Coming Back for More

I had always been insecure and compared myself with others.  I still do that as an adult, and it is one of those things that I’d always wished I’d grown out of, but I never did.  I cope with my insecurities better these days…I’ll hide away for a few days and not talk to people while I chase out the demons in my head, or I’ll just swallow my fear and push past it.  What I don’t ever do any more, and what I did often back when I first met Ray at camp that year, is wait for someone who I deem “important” to pull me out of my funk and back into feeling good again.

I had been feeling badly about my crush boy from overseas not paying attention to me at the dance, but afterwards, Ray started lavishing tons of attention on me.  And I’m not going to lie, I loved it.  On the one hand, it probably was because I had already branded him off limits in my head due to his reckless behavior, and I wasn’t the kind of girl who liked reckless.  I liked safe.  And since I wasn’t all that interested in Ray’s attentions, I’m sure that made me look like the sweetest kind of forbidden fruit to him.  I lived two hours away from where he did, I had clearly never had sex before, and there were just three days left of camp.  I’m sure that to him this looked like a mission with a goal, and I laughed as he followed me around like a sweet puppy trying to gain approval.

But it helped.  The attention from him nursed my wounded pride.  Here was a guy who was scoring his way through camp that summer, and suddenly he wanted me.  Of all the pretty girls and the girls who were surer things, he was paying attention to me.  I wasn’t the kind of girl who received such attention; I wasn’t beautiful (most called me “cute”, which I hated), I wasn’t tall, I wasn’t good at flirting (extreme lack of experience) and I was more interested in books than I was the latest fashion trend.    So while I laughed away at Ray’s constant commentary on how much he’d like to get me into the practice cabin and have his way with me, I held his hand and smiled just often enough to keep him trying.   It wasn’t a good habit to get into, I realize now, looking back on it; spending time with the bad boy looking looking for the sweet behind the sultry.

Because once I found it, the curiosity I felt couldn’t be stopped.   How could someone not be lumped into just one group?  He was a cad, but he was also nice.  He was a jerk but also sweet.  He was kind but also not kind at all.  The dichotomy intrigued me, and before we left camp that year, I knew that this wasn’t going to be the last time I saw him.  I knew that this boy, this boy that was trying just a little too hard to prove he was a man, wasn’t someone I could just leave in a neat package in the memory box in my head.  Oh, no.  I had to find out more.  Most importantly, I had to know:  what on earth was it that he was seeing in me, and why was it that others didn’t seem to


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