Memories From the Balcony – About Playing the Field . . .

Sure, I remember the first time I saw someone naked, live, and in person. I remember being a kid and seeing my first dirty magazine. At the same time, I’m not too sure where it began or if it ever began.
I don’t know where the attraction came from, other than I know “it is” an attraction.

I don’t know if I have ever experienced a typical crush. Then again, I’m not sure that I have ever been typical nor do I want to be. Yet, I know there’s always been a draw. There’s always been an attraction and an association.
I know there was a moment once. . .

We were kids playing a game of manhunt, which is the same as hide-and-go-seek. I can remember hiding in the basement of a friend’s house. Only, I wasn’t alone.

We were two kids, a little boy and a little girl, hiding next to the washing machine. There she was. I knew her no differently than I knew any of the kids from the neighborhood. She was a year younger, but there was something about her.

We were young and I mean really young. We were in grade school to be exact. This was before classes were broken up into different periods and before the days when school began with something we called homeroom.
This was before the early separations of the crowds and the different divisions of popularity. This was before we knew what it meant to be cool or have status in the crowd.
We were little, really little. 

She smelled nice – and maybe that was it. Maybe this was the first time I noticed someone’s lips or the way they sort of curled upwards in the corner of her mouth because she was smiling excitedly. Or, was she smiling because she was hiding next to me?
Maybe it was the way she smelled or the way her hair was slightly tied back. Maybe it was the way her eyes sort of glimmered in the dimness of the light that came through the basement window. Yes,
maybe this was the first time I saw or felt an attraction. Maybe this was the first time I truly felt the urge to kiss someone on their lips. Would she let me? Would she laugh? Why was I overthinking this?
And of course, why was I so nervous and afraid and why was I so excited at the same time?

I didn’t do anything. Besides, I’m not even sure that I would’ve known how to do anything (of she’d allowed me to).
Or maybe I should say that “we” didn’t do anything because most likely, “we” weren’t thinking the same things.
We just hid together. We were just two kids, crouched down beside the washing machine in the laundry room of a friend’s house, hoping that no one would come to tag us because then, of course, “you’re it!”

Someone came, though, which meant this moment was brief; but still, I can remember thinking about her. She was wonderful. She was beautiful. No wait, she was amazing and me being me, as I tried to put on my magic cape to save us from being tagged, I decided to lead the way.
I can remember feeling something – as if to say that this was almost a foreshadowing event. As if to say that for a brief moment, I understood that the beauty of someone could both incite a riot as well as cure some of the most painful ills.
Although I was unfamiliar with a truly intimate touch, I knew at that moment “this is why a person would go to war, just for love.”
She was pretty yet I say this with hardly a recollection of her name. In fact, I don’t remember her name, not at all.
But, what I do remember is that out of nowhere, we heard a noise, which meant that we had to move.
We had to move fast.
I ran out like a hero sent to save the day and then she ran out behind me. 

We were running from one room to another and, me, I was going to save us. I was going to protect my new queen.
Only, I suppose I wasn’t leading quite fast enough – and with her behind me, she pushed me as I passed through a doorway from the laundry room to the finished side of the basement.
However, when she pushed me, I tripped over something at the bottom of the threshold in the doorway which caused me to fall over and land face first into the corner of a coffee table. 
She cut me, literally.
She cut me deep.

Foreshadowing another fact of life which is that sometimes the laws of attraction can be painful and that love hurts.
I mean – let’s look at this from somewhat of a funny and lighthearted perspective.
There I was experiencing my first moment of intimate attraction. What happens?
The girl whom I thought was so pretty, whom I was looking to honor and protect from the villainous person who was “it” at the time, and to protect the girl whom I looked at, all starry-eyed, and with a moment of realization; as if to say, wow, so this is what a pretty girl looks like – in that moment of complete fascination, what does she do?
She tripped me so she wouldn’t get tagged.
She tripped me and my face hit the corner of the coffee table.
She got away and I ended up in a doctor’s office getting stitches in my eyebrow.
Not to mention the fact that I was being reprimanded and lectured by a doctor (what a dick he was) and while getting my eyebrow stitched up, I was being informed on how to be careful because if this was a quarter of an inch lower, I’d have lost my eye.

