my rebel without a cause
sometimes you develop a crush on somebody that you just don't understand. he's not good looking in the tall, dark or handsome conventional sense. he doesn't dazzle you with his charm. you could never take him home to mother. in fact, you wouldn't even know what to do with him if you ever got him. but, still, for some reason, you want this person. there's just something about him.

when i was a little girl, i had the biggest thing for that guy in Sha Na Na. no, not bowser, the sleek, dark-haired one. i had a crush on the bald one. i'd sit in front of the TV -- too close, according to my mother -- and sigh when they sang, "goodnight sweatheart, well it's time to go, bum-ba-da-bum-bummm."

"he's so cuuute," i'd swoon.

it went from him to emmanuel lewis (hey, shut up, i was just as tiny as him), to my high school religion teacher (which must have been, like, sacreligious), to my brother's roommate (after having seen just a handful of photos): crushes on boys for no apparent reason except that they had something. something.

which brings me to E.

E., who is tall and lanky and wears baggy pants that hang low on his hips. who never shaves or combs his hair, but chain smokes and drinks like an empty gas tank. who did not finish school, does not like Good Music or Art, and communicates in a series of grunts and nods.

so why, when he looks at me (for those fleeting seconds when we pass) do i feel all fluttery? why do i re-read our old e-mails trying to find meaning inbetween the spaces and lines? why do i want nothing more but to run my fingers through his grimey hair and kiss his smoke-charred lips?


because his voice oozes like hotfudge on a sundae. because his eyes look far off to a place i've never been. because he wears just enough cologne to fill my senses when he walks right by. because his world is so unfamiliar from my own. he is my Rebel Without a Cause poster hanging on the wall, and i want to climb inside -- just to see what it's like.

the last time i saw him at the coffeehouse we always go to, he paused in front of me. i said hello. he nodded, acknowledging my existence, took a puff of his cigarette and walked away. i was left standing, in a cloud of smoke and smitten.

his boxers were blue plaid.


Wednesday, January 10, 2001


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