Sunday, October 30, 2005

Teenage Love, Interrupted

My first boyfriend's name was Brian. He romantically confessed his desire for me to be his one true love by asking gruffly, "So, are we going together, or what?"

Brian and I loved each other a lot, or so I thought. I lived in Santa Monica, he lived in Baldwin Hills. Either his mom or my mom would drop us off at each others' house. "Have fun!" my mom would say, waving her hand excitedly as she drove away.

Brian had an interesting home. He lived in Baldwin Hills, which is an affluent part of Los Angeles, but he had a living room with no furniture and an empty pool that was a home to a family of frogs. I so much wanted to ask his mom why the living room was empty, but Brian told me to leave it alone. And the frogs in the pool? "My stepdad's just too fucking lazy to put some water in the pool." Oh.

Brian and I were together a year. He was so into me. We would talk every night on the phone. I knew all of his friends. We were together every weekend. Then suddenly-it stopped. "I'm going to kick it with my friends this weekend." This simple statement was the end of life as I knew it.

I would call, page, and leave messages for Brian over and over and over. He would completely ignore me. I would call at 5 in the morning, 12 midnight-whenever I thought he might be home. I considered the fact that he might be dead, but once his 12 year old brother answered the phone and yelled, "Stop calling! Damn!" I figured if Brian was dead, his brother might have mentioned it.

One day, I didn't get out of bed. It was the week of finals at school, and I, who was an A student, didn't get out of bed. Suddenly, I had the brilliant idea to spend some time in a mental hospital for a vacation from Brian. I walked into the living room and told my mom, "I think I need a break. I want to go to the hospital." "Don't be silly," she answered. "You're not sick." "No, I'm not," I agreed. "But, for some reason I keep wanting to call Brian. I call him all the time. Isn't there something wrong with that?"

After being admitted to UCLA Psychiatric Department I soon learned that it was not a good idea to scream uncontrollably if you want the psychiatrists and nurses to know that you are NOT insane. After walking down a hall and into an unnaturally clean room, I started screaming over and over. I don't belong here, I kept thinking. This is a nuthouse. I'm not crazy-just in love. I kept screaming, and continued screaming as my mom walked out the door and got into her car.

Somehow, after a few days, Brian found out where I was and called the public phone that we were allowed to use. "What are you doing in there?" he asked. "It's all your fault!" I screamed (which made the nurses draw closer to me-note to self: don't scream in the mental hospital or you may be stabbed with sharp needles.) I whispered into the phone, "Don't call me while I'm in here." I hung up the phone and walked down to the small group meeting for girls with eating disorders. I didn't have an eating disorder, but I liked to listen to their stories while eating doughnuts in their prescence.

I was there three days before I was able to sit down with the psychiatrist. He was a man and not very friendly, but I listened hopefully.

Doctor: So, you like to call your boyfriend a lot, right Jaimie?

me: Yes.

Doctor: So, what's a lot?

me: Like, 20-30 times a day.

Doctor: And how does he react?

me: He either yells at me, or doesn't answer.

Doctor: I see here that you are 16. Is this your first boyfriend?

me: Yes.

Doctor: OK. Listen, it is natural for teenagers to break up, and it hurts. Boys are especially indifferent to how their girlfriend might feel.

me: I know that, but we didn't really break up, Doctor. He just stopped calling. (broke down into tears)

Doctor: Well, I'm going to give you some strategies to help you deal with...Brian, right?

me: Yes (between sniffles)

Doctor: (continues)...some strategies to deal with Brian. First of all, you are only allowed to call him once a day. No more. Keep a note by the phone to remind you.

The doctor continued with his strategies, and then told me that he did not believe I had any type of mental disorder. I took a huge sigh of relief as he walked me to the door of his office. "You are quite sensitive," he said. "But believe me, if you stop calling him, he will probably start calling you."

I stayed at UCLA for another week before they let me go. Within the first day of arriving home the telephone rang. My mom and I looked at each other. "Do you want me to get that?" she asked. "No, that's ok." I walked towards the phone and answered it. "Hello?" "Jaimie? It's me. How are you?" It was not Brian, but Francisca, my best friend.

Every year, until I was 23, Brian has called me on my birthday and asked to see me. He somehow manages to always get my phone number, although I've moved four times since we were together. Finally, at age 23, I told him "Please don't call me anymore. You're really stupid. I have no interest in you. Lose my phone number."

Words I never thought I would say. Life is hilarious.

Posted by Jaimie :: 12:55 PM :: 4 Peeked Into My Diary:

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