Love hurts, huh?
Well, I suppose maybe it does.

I never told anybody what I was thinking at the time, least of all the girl who pushed me.
(That bitch!)
I never told her that she was pretty. To the best of my recollection, I think she moved after that summer was over. We never said goodbye and to be honest, I don’t think we ever spoke much after “the accident.”
But no. 
I’m not sure if or when I ever felt a typical crush.
I’m not sure if I ever felt so brave to say hey, I really like you.

I admit to the fact that I have always been afraid of love, of life, of the pain or rejection. But mostly, if I’m being honest, I’ve always been afraid that I’d somehow end up alone or either loveless or unlovable.
I don’t know if my fascination or the flavors of my attraction are typical. Then again, I don’t think I care about things like that anymore. I don’t think anything about me is typical. Unless, of course, my typicalness is only typical to me.
Then this is something that I would understand.

I have created this journal with the intent of opening a special dialogue between us and the nostalgia that comes with old ideas and thoughts. The title of this journal is Memories From the Balcony, which is an offshoot of an old journal entitled Sessions From The Balcony. These were honest written accounts of the intimate journey of my life.
These were moments of love and lust. Of course, these were mixtures of moments that came with humility and dashed with sections of beauty and my open heart. The “Sessions” journal is not something that I write about anymore.

I suppose my reasoning for this is that my incentives have changed. Along with this, my intentions have changed as well.

It is clear that as an advocate, I am a personal investigator of mental health. No, no one has given me this title and no one has certified me as an expert of love or love-making.
I am not writing this as a professional healthcare provider.
Instead, I am writing this segment from the heart which means this is more than a segment about love or lust or what it felt like to get passed first base or lose my virginity.

I can say that I am not sure when or where love begins. I am not sure if I knew how to love appropriately or if my need for attention was so intense that I would allow myself the chance with anyone who showed me a glimpse of attention. 

And dig it – I get it.
I’m supposed to be “a man,” right?
No one is this honest or open or, maybe you might find this self-deprecating.
But me, I find this as honest and true.
I find this freeing and cathartic.

I get it. Most men are not so forthcoming about their fears or emotions which, by the way, I say this is nonsense. I say this is bullshit. I say that we all have feelings. I say that we all have needs and wants, desires and fascinations. I say everybody hurts and everybody bleeds.
I say that we all have our own little triggers that drive us completely wild. I say that we all have a type.
We all experience a connection that defies logic and that in a world of fascination or infatuation, there is no true connection like the one you feel when you instantly see a person . . . This is when they walk through the door – or when you see them smile or when you hear them laugh and then ah, right then and there, you come to a realization.
A light goes on and you realize that you don’t ever want to go through another day without knowing this person or hearing their voice or their laugh. 

I believe in this.

I believe in the paths we take and the process of selection. I also believe that love and the understanding of our attractions can also take time to manifest accordingly – I believe that there is a certain trigger which, if and when pulled, we find this irresistible to the point where we can become totally entranced by such a view.
I wholeheartedly believe that we can lose ourselves in the intimate association with love and lust and the ideas of “more” as in more time, more dreams, more fantasies, and more scenarios of how much we’d like to feel or touch someone so deeply.
I can say this right now: the world could fall apart. The lights could go off. The electric company could shut off the power and the gas company could shut off the heat yet the fascination for a person can be so great that none of this would even matter. 

I believe in this. I know this is true.
And I know this is real.
Deep down, so do you. 

Now, I can certainly say that there was something about the foreshadowing of events. I can certainly say that my early-life experiences with either love or lust have led me to unfortunate circumstances.
But love and lust? Yes, these are the things that keep me wanting to feel young and virile. 

I do not give in to the so-called descriptions of love nor do I say what love is supposed to look like.
I only know about myself.
I only know about what it means to be typically unique. 

