Or, as she was known to me long ago - Smelvin. Many people, or rather,
I should say, FEW people know just how wonderfully and profoundly
an effect Melissa had on me. She probably doesn't even realize it
herself. She has always been a muse to me - a kind of guardian angel
who watches over my happiness and good times - and furthermore represents
those times in a physical, human form. In fact, I credit her for
being the one who really helped me to transition from a boy into
a man - and I don't mean that in any sexual kind of way.
Smelvin and I shared an intricately woven past. She was part of
a group of girls and some guys that my group of guys and some girls
used to hang out with in high school. I admit, we were an incestuous
lot and at any given time one of us was probably going out with
another of us... and then we would switch... ahh, high school...
the days of 1 week relationships. The thing is though... I always
REALLY liked her, but it never got around to us dating during those
high school days. She went out with our buddy Jon for a while which
more or less kept her occupied for a bit. Anyways, long lost relationships
aside - we were at the very least good friends and many great adventures
were shared between us. I remember a couple of days that I was really
disappointed that I didn't get to hang out with her, and it was
then that I realized just how much she in fact meant to me.
Well... I went off to college and had my freshman year adventures.
My second year there, when I was living in Butterfield, Melissa
and friends came up to visit. I remember sitting in my car in front
of the dorm. Everyone else had run in to get something or someone
and it was just Melissa and I in the car. All of a sudden, she turned
to me and kissed me. I have to say, it took me by surprise - mostly
because there had never really been any discussion about how I liked
her, or if that she liked me back. Well... that started a great,
but short-ish relationship. It lasted the rest of that semester
and through the majority of the school year. Unfortunately, Melissa
is a few years behind me and so she was still in Marblehead... in
high school. And I was still smitten with the joys and freedom of
college... and so it was that I ended up meeting Shannon, and eventually
had to be a douche and end it with Melissa. And to be a bigger douche,
I did it just a few weeks before I was going to go to her prom.
Now, in my defense, I told her because I really couldn't have lived
with myself had I tried to lie to her. I felt REALLY bad about it,
and still REALLY liked her, but the distance just wasn't working
out for me. I will never forget that night though... sitting on
the swings in the schoolyard by flapper's house, holding her as
I tried to explain why I was being such a major douche. I have only
ever broken up with 2 girls, out of my many, many relationships.
The rest of the time, I have been a pussy and have let it trail
off until they break up with me. But I couldn't do that to her.
If it makes any sense... I cared for her too much not to.
But as a testament to her strength and the friendship that would
ensue, we still went to the prom together. And what a prom it was!!
I had been to about 4 others already and so I had asked her if we
could do this one differently. Like, get really dressed up all crazy
like. And she agreed. My ensuing outfit has been a point of much
jeering throughout my life. My buddy Bill... who helped me get into
the animation class that I eventually taught at UMass will STILL
break into a fit of laughter and recollect the pictures I showed
him years and years ago. See below. And Melissa's grandmother, Noonie,
remembered me at Melissa and Mike's wedding as that crazy guy. And
I will NEVER forget the day of the prom. We were forced to take
buses in - as opposed to limos and such. So we would all convene
at the midlle school, load up and go from there. As such, the place
was always packed with parents taking pictures and all of the faculty.
Marblehead - for those of you who don't know - is a very rich and
rather snooty kind of town. You get labelled as an outsider very
easily if you diverge even slightly from the norm. Well, let me
just tell you how incredible it was to walk through those doors
that night, with our less-than-standard outfits and this amazingly
beautiful and confident girl by my side... Oh... so sweet... walking
into a room full of chattering people... it took them a minute for
it all to register, and then I SWEAR to you, it was like that classic
record-scratch sound as jaws hit the floor. Silence. Blank, unbelieving
stares all around. It was EPIC! Absolutely one of my best moments
in life, and it was all made possible, and all that much better
Well... for some time after that all went down, and I was seeing
Shannon, we still managed to remain friends. We still had some great
times with each other - as Melissa recounted just the other night...
Her and Nicole duct-taping my car shut cuz I bunked out early one
night... times we got pulled over... all sorts of craziness. I dunno.
I think that breaking it off with her will go down in the books
as one of my biggest mistakes and only regrets. She was always so
good to me and I should have been better to her. But I will tell
you this... Still, to this day, and even if we haven't spoken or
seen each other for years... it is as if it were just yesterday
that we were great friends. I feel nothing but love for her, her
amazing sense of humor, her strength and beauty and her commitment
to love and friendship. She is a great person and a huge part of
my life. And you bet your ass that I live and would die for her,
any time, any day.