Marcus Aurelius and Plato and Aristotle and all of my other excuses not to venture into the good ngiht with Thomas are just that – excuses. They were a quick and convenient defense for a thing that I feared and clearly was not ready for. I was fifteen to his eighteen, and so perhaps that is understandable, but in many ways, the experience could be a metaphor to other ways in which I have lived and sometimes, still find myself living – or not living as the case may be. Its’ fine to intellectualize things and talk about them, but life is in the doing. It’s in the getting out there and living it, not in the thinking about it. I could agree with Plato and Aurelius all afternoon, but at the end of the day when night set in or when the sun rose the next day, I still wanted Thomas and by God, I wanted him with me, right then, as Sinead O Connor sang, I wanted his hands on me. Whatever and however that was or would be, it was what I wanted, and though we had made great great strides in that direction, our love was never fully consummated. He left and went off into the sunset with Meredith, who, for all I know, perhaps he married and had little preppie and cute babies with, and I, well, I left and went to work for a huge publishing conglomerate at a job that I was absolutely not ready for, and to a college where I, appropriately, studied all those great men who had managed to keep me so chaste for so long only to throw it away eventually because I got tired of waiting for another Thomas. Instead, i gave all of this thinking and over –thinking. I should have been having searching and fumbling first love or sex or fucking or whatever you want to call it. I should have been dying of heat and of heat in the mid-summer sun and learning what it means to truly give in to desire, over and over and over again, and the fuck with what anyone said, including my family, including his family, including teachers and by God, especially including Plato and fucking Marcus Aurelius.
Their wishes and thoughts and philosophies are all well and fine and have served me well later in life, but youth is meant to be lived and lived fully. Not to be sat out on the periphery, on the edge or the stands looking down on those friends who were having all the fun and wondering what gumption what it was that they had that you didn’t that made them, in your eyes, so brave and grown up. In my case, it was truly simple youth and matter of age; my classmates were older, and though Thomas was only three years older, there is a world of difference between fifteen and eighteen, especially a stringent Anglican by way of North London Episcopal-schooled girl and an American boy who played tennis all summerlong and got to hang out by the beach parking lot making sure no trespassers parked at the private beach (talk about a dream job). Our worlds were completely different, and though they collided, they could also have overlapped, had I only been able to get past the smack of – or the thought of the smack of – a nun’s sharp ruler smacking hard on my knuckle.