"She's my best friend's girl.

My best friend's girl, oh, oh,

And she used to be mine."

-The Cars


Here's another long one. Very sad, but definitely explains a lot about how I ended up who I am today.

I went out with my high school sweet-heart for almost four years before it became evident that it was time to see other people. I had always been faithful, give or take a lie or two, but never slept with anyone else, and had always told her about any indiscretion I had made, no matter how small. She always forgave me, and afforded me the same privilege (to the best of my knowledge).

My junior year of college I met someone. She was the exact opposite of my girlfriend, and I guess that was what attracted me to her.

I've been out with my share of girls over the years, and I've noticed one constant in matters of the heart. You always want what you don't have. If I was going out with a blonde, any brunette would turn my head. If I was going out with a well endowed girl, I would be falling over backwards for some other flat-chested lady. It was a rule. There was no way around it. If my girlfriend was tall, I wanted a midget.

Let's give names to the players in this story: call my girlfriend Nishka, and the new girl Lauren. Nishka was skinny, almost lanky, very artistic, brunette, always wore black, rarely wore makeup, and she was a very honest down to earth girl.

Lauren, on the other hand was blonde, better filled out, very into image, wore lots of makeup, and spent about twenty minutes a day on her hair. She must have gone through a half a can of hair spray a day, easy. She was also very selfish, and self-centered.

Lauren was definitely not my type, but I was smitten.

Nishka and I were madly in love for a long time, and I guess we had both gotten a little bored. We never really had any major problems; the only one being my friend, whom we'll call Johnny. Johnny was MY total opposite. Long blonde hair down to the small of his back, taller than me, and skinny as a bone. Very smart (not that I'm stupid, but he was better in school is what I'm saying) and very soft spoken, as opposed to my continual loud outbursts. We complimented each other well. I guess that was why we got along so well.

One day I saw them talking together, and noticed the chemistry. It was so tangible, that even I could spot it. Had this happened today, in 1997, I would have set them up together, and wished them the best, but this was right after high school, and I was the jealous sort. I basically forbid her from being near him in any social setting, and would throw a fit if I found out they hung out together.

She would always reiterate that nothing was going on between them, they were just friends, but I just wouldn't hear it. I've never hit a girl, and never would, but once we were all at the movies, and as we were moving through the aisle to find seats, she made a move to sit next to him, expecting me to move past her and sit down so she would be between us. I lost it, and gave her a really hard shove so she would move past that seat, and I could sit between the two of them.

I must have apologized for three months straight for that, but I don't think she ever forgave me. For a while, she threatened to break up with me if I didn't stop acting jealous, but of course, I continued. Looking back, I can't believe I was ever that bad. I've never been that jealous since. In fact, girls I went out with after Nishka and I finally broke up, begged me to be jealous. Some even lied to me about things they did just to get a rise out of me.

One girl spent the weekend with her ex boyfriend in Florida. I knew she was staying with him, and it didn't bother me. I trusted her not to do anything, and if she did do something, I expected her to know better than to come back. When she came back she wanted me to be upset about her spending the night in bed with him. I asked if anything happened, she told me no, so I dropped the subject.

Obviously not the reaction she was expecting.

She said, "Well, what if I told you we…" and started listing sexual acts that would make Caligula blush in an attempt to make me upset. Honestly, I really didn't care. It helped that I knew she was lying, but I honestly did not care what she did. It took a lot of energy not to laugh in her face. I pretended to be upset, even went so far as to pull the car over and tell her to get out. She was so happy. Apparently, I showed her how much I cared.

Anyway, Nishka and Johnny ended up working in the same store together. It was a funky American made jewelry and pottery store. Very hip, and very cozy. And, very full of cats. The owners collected strays and kept them in the store while they tried to find homes for them. I quickly grew an incredible disliking of anything feline.

I met Lauren before Thanksgiving break in college. As the break approached, she told me she was dropping out. As she was making the rounds to say goodbye, I invited her to my room. Her, another girl, another guy, and myself spent the night listening to music and joking around. Later in the night, my friend and the other girl started fooling around, and Lauren and I started kissing and fooling around a little ourselves. It didn't get too far, but I knew I had to break up with Nishka so I could see Lauren with a clear conscience.

When I told Nishka that we should see other people, she took the news pretty well, and soon we were actually closer friends because of it.

Lauren and I were seeing each other regularly, and Nishka and I would still get together a lot, also. She would tell me about the guy she was seeing, and I would tell her about Lauren. They actually had met once, so I never bothered telling Nishka who I was actually seeing. She never connected the names.

Things were going great all around, until I met …Sharon.

If Lauren was the opposite of Nishka, Sharon was them both rolled into one.

She was pretty, brunette, more into her appearance than Nishka, but not as much as Lauren, top heavy (it's the only way to describe it) and very innocent. She's a whole story unto herself. One day I'll sit down and write that up.

I won't go into the details of this little triangle. Needless to say, I will NEVER go out with more than one girl at the same time. Too many excuses to make up, too much discomfort, paranoia, money to spend, and too little time to spare for myself.

