Echoes of Re-Discovery

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Note: I put this up this morning and then took it down. Oddly, this post makes me feel oddly exposed and vulnerable. On consideration, I am putting it back up. I like the wounds to get some air. *************


Have you ever had an old lover walk in and sit down next to you? Completely unexpected, completely unbidden?

This morning, I was driving along to work and a song came on the radio. It was Rob Base and DJ Easy E and their ultimate party hit, "It takes two to make a thing go right”. I was emotionally transported backwards to the late 80’s and early 90’s when I remember dancing to this song in frat houses around the University of Vermont, and in clubs in Rutland. I remember laughing hysterically one night when I saw Rob Clough sing the words to this song, words that I assumed that “Wobbie the Wonder Bwoy”, as we called him in high school, would never ever know. We were fairly drunk, sophomores in college and he was having a party at his house. There was a bonfire.

That was when a former lover walked into my car and sat down next to me. He was Wobbie’s best friend, since, forever. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I knew one without the other. They were my buddies. They were safe.

Christopher Bryan Keune was one of the guys. My boyfriend, John, lived with Rob and his family for a while, and then got his own apartment. The tribal herd moved from one place to the other. The rules within this group of males were clear. The declared girlfriends were off limits. It wasn’t that the sexual morality of this group of friends was fussy- it wasn’t. There were some members who moved through the group from partner to partner, and it was hardly a big deal. Not for the Girlfriends, though. We were claimed. We were marked as exclusive. We were not to be touched – even under the most drunken or accidental of circumstances.

I won’t lie. I relished the pedestal. I had a certain status and untouchability in this group. I was never excluded. I was allowed to explore my own budding sexuality with impunity with one partner for the five years we stayed together.

When John broke up with me in the winter of 1990, I dissolved. My identity as the “girlfriend” was one of my primary roles. I didn’t know how to be single and I certainly didn’t know how to re-build a social life without John. I couldn’t be in the group as anything but the Girlfriend. My pedestal became a precipice.

Chris Keune was one of the first to reach across the chasm. As winter turned to summer and I returned home from college, stripped of my former role, I was wildly uncertain as to what to do. I had no sense of the signals someone sent when they found me attractive. I had lived in a group in which I was allowed no other signals, beyond that of friendship. My antennae for “wink, wink–nudge, nudge” was woefully blunt.

His first attempts were tentative. He and John were still friends and the tattoo of ownership was five years deep. Dating me was a risk. Group dynamics would have to be re-arranged and managed with care and skill.

It wasn’t a pretty dating situation. He made me very angry - frequently. He was, in many was a very sad and distrustful young man. His mother had left his father for another man when he was old enough to know all about it. Fundamentally, he didn’t trust women. He had great potential but wasn’t living up to it (This was a recurrent theme in my partner choices before Terrance – Thanks Therapy!). He was incredibly intelligent and witty and smelled fabulous, all the time. It didn’t end well. There were some very unfortunate things that happened between us that I, frankly, regret.

He was the first man to tell me I was beautiful after that debilitating breakup. He was the first man to tell me that I had always been beautiful and that he had always loved me a little, but couldn’t express it for fear of John. He helped build a bridge to the pedestal and held my hand as I walked down the steps.

For that I am profoundly grateful. When I went back to college in the fall of 1990, I returned a young woman who was surer of her emotions, and ready to launch into the college-dating scene with vigor. We planned to be “friends with benefits” the next summer, but I met Terrance in June. I am not sure what ever happened to Chris after that. I hope he is well. I hope he learned to trust a woman, even if it wasn’t me. I hope he is happy.

When his memory sat down in my car this morning, I was transported to a different time. A different me. Laughing and dancing in a field with a bonfire. Re-discovering that I was beautiful.

19 Baleful Regards:

mothergoosemouse said...

I wanna rock right now...

Having never been on a pedestal, I always envied the girls who were. Thanks for the peek inside. In retrospect, I think I had it easier. But I'm glad you had someone to help you down.

sweatpantsmom said...

Isn't it amazing how a song, a place, a smell can transport us back to another time and bring back so many distinct memories.

