...Like a car door in the soft part of a shin...
What am I on about? Let me back track slightly.
Just over a week ago I got a surprise phone call from an old friend. Let's call him Coach (he's been obsessed with basketball for as long as I've known him and has played and coached with numerous teams).
Coach was the first guy I ever really, REALLY fell for. I met him on a camp I went on at the beginning of grade 10, so I was 15. When we met, we couldn't stand each other (the same thing with TSC... see a pattern here?) and spent the week trying to avoid each other.
A few months later we bumped into each other again (literally - I was walking down a flight of stairs and he was running up them). We chatted for maybe five minutes and I thought to myself, "He's not SO bad."
It turned out that we had a mutual friend in common and we saw each other a few more times. By the time we went on our second camp, we were friends. By the end of that camp, we were inseparable.
Now if you've met me, you'll know that I am really small. I think I just, just make the 5 foot mark. Coach, on the other hand, is a typical basketball player - 6.4 foot tall. So we made an odd pair. Especially seeing I was going through a phase of collecting odd hats. At any given time, you might find the two of us strolling around the camp, me craning my head to talk to him and him bending over to hear me, both of us wearing some bizarre head piece (his favourite that he liked to steal from me was a luminous pink, fuzzy beanie that made his head look like a tea cosy. My favourite was a rainbow cap with a propellar on top of it).
It was definitely a sight that would make you giggle. Or maybe call the shrinks in!
We had a great friendship going and would argue for hours at a time about inane things like whose brother was most annoying and what breed of dog made for the best pet. But I never felt anything romantically for him. Until...
My school was invited to a huge social dance event at another school and so was his. It was an attempt by the teachers to keep us out of the clubs while we were underage and was supposed to be a club atmosphere without the booze and drugs. I figured it might be lame, but seeing he would be there, I promised I'd go.
It was actually pretty cool - there were people from about eight different schools there and there was a great vibe. Coach is a champion ballroom and Latin dancer (you can actually tell if you watch him play basketball - he's surprisingly graceful for someone so gangly) and makes anyone look brilliant on the dance floor, even someone half his height!
We were all dancing in a group when Coach came and just picked me up and plonked me on one of the sort of dance box / mini stage thingeys scattered around the huge marquee. I think he did it so that I'd be his height and he could talk to me, but the music was so loud that he had to come in really close. His adolescent cheek touched my adolescent cheek and I got a whiff of his adolescent aftershave. And that was it - I was smitten.
This took me completely by surprise. So much so that I jumped off the mini stage thingey and hid out in the bathroom stall for half an hour to try and wrap my head around it. A friend came in and called out, "T... you ok?"
"No. I think I like Coach."
Yes, this is also the dominant pattern in my life - everyone has always known about any crush I've had before I have even an inkling of what's going on. Not very self-aware, I'm afraid.
After my little discovery, I did what any teenage girl would do - agonised for months about whether he had any feeling for me.
Unlike most of my teenage infatuations, this one didn't pass within a few weeks. In fact, it went on for years. Boyfriends came and went, but Coach remained. As a friend and as some vague unattainable yet incredibly attractive idea of what I wanted in a guy. It was him I would phone the night before a science test to procrastinate and him I'd call in tears to talk me through my break-up speech that I needed to deliver to some poor sod. In fact, it was him I'd compare all the other poor sods to and find them wanting.
There was only one break in this cycle of puppy love. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow if you're interested in reading about that.
And about what hit me like a car door in the shin. Seeing that, after all, was supposedly the point of this rambling post.