Authors: Juliette Jaye
Rock Me Senseless
I always find it interesting to think about what my life was like before I opened that email. Before that moment, everything was different. I was in college, in the second year of doing a journalism degree. I’d come home, and figured I’d check my email before starting on the paper that was due the next day.
Little did I know, as I sat down at my office chair and desk in the corner of my bedroom, that in a few minutes I was going to read the words that were going to change my life forever. I opened up the lid of my laptop, plugged the computer in and clicked on the email icon on my desktop.
My fingers drummed on the table as the emails began to slowly pour in. I remember the next few moments clearly, as if it was yesterday. His name popped up in the from field, with the simple subject line “hey”.
I ignored every other message on my screen. My eyes were drawn to this one. In fact, part of me thought it must of been a joke. Maybe it was a coincidence, an email from a spammer who just happened to use the same name. After all, that was possible, wasn’t it?
It was funny, a part of me wanted to open the email immediately and scan its contents, knowing what the email actually said, and another part of me wanted to just sit here and ignore it. After all, if I didn’t know what it said, the words couldn’t hurt me, right?
Eventually, as it always did, curiosity got the better of me. I double clicked the email, and the words immediately flooded the page. My eyes coursed down the page, savoring every single word as if it was a rich, luxurious desert. This was definitely not an email from a spammer.
I’m not sure how many times I read the email. I know it was at least three times. Whenever I would finish it, I would go back to the beginning, and start reading once more, making sure I didn’t miss a single word. A part of me couldn’t really believe this had happened. I’d given up on this happening, years ago. But now, here it was.
Memories immediately began flooding back to me. I thought about the man who had sent me the email, and I thought about what he must be like now. It had just been so long since we’ve known each other, I wondered how he would be different.
First it was my childhood that came back to me though, since that was when we had originally known each other. We had such a history, for the short six years during which we knew each other. Those six years felt like both an eternity, and an eternity ago. In reality, those six years ended eleven years ago. Just over half my lifetime ago.
* * *
Everything had started when we were in grade 1. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was a year older than me. A December baby, his mother had decided that he would start school with the kids a year younger than him, as the parents of December babies so often did.
We weren’t in the same class, but the way our elementary school worked, at recess all of the kids in the same grades played together in different parts of the playground. My best friend at the time was Deanna Cole. We’d been friends for an eternity, ever since we were three years old and in preschool together. That was almost 3 full years this point.
If there is one thing Deanna loved, it was playing in the sandbox. I was personally more partial to the monkey bars, and I remember that on this particular day rather than joining Deanna in making sand castles,
I went over to the other part of the playground and played on the monkey bars for a while. There were three sets on the playground, and I was about to tackle the hardest one for the first time. I was halfway across, my little arms desperate to reach the next rung, when all of a sudden I heard a squeal. I knew that squeal better than anybody, it was Deanna.
Without thinking, I dropped to the ground. I ran, with all the fury six-year-old could muster, over to the sandbox where I knew she was. What I saw was a boy, a boy I’d seen on the playground before about who must have been in the other class.
His hair was brown, spiked up with gel like all the cool kids had it in those days. I was way too young to notice anything about him other than the fact that he was pretty good-looking, and that I wished my eyes were blue like his. Still, that wasn’t really what I was focused on. He was stomping on Deanna’s Castle, and she was crying. My sense of justice had been awakened.
I went over to the boy, and shoved him.
“What are you doing?” the boy asked.
doing?” I retorted angrily.
“I’m being Godzilla” the boy answered.
“That’s mean, that’s my friend’s sand castle.”
“Well, Godzilla has destroyed it.”
“Godzilla can go destroy things somewhere else.”
To my surprise, the boy actually obeyed. I suppose in those days, before puberty, I was actually taller than him. He might’ve been legitimately afraid of me. Not to mention, with all the monkey bars I was doing, I had pretty strong arms for a six-year-old.
The next day, as Deanna and I were playing in the sandbox together, the boy came up to us once more.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Can I play with you today?” The boy asked.
“Only if you promise not to play Godzilla.”
The boy nodded and sat down with us.
“I’m sorry I ruined your sandcastle yesterday” he told Deanna.
“It’s okay, what’s your name?” Deanna replied, always the most forgiving person I knew.
“I’m Deanna. This is Violet.”
Little did I know how close Christian and I were going to get.
In a way, it’s a good thing we’re so forgiving as children. After all, if I introduced myself to someone today, now that I was in my mid-20s, by shoving them chances are we would never speak to each other again. Not outside the courtroom, anyway.
But in the first grade however, things are different. Christian began to play with Deanna and I every recess. We slowly got to know him, and found out that he was in the other class. He wasn’t a bad kid, in fact he was actually pretty nice. He was a lot nicer than I was. When I look back on it, I was definitely not the nicest kid on the playground. One day I caught Christian staring at me, and I moodily asked him what on earth he was looking at.
“I like what your face looks like” Christian told me. Such an innocent reply, but it was really the closest thing to being called beautiful by one of my peers that I’ve ever heard. I didn’t really know how to reply, so I just giggled.
“I like what your face looks like too” I eventually replied, my hands almost completely covering my mouth.
Near the end of that year, Deanna moved away. When my parents told me, I cried for hours. Well, it felt like hours. My mom told me later that I cried for about 10 minutes and then fell asleep. Nonetheless, my best friend for three years, which at that point was an eternity, was gone. All I had left was Christian. He was probably pretty sad that Deanna left as well, but being a boy didn’t want to cry in front of a girl.