What a wonderful recollection of a potentially painful time. it sounds like you used it to your advantage.

Beautiful post.

Kristen said...

I'm glad you put it back up. I loved that. All our experiences shape us - and while I'm not one to want to go back, it's nice to imagine how things were every now and then.

Nancy said...

Isn't it amazing how people who come and go from our lives like the breeze can leave such a profound impact?

By the way, I hope you know you *are* beautiful. It comes through in your writing.

MrsFortune said...

There is nothing like a song to put you right back in that place, huh? Smells do it, too, but songs, man ... you can almost feel the weather that you associate it with, you know?

halloweenlover said...

Beautiful, Dawn. Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm sure it was hard to put it back up.

madge said...

A lovely memory. Honeysuckle always sends me back to my high school boyfriend.

"I'm not internationally known, but I'm known to rock the microphone." (GAH! I just sang the ENTIRE song in my head.)

TB said...

Women love me, girls adore me.
I mean even the ones that never saw me...

I know every word to this song by heart and I write those lyrics through the tears in my eyes, let me tell you how much I enjoyed and related to this post. Beautiful.

Mega Mom said...

Like the way that I rhyme at a show
The reason why? Man I don't know.

WTF. Why do we all know these lyrics?

This is a crazy full-cycle story for me. My first love, Brian, did a "Boys Dance" to this song for our Senior Class Play. The dance was choreographed by Melissa who attended UVM (class of '93). Her boyfriend Rich also attended. I "had relations" with Rich before dating Brian.

Thanks for the memories Dawn!

Bobita said...

Chill bumps...tears in my eyes.

There are times when I find myself wondering...how is he? Is he happy? And it is usually...because I heard "the" song!

Thanks for the post!

Contrary said...

I never equated music to relationships. It's more often a smell or a sight (Leaves being burned reminds me of when my husband and I were courting, that kind of thing).

My actual biggest music memory and the song that sends me back to the place I was when I first listened to it, over and over again, is Eddie Rabbit's 'I Love a Rainy Night'. It always takes me back to lying on my bed and watching the rain hit the windows.

Evocative, Dawn. You took us there with you

jen said...

I love these "getting to know you" posts, what made you what you are today.

The song that transports me back to UConn is the, "Come Baby Come, baby baby Come" (swing battah battah, SWING!) one. Ah, the early 90s, they gave us so much and yet so little.

mama_tulip said...

I'm not internationally known...but I'm known to rock the microphone...

I'm going to have this song in my head all day.

I will hear a song on the radio while I'm driving that will instantly take me back. The memory, the sounds, the smells, the people, places and things...it's all there while I'm in my minivan, lost in thought, and then suddenly I realize that I'm driving and totally not paying attention to what I'm doing at all. It's that powerful.

This was a beautiful post. I'm glad you put it back up.

Diana said...

...because I get stupid
I mean outrageous
Stay away form me
If you're contagious...

ohmanohmanohman. Music THROWS me into memories, especially when something happened during a certain song. I have many memories based on certain smells, music, movies, etc... they become landmarks.
Thank you for sharing. And now I will be singing this song ALL DAY! (i don'tmind, I loved it!)

Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad you put this back up too. What a sweet story, and what a great guy Chris was for reaching out to you like that.

I Googled that song to see if I could find out what year it was released, which I couldn't, but did you know that "Lil Romeo" did a remake of it except he put his name in for Rob Base. That's just wrong.

broominyaya said...

Thanks for deciding to re-post. What a great story.

I love those flashbacks. Sometimes though-provoking, but usually just funny - ending with a "thank god . . !"

Mommygoth said...

I too have memories of people that are so visceral that they seem fully formed and present. It's lovely that this one was a positive one, on balance. Hooray for the fellas who help fix what's broken instead of the other way around.

Lisa said...

There are certain songs that transport me back to old boyfriends... One where I broke his heart and another who stomped on mine. Every now and again I'll hear one and I wonder if they ever think of me and hope that whether they do or not, are happy in their lives.

Anonymous said...

I loved your Chris also. Is like to say he is happy but I'm not sure. It didn't work for us but maybe the journey will continue. Either way, I share your same memory

 
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