It was a mistake from day one, but I was unable to stop myself. I'd never been wanted so openly, and I kind of fell into the intrigue of trying to get away with it. The funny thing was, Nishka was the only one that knew I was going out with the other two girls. Lauren and Sharon both thought I was exclusive with them.

I admit it, I was a pig. If I could apologize enough, I would. I had no excuse, and there really is no excuse to be given.

Back to the story. This went on for a while, and when the summer rolled around, I left to work with my uncle in Club Med in Cancun. I was the club magician, and I worked in the windsurfing shack giving lessons and being a sort of life guard. Basically, I sat in a beach chair, on a topless beach from 9:15 a.m. until 5 p.m.

(I'll write up those stories some other time.)

I came back to New York, and went to visit Lauren. We had broken up a few times, and the only reason I got back together with her was because her sister called me up and begged me to take her back. Apparently she had been crying for three days straight. We talked, and after a while, I told her I had to go home and get my stuff together.

The next day, I went to visit Sharon. Same story.

The day after that, I went to visit Nishka. She had just got back from England and claimed to be jet lagged. I was leaving for Istanbul the next day (again, story for another time), and really wanted to see her anyway. We had a really nice time, at least I did, and from that moment on all I could think about was getting back together with Nishka. The whole month in Istanbul, it was all I thought about. When I finally got home, I called Sharon and broke it off. She seemed to know it was coming and said she understood.

I then called Lauren. She sounded strange to me on the phone and really, really wanted me to come out to see her. She lives a good two hour drive from me, so I really wasn't about to do that without good reason. After an hour of pressing her, she finally confessed that she planned to have me drive out there so she could break up with me. I was shocked! I was pissed too, because she beat me to it. I told her I understood. She told me we could still be friends if I wanted. I told her I had enough friends and hung up.

Then, I called Nishka. I was so happy to finally be free, to be able to patch things up and get things back to the way they used to be.

I got to her house; we sat and talked, and I asked her if she would like to start going out again.

She said "No."

Not the answer I was hoping for.

She explained that she had been single for a while now (she broke up with that guy she had been seeing) and wanted to stay that way, at least for the time being.

I told her I understood, and that when she was ready for a relationship, to let me know. I would be waiting. I fully assumed that when she was ready for a relationship, that she meant she would be ready for one with me.

We would meet at a diner or something, every so often, and talk. I stayed on my best behavior fully expecting that she would take me back at any moment.

One night, we were sitting in my car after talking in the diner for an hour or so, when I started asking her if she wanted to get back together yet. She said she still wasn't ready. I asked if she had been seeing anyone else, and she said, "No, but I did fool around with someone."

I asked her who it was, and she told me that she couldn't tell me. The only reason she couldn't was because, "If I told you who he was you'd get really mad."

Well, I immediately knew who she meant. I told her to get out of my car. She asked me why, and I told her because I have to go kill Johnny. I was completely serious, and luckily she didn't leave until I was a little more calm.

She got out of the car and left. I sat there for a while as my whole little world fell apart around me. As I looked around, I found a pack of cigarettes that my friend had left in my car. There was one smoke left, and I smoked it. I drove to the nearest gas station and bought my first pack. Been smoking ever since. Of course, I can no longer blame her for my habit. I'm over her and have been for a long time, but as for the smokes….I can quit anytime I want. No, really I can.

I made death threats against Johnny, planned his death in a million ways, and even drove by his house every so often in the hopes he was standing in the street so I could just mow him over and be done with it.

According to some friends, he showed up at a New Years party that I was supposed to attend. I couldn't make it, but didn't tell anyone. If I'd have known he was going, I would have been there in a second. Anyway, the story I was told was that he spent the entire night standing by the back door, so in case I walked in through the front, he could jet out.

This went on for a few years. I never saw him, but every so often I would see Nishka, and we would talk. We talked about anything but their relationship. Any girl I went out with, of course, could never match up to Nishka. I still wasn't over her. A few of the girls I went out with really wanted to kill Nishka for ruining their chances with me. If I couldn't get over Nishka, there was no way for anything serious to happen with anyone new.

One girl that I went out with, Rachel, actually had the chance at revenge on Nishka after Rachel and I had broken up. It seems that Rachel went into the store that Nishka worked in a few days before Christmas. (Same store that Johnny used to work in.) Rachel of course knew who Nishka was, but Nishka probably didn't remember Rachel. Rachel bought a whole bunch of gifts with her sister and brought them to Nishka to ring up and wrap them. Rachel had a lot of pent-up frustrations and took them out that day. No matter what Nishka did, it wasn't good enough. Not the right wrapping paper, not a big enough bow, etc. Rachel claims she did this for quite a while. As Nishka was wrapping one gift for the third time, Rachel started going over who was left on her list to buy gifts for very loudly.

"I still have to get a gift for Mom, Dad, Uncle Leo, Aunt Grace, SPAT, Grandma…"

Just to make sure Nishka knew why it was happening, so Rachel says.

