And, at last, we reach the final gem:
Unasking and surprised,
You gave me your touches, laughter and conversation
I asked for love
You took back your touches
I asked for touching
You took back your laughter
I asked for friendship
You took back your conversation
I have nothing left to ask
You have nothing left to take
Aw, Little Mertseger!
You gave me friendship
I gave you pain
You gave me attention
I gave you pain
You gave me nothing
I gave you pain
Well, no. You are being melodramatic, LM. You gave her mild discomfort and awkwardness in a tight living situation. You were, essentially, a rash. You could be ignored except for the occasional flare-ups.
You can give me nothing less
I can give you nothing more
Because you and I could not be an us
Because I was too self-possessed
Because you were too afraid
No, not really. She was just uninterested and hoping that avoiding Little Mertseger would not be too much of a hassle in the short-term.
Because I expected too much
Because you felt too little
Because you and I were too young in many ways
Actually, that's reasonably accurate
You and I can grow from this
If we let
And that's where it all ends, fragmentary and incomplete, like many such sagas.
I had a meeting Berkeley today. Here's where the whole tragicomedy occurred:
I found solace in music that horrible last quarter playing on the streets of Berkeley with a group called (yes) The Troubadours.
Tim changed universities after that quarter, and Jane and he broke up. A year or so later (okay, I'll kiss and tell) Lisa Nakamoto gave me my first kiss (which may amuse any of my high school friends who might find this post up on Facebook). I asked Lisa out a couple of times immediately after that, but she did not want to take it any further. Two year later I had my first real, albeit brief, relationship.
I did see Jane a few times thereafter. I had a hot tub party at my folk's place three years later, and both Jane and Tim came (I got to see Jane in a one-piece! More fuel for the fire.) Jane and I went out twice alone together in the years following: we went to the SF Zoo right after she graduated, and I had lunch with her on one visit to So Cal (I bought her a dozen safely yellow roses, but did not give them to her.)
Seven years after the mess, I took a job teaching at Cal State Fullerton while I finished up my PhD.,and gave her a call from my depressing institutional, windowless office once I was settled in. I caught a huge whiff of the "you may be stalking me" vibe from that conversation, and, finally, let it go. In following year I started dating in earnest.
I have my regrets, and the whole episode was embarrassing. However, it opened me up in a lot of ways, and I do not, for all that, regret the poetry. I do not regret the aspiration and the lust. I do regret the dorkiness and lack of anything remotely resembling cool. However, it was a step on the way, and the message in the end is that it does get better. For all the mistakes, it does get better.
Danny has thoughtfully provided a picture of many of the participants:
From left to right, that's Chris, Danny, Some Guy From Another Floor Who We Really Didn't Like And Did Not Want In The Picture, Yvonne, Jane, Me, and Eric B. (explicitly not the same as Edie's boyfriend at the time, Eric H.) This was taken near the end of the year, and I was happy for the moment being next to her. That's probably Danny's bed we're all on. I don't know why Jane had a pillow with the word "Bullshit" on it.