My Imaginary Boy

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Over break I made the common mistake of falling for a boy who was headed for Thailand.

My mother took me to the crappy local supermarket, otherwise known as a bountiful land of food I didn’t have to pay for.  I don’t even know why we went there; it’s such a terrible store that after decades of patronage and at least 3 brand changes, we finally shop somewhere a little further out.  As I loaded up the cart with piles of artichokes and brussel sprouts – delicious kings of the vegetable world – I glanced at the deli and fell backward through time.

He looked up too.  “Kara!  Hey!”  And saw the look of concern on my face.  “No, I haven’t been here all this time, really, I just moved back.”  He’d been in 10th grade when I was in 9th grade, and when I’d left Colchester 9 years ago, he’d been working behind that very same Deli counter.  Had I traveled back in time?  He looked taller, if that was possible.  I tried to see if the other patrons were dressed from the early 2000’s, a tell-tale sign of time-travel.  They looked…about the same as when I’d left, too.  Not comforting.

He assured me that he’d moved away after highschool, something about college, some jobs, etc., and he’d come back a month ago to live at his parents’ and work his old high-school position for a little extra cash before spending a year teaching English in Thailand.  It was a pretty good story and I liked all its implications – obviously he was working a shit local job, had no phone or car, and was living in his parents’ basement because he was about to do something handsome and glorious.  Ah, the sacrifices we make!

Perhaps this was an elaborate ruse.  In retrospect, it’s possible he’s hiding out in Vermont right now, and tomorrow he will photoshop his head in front of an elephant and say he’s sorry he can’t call.

I got back to Portland confessably a little star-struck.  “You’ll never believe what happened to me my week in Vermont!” I told my friends, and then relayed details of sorting through old coin collections on New Year’s Eve and watching musicals from the 1960’s on VHS.  “That’s nice,” they laughed, “you’ve found a gay friend.”

“Gay? But…the kissing…I swear!  He’s straight!”

And no-body believed me.

Somewhere in Thailand, an imaginary boy waits for me.

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