Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 6: Part 2 - My grand guitar debut.

Okay, continuing.  Also, I'm learning how to put photos up on this silly thing. This is what I look like today. And yes, this is the kill shirt from Dexter.

I was talking about Lee, and Haylee.  We're now going to talk about the night Lee officially fell in love with me. I need to tell a story that makes me look good after a story that shows how dumb I was.

Here's some context for ya.

When my dad served his mission back in 1971 or so, he bought a classical guitar, handmade in Brazil.  That guitar made it back to the United States with him, and ended up in Reed's possession. Reed was the guitarist of the family, after all.  It made sense for him to get it.  It was a beautiful, wide neck, classical guitar. Nylon strings, sounded great. Even after thirty five years.

One Saturday morning, in the Spring of 2006, I decided to take it out of the case and try to learn a song.  I asked Reed to show me which chords to play for the song, and where to put my fingers.

G, C, D, Em.


January, just a few months earlier.

I finally "broke up" with Haylee. It wasn't really officially going out, but it was kind of an official break up.  I had a long talk with her about my feelings for Lee, and she was cool with us calling it quits so I could see what happened with Lee.  That was pretty cool of her, thinking back on it.

Well, the next night, I drove with Lee up to the park, parked my car, and told her that we could finally be "together".  She was pretty excited to say the least. We...kissed. I remember the song that was playing on my stereo. It was Fix You, by Coldplay.  I think of that night every time I hear that song.

Then I woke up the next day. I kind of freaked out.  I was thinking, "What have I done? I've ruined everything! I can't go out with Lee, I've waited too long to throw away the thing with Haylee; I can't do this!"

Okay, I really don't know what else I was thinking. But I was afraid to be with Lee. I have no idea why. Irregardless of what I was or wasn't thinking, I decided I couldn't be with Lee. And I told her that. And it destroyed her. Completely.

Think of it. This girl had been waiting for some huge miracle, that would let us be together. She was waiting for me to come to my senses, to realize that we belonged together.  It took me a couple years to realize that. And the next day, after I told her that it had finally come true, I ruined it. I told her, that I couldn't do it. I couldn't be with her, that I had made a mistake. I couldn't comprehend how destroyed she was at the time.

So, she being the tough girl she was, didn't show her heartbreak. She did something else. She had to hurt me back.  And she did it in the most unexpected, strange way.  It was probably the worst thing she could have done to me.  And now, it seems so dumb.

One day, after school, I ran into her in the commons. I asked her what she was up to. She said that she was going with some friends who were going to pierce their navels. I told her that was dumb. She asked, "What if I got one?". "You won't." I replied. "I know you won't." As if I had some right to tell her what she would or wouldn't do.  "Okay, I'll see you later." She left.

Sometime later, I went to her house. I don't know what for.  But I walked in, and it was instantly awkward. I looked at her, she looked at me. I didn't know what was going on. She had kind of a thin, maroon colored shirt on. I looked down at her stomach, I could see that something had changed.  I looked at her, confused. "There's no way you..."          

  "No way I what?"

I reached out and touched it with my fingertips, through her shirt. As soon as I did, I turned on my heels and ran out.

Ran. Out. The. Door.

I think she yelled after me. I peeled out in my car. I got out of there. I was pretty upset. She called and called. I didn't answer. The only thing I could think of, was to call her mother and tell her what she had done. Wow, that showed her. Her mom had expected her to do something ridiculous, after what I had done to her.

BTW, if you're not a Mormon, body piercings (other than the ears) are sort of a no-no. A big no-no. And for guys, no piercings at all.

The reason I freaked out so badly, I came to realize long after, was kind of deeply connected with what had happened in my family years before.  I remember when my sister first got a belly-button piercing. I remember it being one of the first big things, in a long streak of bad decisions on my sister's part. To me, it was as if by piercing her belly button, Lee was choosing to take a bad road.  So, when she did that, all I could think of was her doing all sorts of terrible things later on; drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, whatever.  It's all I could see. And it scared me. And it hurt me. But it was because I cared so much about her. I was still too stupid to realize and accept how I felt about her.

Anyway, I refused to talk to her for a while. Seems like it was a few weeks. Maybe it was a month. I even started hanging out with Haylee

And then, she was in the hospital.

After school one day, in the commons, again. Someone said something about Lee being in the hospital.  Intensive Care. I got in my car and drove directly to the hospital.

She had some sort of viral infection in her neck.  It made part of her face sort of swell up, it was so sad. It hurt to see her so sick.  It was pretty darn serious, too. Later on I learned that she could have died from it, if it had gotten any worse.

I had forgotten I was mad at her. I had forgotten about Haylee, about the piercing (which, she had subsequently removed immediately after seeing my reaction).  I had forgotten about everything, except for the fact that she was my best friend, and I loved her.

In the weeks proceeding the hospital ordeal, she was at home recuperating. I spent every moment that I wasn't at school or work, sitting with her at her house, holding her hand, willing her to get better.  She got me to watch Pride and Prejudice.