I never went to a prom. I never had a high school sweetheart.
Then again, my moments of youth were spent in a highly untypical fashion.
Nevertheless, I do know what beauty is.
I’ve seen this, up-close, and personally.

I know what I see and what I prefer. I know what I enjoy and what feels good to me.
I know that this is me and, therefore, this is only designed to solve the cravings that satiate the love receptors in my mind. 

Safe to say that, yes, I have had my share of ups and downs in the so-called love department.
I have had boundary issues and timing issues.
I can say that I have chosen poorly at times. I have given in to the ideas in my head.
While I admit it, I was never a boy scout nor will I ever pretend to be. I’d like to consider myself a romantic.

And . . .
I admit that my early beginnings of my so-called sexual career was misspent on the wrong assumptions as well as the wrong connections.
I can say that virginity is truly more special than I ever considered and yet, to hell with it.
When you’re a kid on the prowl and when you’re a kid trying to pull off this idea of “becoming a man,”
(or whatever that’s supposed to be) – the idea of specializing a moment that is intended to be unforgettable and endearing, if not loving, is somehow lost by a fascination of an act that everyone else seems to know about.
Everybody wants it. To some degree, everyone needs this – and to me, I wanted this too.

I admit that my rush to find success in the sexual department was less-than sensitive and less than gentlemanly.
I was a kid.
I tried to round the bases and get myself a “home run” so-to-speak. 

I can’t say that there are memories or moments of nostalgia.
But more, there was this poem I wrote.
This was for the first true love that I had hoped to experience.
I’ve shared this before and if this is okay with you, I’d like to share this again.

Just to be clear, this is just to show where my head was at and just to prove that I have no problem with finding the willingness to love – I was simply wondering when or if this thing called love would find me or truly exist.

This was my first true poem about love:
If I listen . . .
I can hear you in my thoughts.
And if I look . . .
I can see you in my dreams
or on the movie screens
behind the walls of my eyelids
But I only hope that soon . . .
I can hold you in my arms forever.

I wrote this with no one particular in mind. In fact, I wrote this while I was alone and wondering if love was real.
Or, is love just this supposed thing or an overused expression that people say to each other just to keep someone else around. 

I remember the abandoning lonesomeness after a moment in the city.
This was the morning after a one-night stand. I remember driving home as the sun came up.

It was summertime. I had experienced the conquest of meeting someone yet after the act and the rules that come with meeting someone – and after saying the things you’d have to say in order to get what you want – and, of course, after hearing someone tell me, “No, really, I never do things like this” or that, “I’ve never had just a one-night stand in my life,” but for some reason, I was chosen to be the “one” who gets the prize – and once the trade was mutually consented upon and accepted and the transaction was complete – I drove home beneath a pretty sky. I pulled my car into the driveway.
I wanted to watch the sky for a while. So, sitting on the trunk of my car to watch the dawn, I noticed a runner in my neighborhood.

I knew him. To be clear, I never liked this man. Not because he was a dick or that he did anything.
No, he was just average. He was typical.
He wore short shorts with tube socks pulled up to his knees with typical running sneakers.
He had a sweatband around his head. He had headphones on with music wired to his ears from what we called a Walkman. This once came with a cassette tape player to play tapes of music. (Yes, I just showed my age with this one.)
He wore a white t-shirt. While jogging by my house, just as the lawn sprinklers came on at the early hours of a Sunday morning, he gave me this look as if to say, “Long night, huh buddy?” as if to say that he was wild once too. He smiled and waved. I was thinking to myself, “relax yourself Mr. Short-shorts. You and I are nothing alike.”

Sure, I get it. This was judgment.
This was me in my young angst.
I was alone in a crowd and tired of the randomness of how life can be sometimes.

Was there love out there?
Would I ever find it?
Would I ever feel it?
Better yet, would I ever be brave enough to dare the features, to successfully feel so involved, so vulnerable and would I ever be the person it takes to love so perfectly (but not typically) that in my heart – nothing could ever be so wrong again?

Is this real?

You bet your ass it is.
Is it difficult? Yes.
Is it painful? Frequently.
Elusive? Maybe.

But real?


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