Gorilla Girl’s favorite music is Taylor Swift’s Fearless album. She got the CD for Christmas, and we’ve been listening to it in my car endlessly. One of Gorilla Girl’s favorite songs on the album is a song called, “Fifteen” about high school drama, first loves, and first kisses. A few times, when I’ve told Gorilla Girl NO about one of her requests (like wearing nail polish or getting her ears pierced), she has responded with, “I wish I was fifteen.” I’ve asked her what she thinks will happen when she is fifteen. She says she will be in 7th grade, in my grade, and she will get to go on the monkey bars, too. I’m glad that her desire to be fifteen is grounded in her understanding that being fifteen means being in class with me — she probably won’t feel that way when she is actually in 7th grade. Being fifteen, for GG does not seem to hold the mystery, yet, of boys and drama, and first kisses. If GG thinks fifteen means monkey bars and being in my class, I’ll take it.
I was grocery shopping on my own this weekend, a rarity, and I popped in Taylor Swift — I know, I know. How could I? “Fifteen” was playing, and I actually listened to it. Usually, Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl are talking and singing, so I don’t pay much attention to the words.
It was strange to be transported by Swift’s voice and the song back to my own high school experience, and that first kiss. I was passing my high school on the way to the grocery store, and in my mind’s eye, I saw the places where KD and I would hide out with our current boyfriend in order to sneak in those after school make out sessions.
Confession — my first kiss of any real quality was with a boy who, as it happens, is gay. He went to an all boys Catholic high school, and was a superstar runner. He was also very cute. Who knows what he was doing those days, maybe trying to repress his true feelings, but he dated a few of my acquaintances, too. When we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we spent alot of time kissing, but it was otherwise a pretty innocent relationship.
JH, my boyfriend, was such a good runner that he went to the state cross country meet. His whole team went, too. I drove with his parents to watch him run, but on the return trip, his team thought it would be funny to dress me in the team warmup, which luckily included a hood, since I had long hair, and sneak me on the bus for the ride home. JH was their hero — he’d place high at the state meet, and was “all state.” I suppose having his girlfriend ride the bus home was some sort of reward. I don’t know if JH felt that way about it, but I do remember my own heart pounding with fear as I filed on to the bus with the rest of the team. The coaches were milling around near the door, and I was terrified they’d catch me and I’d be stuck in Peoria without a ride back to Chicago. Looking back, I don’t know how the coaches didn’t notice — they must have known how many heads they needed to count. In my own experience as a coach, I don’t think I’d have missed something like that. My guess is that they pretended not to notice, played dumb, and let us think we were pulling off the sneak of the century.
JH and I broke up eventually, and he finally came out — later, in college.
As Taylor Swift notes, we’re all still figuring out who we are when we’re fifteen. I hope that GG will be able to look forward to telling her own fifteen stories — but not until she is really there.