Thursday, June 14, 2012

Retrospective: Part I

Not sure if there will ever be a Part II, but we'll see.  Anyway, I've started looking back on a lot of things that I had glossed over in my memory, for whatever reason (usually because it's an embarrassing or painful memory, in fact.)  This one came up recently, and I finally decided to give it some thought.

I'm pretty sure it was early 1999, and I was still a rather fresh college graduate, and had a semi-fresh girlfriend of 4-5 months.  She was also semi-young, for while I was a bright 22 year-old, ready to conquer the world, she was a spritely 17, ready to conquer high school.  At the time, it wasn't that big a deal as far as our personalities, because I got act youngish while I was with her.  Technically, she wasn't "legal," as they say, but waiting until her next birthday was simply not an option.  Still, it should be noted that, despite our great mutual attraction, we did not rush into anything.  It was actually almost two months before we actually went all the way.

If I haven't grossed everyone out yet, get ready for it.  One Sunday morning, her parents were out, so she and I took advantage out the opportunity (a couple times, in fact.)  And then it happened.  Every young man's fear at that stage of their lives.  We got caught.  Her father came home from church(!) and saw us having sex on the living room floor.  Even writing this now makes my skin crawl, when i see his face in my mind.  It was literally the most embarrassing thing I have ever done.  I wanted to run out of the house immediately and never return.

Oddly enough, as irrational as my girlfriend could be at times, in that moment, she was unbelievably calm, and said that we should just go talk to him, and that he was probably just as embarrassed as we were (although I highly doubted that.)  She had a very complex relationship with her father (sometimes despising him, most times pitying him), so I had no idea which way this would go, but I trusted her judgment, and we apologized, and soon enough, the matter passed and it was never brought up again, until now, I suppose.  Actually, it has become, like so many other incidents of my misspent love-life, the stuff of bar stories, tales I tell to my drunken friends to get a laugh as we try to top each other in a Most-Embarrassing Moment Contest.

Looking back with a lot of perspective now, I put myself in his shoes.  Maybe he was as embarrassed as we were, but there was probably a lot more going through his head than that.  No matter how complex their relationship was, here was his only daughter, his smart, beautiful, funny, creative, caring (underage) daughter, who volunteered at a home for developmentally disabled adults and had spent a summer in Ecuador building homes after an earthquake, getting pounded on his living room floor by some hairy Neanderthal who was five years older than her.  He had every right to kill me, but he did not.  I mean, I know he liked me and all, but what was he really thinking?   Part of him was maybe glad that his daughter seemed happy with me.  Part of him may have been embarrassed because he probably assumed we were having sex (he might have even known she was on the pill), but would rather not have seen it.

But maybe, more than embarrassed, part of him felt old, that his little girl was all grown up.  yet another instance of the passage of time.  Sure, in numbers she was 17, and he was probably in his mid-40's (maybe ten years older than I am now, interestingly enough), but he maybe didn't feel like all that much time had passed since she was born, until he saw her all grown up with his own eyes.  And I was at least partly responsible for that.  Fifty percent, I guess.  looking back, I don't feel like it was that long ago, and it was thirteen years.  I was just a stupid, arrogant kid who never thought this would happen.

About four years later, I broke up with his daughter, and my life certainly began to unravel.  However, since we were living together at the time, she had to eventually move back home with her parents.  The complex relationship completely exploded, helped in no small part by her fragile state after the break-up (my life unraveled, but she hit rock bottom, which is a whole other story.) Her mother threw her father out, and they eventually divorced.  I have no idea where any of them are now, or what they are doing, but I obviously still remember them, and wonder if they remember me.  Probably not as fondly, as I was the guy who indirectly ruined a marriage and destroyed an innocent young girl.  All these years later, I'm probably just some dude who got caught having sex on their floor, just like in my bar stories, where she is simply the girl I got caught having sex with. 

I know that time heals all wounds and all that, but looking back on it, and putting the emotion back into the scenario, it makes me wonder a lot things.  What was he thinking at that moment?  What would I have done were I him?  Did he think of it every time he saw me?  More importantly, for my own benefit, why did I even do it, knowing he was coming home soon?  And most importantly of all, why did I laugh it off all these years as just another crazy thing that happened to me?

When I get into those conversations where people say that they wouldn't change anything if they could go back in time, I now fervently disagree.  They then ask, "What would you change?"

"Everything," I say.

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