“Are you ever going to move away?” I asked him once, as we played on the swings, having a contest to see who could get the highest.
“No, never. My mommy and daddy have lived here for their whole lives, and I’m going to live here for my whole life to, just like they did.” With that, Christian jumped off the swing, landing in the sawdust with a thump and coming up with a laugh. I was relieved when he told me that. My best friend on the planet had just left, I didn’t want my other good friend to leave me too.
By the end of the year, Christian and I were best friends. Every recess we played together, we spoke about how amazing it would be if we were in the same class in grade 2, which was about as far into the future as we thought and at one point I even invited him over to my house for a sleepover, although his mom said no because she didn’t think he should go to any sleepovers until he was at least seven years old.
Sure enough, the next year Christian and I were in the same class. We picked desks that were next to each other, we did our homework together, when we had to do a project about a certain state of our choosing, Christian and I both chose Arizona.
One night, I heard my dad talking to my mom about how close Christian and I were getting.
“Is it normal? Is it right? Ever since Deanna left, Christian has almost been Violet’s only friend. Isn’t she at the age where she should have friends who are girls?”
“It’s fine, Don. At that age, they don’t even recognize the differences between them. Just let them be friends, it’s good for both of them.”
I didn’t know what mom meant, since after all what was the difference between Christian and I? Sure, he was a boy, but that was it. Girls and boys could be friends.
As the years went by, Christian and I only got closer. We basically grew up together, although sometimes decisions were made about our friendship that we didn’t understand. For example, when Christian finally turned seven we were allowed to have that sleepover we want to have, but when we hit Grade 4, both of our parents agreed that it wasn’t a good idea anymore. Neither of us really understood why, and none of the adults we knew wanted to explain it to us.
As luck would have it, Christian and I were in the same class every year since grade 2. By grade five and number of kids begin to tease us about our relationship, singing the “Christian and Violet sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G” song. I had to admit, as I got older, a part of me wanted to kiss him. I was 10 years old in grade 5, and just starting to hit puberty. I was just starting to notice Christian is more than just another boy. I realized that a number of the other girls in the class would try and hang out with him, that the popular girls especially would toss their hair in front of him, flutter their eyelashes whenever he spoke to them and pass him notes in class.
Funnily enough, I wasn’t jealous at all. After all, I knew that Christian and I were the best of friends. I never dared tell him what I thought, because I thought he’d just laugh at me. His brown hair, its tips now dyed blonde, the way the popular boy bands of the day did it,
looked so sexy. His face looked like Ricky Martin. His blue eyes glistened whenever he looked at me, and I realized that yes, Christian was a very good-looking young man.
As I grew up, I became a little bit more shy. The girls went over to Christian in grade 1 and shoved him away from Deanna no longer existed. I didn’t dare tell Christian that I thought he was hot, and that I was developing a crush on him.
Then one day, after school, I was walking through the soccer field at the back of the building taking a shortcut to get home.
I wasn’t really paying attention, and then out of nowhere a group of the guys in
the older class, the sixth graders, came up to me. I tried not to look scared as they surrounded me. There were at least six, maybe seven of them. I looked around, but there was no one else coming.
“What do you want?” I asked defiantly, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt.
“You know, Christian thinks you’re ugly, right? You might hang out with him, but he’ll never like you.”
“So? What the hell is the point of this?” I asked, not wanting to sh
ow that the words he said stung.
“My sister is Kelly. She’s so much hotter than you, and she’s the one who’s going to get to date Christian. We’re here to tell you to stay away from him, you ugly bitch.”
I didn’t have a clue what to do. There’s no textbook on how to react when your classmate gets her older brother and his friends to intimidate you. Suddenly, I heard a voice coming from the other side of the circle.
“What the hell are you guys doing to her?”
Christian asked. I had never seen him look so angry. His eyes were grey, not blue, his face getting red and his fists clenched.
“We’re just letting her know you’re too good for her.”
“Go away. That’s a lie.”
“Well, if you like her so much, prove it. Kiss her” the leader of the guys goaded.
Christian looked at me, and I looked at him. I must have looked terrified. We were still at the age when kissing was starting to be ok, but doing it in front of other people was still a bit weird. It was ok to be dating someone, as long as you just kept it to yourselves apart from gossiping to your friends about it.
The next few seconds felt like they went in slow motion.
Christian leaned in, his lips touching mine. I didn’t know how to react, so I parted my lips slightly to match his. I closed my eyes as a fire I’d never felt ran through me. It lasted a second, maybe two, before Christian pulled away and wrapped his arm around me. I was in a daze. I barely heard as he told off the guys, who sulked away. I was just completely overwhelmed. This was what kissing was like? It was incredible! I’d never felt anything like it.
“Thanks” I finally told Christian.
“No problem. I enjoyed that” he replied with a smile. Oh, that smile. I thought I had a crush on Christian before, it was nothing compared to what I felt now.
“Do you... want to do that again sometime?” I asked shyly.
Christian grinned. “Of course I do. You know all those years ago when I told you I thought your face was pretty? I meant it.”
That was the day Christian and I officially started dating.
I got glares from all the popular girls wherever I went, but I could just smugly smile back at them, because the hottest guy in the class was mine. All mine. I thought things might change a bit between us when we started dating, but they didn’t really. It just meant that we would kiss from time to time. Everything else stayed exactly the same. It was the perfect relationship.