about the funniest of things, the most serious of subjects, and affairs of the heart to boot. To her, I was the same, and as I'd find out later, more. I wasn't aware, but she considered me as her boyfriend. I had to find out from others, but I found out, from seemingly everyone. In retrospect though, I probably was as she said, sans the normal verbal "agreement". We saw each other every day and night, and went out with each other quite often. We exchanged secrets. We had fun, and thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with each other. We were devoted to each other, we cared, we fretted about each other's problems. We talked about everything that went on in both our minds. We simply shared our lives for some time. After all, isn't that what a relationship should be, how a good one really is? Since there was no "agreement" to speak of, a break-up was nonexistent, and we just sort of drifted apart when she moved away, in both personal and physical aspects. We still exchange words on occasion, through e-mail.

" I'll call you 'round ten baby, we can be alone and get freaky on the phone..."

My ninth was, as a close friend of mines would call it, my "legend", the one person from my past that I think of and remember the most. She truly marked my inauguration into the virtual world in which I'm currently almost fully immersed in, which is that of computers and the internet, and more. I was just learning to communicate with the computer-phone line-internet connection when I happened to start talking to one rather unique individual. She came across as weird (in a good, magnetic way), understanding, and caring person, who I wasn't really sure was a female at first because of the distance between us and stories about such things in my mind. But I overlooked that one question to find out that the person I was communicating with was a genuinely caring soul, who loved certain things and hated others, but the one thing I started to take notice of was her love for me. It took me a while before she confessed that to me up front, and a little longer for me to feel that way for her, but eventually it happened. And then, the inevitable followed, which was a face-to-face, person-to-person, actual date. Physically. As in, the real world. I had some fears about actually meeting her, and if I would measure up to her standards physically. Well, I correctly assumed that she felt similarly as well. Well, oddly enough, as it turned out, we were, physically at least, soul mates. She loved guys with my dimensions, and though I didn't think much in the physical sense before, she changed my thinking with her proportions. Generally speaking, we had identical body types. If love was all about just about matching body types perfectly and nothing else, we probably would've gone on to get married. And on top of that, in terms of personality, we were so alike and got along so well, and even where we differed we simply exchanged ideas, concepts, morals, you name it, we interacted on it, and occasionally debated on it. And, aside from three dates, and one rather memorable phone call, all of it was through computers, modems, and the internet. But what our future with each other depended on was one significant thing, which was my transfer to be close to her more, physically. I can't count the number of times I leaned towards doing so, but chose not to, because I felt that was too much to go through for one person, even a very special one to me. We were never the same after my decision not to commit, but we still stuck close as friends for a while, because we still had much in common and lots to talk about which we could only speak of to each other, after all. She still holds a high place in my heart, because my love of hockey was initially planted by her, and she taught me a few lessons on how to find the ideally intellectual, interesting, cool, and nice people to converse with. I'll reveal that hockey has a big role in that, ask me if you want to know more. We rarely talk to each other now, but when it does happen the internet chats between us are of the highest quality you could think of.

"...all I want is your love, can you give it to me?"

My tenth was something of a paradox for me. A woman just about my age but just a bit younger, she reminded myself of a younger me, one that had lots of love to give but no one to really give it to. So she chose me, telling me straightforward, over e-mail, that she is in love with me, and I didn't know why. Ask me about it now, I don't quite have an answer for that. She had never met me in person (lucky her!) and only know of my existence through the internet. She'd sent me a couple of pictures of her, and she looks like she could've given my physical soul mate, my ninth, a good run for her money. She was an extremely nice, cool, and deeply bright person to talk to. She seemed to have no shortage of male acquaintances, on-line and off. And she was single, to boot. So why me? I was married already, had a baby (who she happened to adore, by the way), and was decidedly unavailable. Nevertheless, she chose me, and I really have no regrets about it. She was a best friend for me when I didn't have any really available for "duty" at the time, she genuinely cared about me and my family, and she loved hockey too (there it is, again). And she continued to be all of that even after I told her, flatly, that I could be no more than a friend to her. That really impressed me about her, that she could go on unfazed by that. She still expressed her love for me in various forms, and through the internet and all, how could I stop her? I couldn't, and I probably shouldn't have thought of doing so, either. After all, her love, unjaded by material things, unclouded by physical attraction, was like a gift of the purest kind, and you should never refuse those, there are enough people in the world taking from others, why should you stop someone from giving something for once? I returned the gesture with my unconditional friendship and genuine admiration for her, and we shared a strong bond for about four months or so, a relative lifetime compared to my standards, and much more "real" than some of my real-life relationships. She stopped somewhat abruptly after that, but she still occasionally surprises me with an online hug or kiss when I least expect it. I have no idea if we'd ever meet in person.

So there you have it. Don't know if you'd say I've through a lot, or just a little, but those are my experiences, and I wouldn't exchange them for anything. Even with the bad things. Sometimes, I still do get that sleepless, sick, and feverish feeling with someone constantly on my mind. And if you do, try doing as I do, which is, realizing that you'd never felt better or more inspired in your life.

"...time after time..."

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