When Rachel told me that story, I gave her a big hug. She deserved it.

I finally did get over Nishka; it took about two years. Maybe longer depending on who you ask. When I was finally secure, of course, something strange happened.

I was walking down the street with my friend Bob, and up from behind us walks Johnny. He says hello to Bob and then pretends that he didn't see me. He says hi and tentatively puts his hand out.

The first thing that went through my mind was, "That was a stupid move, now I can break his arm so much easier…"

I stood there for a moment and thought about everything I was feeling and realized I didn't want to kill him anymore.

I pushed his hand away and gave him a hug. We talked for a while and then made plans to get together and catch up on old times. It had been almost four years since I had seen him. Someone had told me that they, he and Nishka, had broken up a few months earlier, so it seemed like a safe time to reacquaint with an old friend.

We got together a few nights later at a pool hall, and I promised myself that I would not mention Nishka no matter what happened. It turns out that he had made himself the same promise. We could have kept them, had it not been for irony rearing its funny looking head.

Our waitress at the pool hall was Nishka's little sister.

He and I looked at each other and broke out laughing. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when she got home that night and told Nishka who she saw playing pool TOGETHER.

After a few games, we went to a bar. A few drinks later, Nishka was the topic of conversation.

I discovered a lot of things about my ex-girlfriend that day, and so did Johnny. Obviously, I have a great memory for things that have happened, been said, been done, and when they took place. It's just one of those things I'm good at. He was pretty good at it too, so when we compared notes about when they started going out, and when her and I stopped, there was a good three month discrepancy.

Also, according to him, she hadn't gone to England that summer. The two of them went away for a week somewhere. We had both been played.

Needless to say we were both a little pissed. We agreed not to discuss any of this conversation with Nishka and called it a night.

A month later I bumped into Nishka at a street fair here in Bayside, and she started yelling at me instantly for discussing our past private life with Johnny. I guess he can't keep a secret. She started naming off things that I had said, and telling me that I had lied to him about it. I knew it was the truth, so I told her that it was MY private life also, and I can discuss it with anyone I damn well please. I asked her if she yelled at Johnny for discussing his life with me, and she said no. Apparently, he can say whatever he wants, but if I mention anything I get in trouble. Story of my life.

Well, I haven't seen Nishka, or talked to her since. It's been almost two years. I send her a card every Christmas, Valentines, and on her birthday. If I'm having a huge party, I send her an invite. I have yet to get a card in return, or a call to RSVP, or anything at all for that matter. Johnny and I get together every so often. I invited him to Bob's bachelor party (I was the best man), and we played paint-ball together last summer and had a great time. I know he still hangs out with Nishka, but he never mentions her, and I never bring her up either.

I guess I'm happy that I didn't lose my friend forever over a girl. If I had my choice in the matter, I wouldn't have let her come between us in the first place, or let him come between Nishka and me. Also, since this whole thing could be construed as my fault, I guess I'm better off getting through it with one of them still talking to me. I still miss her every so often. I don't think about her as much as I used to. Sometimes something happens that reminds me of her, or I hear an old song we used to listen to together, see a movie we saw, see a picture of her in my album, go someplace we've been, or even smell her perfume lingering in an elevator or wafting by as I walk down the street. Don't get me wrong, I still care about her, but not in the same way I once did. I don't think I ever could.

Every so often I meet up with someone I haven't seen in years, and sometimes they ask if I'm still going out with her. I laugh, and tell them that I haven't seen her in a long time. They tell me how sad that is, because we seemed so good together.

It still makes me a little sorry when I think about all the things I shared with her, and now I can't even call her on the phone to say hi. I'm still either friends or at least on a casual acquaintance basis with almost every girl I've ever gone out with, no matter how short the relationship. No hard feelings, no regrets. Yet the one girl that meant more to me than any of them combined has effectively fallen off the face of the Earth.

She wasn't the first girl to break my heart, or the last, but she was the first girl that I loved that ever loved me back. Unselfishly, and for no other reason than for love itself.

She was the first girl I ever shared my life with, or wanted to for that matter. The first girl I told all my hopes to, all my dreams, all my expectations, anything at all. I've never met anyone like her in my life. I look back at the way we were together, and even I can't believe that she put up with some of the things I did.

Every once in a while, a friend of mine asks if I would ever consider going out with her again. If things were somehow arranged, would I want to be with her once more? A part of me says yes. A very small part of me. A more logical part reminds me that I don't know her anymore. I claim to have not changed since High School, but I'm really not the same person by any means. Sometimes it's best to let it go. I'm glad for the time we spent together and don't regret the times we had. There are some things that I would like to change, there always will be in any relationship. But I wouldn't change them to have saved the relationship earlier, probably only to show her that I really did care as much as I claimed to. Perhaps even more than I claimed.

She was the first girl I ever slept with, and I guess as long as I can find her if I really need to, then I didn't really lose my virginity, I gave it away willingly to someone I loved to protect it for me, and I'll always know exactly where it is.


-Spat 4/5/97


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