Kristin was the first. She was Duncan's date to our Homecoming Dance. I didn't have a date, so they set me up with Kristin's friend a few days before. I'd never met her. The girls went to a different high school. We arranged an introduction at Burger King during lunchtime. She was cute. Tiny and blonde with a Jewel tooth. She told Kristin, "I ain't going to no dance with a Hessian."
I had long hair and wore a Dio t-shirt.
We went though, and that's when I fell into that raging hormonal teenage infatuation with Kristin. Her family was well-to-do, an executive for a Dad, a business owner for a Mom and a junkie for an older brother. She had Brooke Shields eyebrows and long, thick hair that cascaded in classy waves down her broad shoulders.
I wore a dress shirt under a lavender sweater.
Duncan wasn't interested in Kristin, gave her the blow off soon enough, and in the interim period, I was the guy she called for inside information. I didn't have any, but we talked every night about the inane things teenagers talk about. When our rival high schools met weeks later on the gridiron, I sat next to her in the rain, giddy at her closeness, emboldened by the four Budweisers. Duncan and Rooty were at the end of the bench talking to girls and she asked me why I wasn't with them. I said I was interested in someone else. When she asked me who, I told her.
She was silly, frivolous. Two years younger than I. I put up with all of it. Her puking in the movie theater thanks to a bottle of smuggled gin. The spoiled tantrums. She wasn't allowed to date, but we found ways around that, out the back door of the roller rink, alleged sleepovers at friends houses, nights in her room when her parents were out. You'll risk a lot when you feel that tug of another.
Her parents liked me. Invited me with the family to see "Dreamgirls" in San Francisco. Had me over for dinner. Didn't kill me when her Dad came home from work early one day and found me with my hand up his daughter's shirt. It was maroon.
Four months in all, until a friend told me he'd seen her playing tennis with another guy at the club. It wasn't until a week later that she invited me over to her house and broke up with me on her front lawn. She also asked if she could borrow my "Love at First Sting" album. I let her.
I felt the overarching devastation one can only feel at 16. A good Southern Baptist, I figured it was my drinking, a new sin I'd undertaken, that was the root of my pain. God was punishing me. I quit drinking and my friends laughed at me and called me "Sister Christian."
I haven't had a drink since Wednesday.