We were best friends again.

Well, something else that happened in the midst of everything, exactly six years ago tomorrow, I wrecked my car. I rear ended someone on my way to school, the roads were really icy that day. Yeah, it was Valentine's day.  On top of all the other traffic tickets I had gotten previously, this one put me over the top. They took my driver's license away for a month.

So, as soon as Lee was well enough to function and drive and be normal, I lost my license. I was stuck at home, and she had to drive up to Neola to see me, just like that Saturday when I first picked up that Brazilian classical guitar.

She came by that evening, and for some reason, I was the only one at home. I don't know where everyone else was. But who cares. We put on a movie- The Village. A good excuse to be close and cuddle up. She's the biggest pansy in the world when it comes to scary movies, and I knew it.  It was kind of chilly in the house, so I gave her this blue Kirra brand hoodie to put on.

After the movie was over, I told her how I had just learned my first song on the guitar.


I'm ten years old. I'm at my best friends' house. His name is Trevor Hunt.  He has two older brothers, probably 6 and 8 years older than us. They listened to good music. Whatever they listened to, we ended up liking by default. They were kind of our heroes.  Bryson and Tyler.  They'll be important in the next chapter.

They liked this band called Matchbox 20.  We were like, 10 years old, but Reed and I ended up buying this album of theirs called "Yourself or Someone Like You."   The final song on the album is called "Hang".  For some reason years later, that was the song I decided to learn on that fateful Saturday in the spring of 2006.

Here's Rob singing the song. Don't mind him, he has kind of a foul mouth. You can skip to like 1:45 or so to where he starts playing the song.

Imagine me, nervous as can be, playing my first song on a guitar, and singing it with a shaky voice.

I think she was smitten.  At least, that's kind of how she explained it in later years.  She said that was the exact moment that she knew she was in love with me.

Well, I finished my little song, and we talked about life, about school, about what we wanted. She was getting ready to graduate, and it was sort of a melancholy time.  She paused for a moment, with a kind of sad, pensive look on her face.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked.

"I'm not thinking, I'm remembering. Remembering good times, and hard times, everything that's over now."

I scooted a little bit closer to her, on the couch.  Then I said,

"Remember this."  I leaned in, and kissed her. I put my hands up around her neck and pulled her face into mine.  For the first time, I felt free to let it happen. I wasn't afraid, I wasn't going to second guess it. It felt as natural as breathing.

A little while later, it was getting late, and people were probably about to be getting home.  I gave her a big hug.

"You're gonna get me in trouble". I told her.

"You don't need me to do that." She smiled. "You get yourself into trouble enough for the both of us".

She got in her car and drove away.

Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to that night. Every time I pick up the guitar, it takes me back to that moment. Even just for a moment. I remember the light in my living room, the way the furniture was arranged, the smell of the kitchen.  I remember the silence, and how loud it felt in my ears. I would have given anything in the world to read her mind and hear her thoughts.

Soon after, we were officially "together".

If you've made it this far, congratulations. You're the first person I've ever told this story to.  As an extra special treat, just for you, the first person to get this far receives a special gift:

Ask a question about anything in the story, or not in the story, about me or anything that happened, or anything you're curious about. It can be absolutely anything (reasonable) from the past or present. I'll talk about it before the next chapter, with maybe a few changed names.  Just leave it in the comments box.

Up next:

Chapter 7: Life, Death, Music.

This one isn't quite as happy and romantic as chapter 6, but it is a huge part of who I am.  Some of you were there, and you'll remember. Some of you weren't there, but you know what it's like to lose someone you love.


  1. Its nice to finally hear your side of these stories. Loving every word.

  2. Ok I admit I read your blog probably everyday. I didn't want to seem like I had no life :) this is very entertaining to me. Who did you take to senior prom?

    1. Oh, i forgot, I never made up a fake name for her. We'll call her Kristin Wilkins, just to protect her identity. lol.

  3. haha Misty!!! I don't have a life and I'm proud of it.. I am totally loving this.. I can remember some of these things, but I love hearing it from your point of view.

  4. Greg! Your writing is fantastic. I love reading all of these. It makes me miss you just that much more.

    Oh and for the record, you told me this story one night at Alex's. You wanted to prove what a romantic you were.
    ...point proven once again.

    1. Thank you for your input! I really like writing these, and I remember telling you the story now! I didn't go into all the details or back stories at the time, so this is probably better. :) Love you! I got my plane ticket to Salt Lake next Friday, then I'll be driving through Denver the week after that!

  5. So enjoying every word, reflection & memory! Seriously, I'd always hoped to have had a closer relationship w/ "y'all" & have found it unfortunate that we didn't in the past. Hopefully this will change for the better :)

    In light of all that, is it completely terrible that I'm incredibly jealous you have the kill shirt from Dexter? (I am the shining example of ADD at its finest.)