I think it was 8th grade, though it may have been 7th, when I had a boyfriend who lived three towns away from me. One of the towns between our homes had a main street with many stores, eateries and a parking deck behind it that was good for making out in. I met quite a few boys walking up and down that strip after school, on weekends and all summer long. Most of them were interested in my much prettier friends and it didn't take long for the boys to figure out that I was a drag compared to the other girls. Every now and again though, one of the boys would fancy me and we'd begin a courtship.
How would a tween boy court me? Well, we'd talk on the phone and find places to make out. We would only go to first base though, because, as I mentioned, I was kind of a drag.
I certainly wouldn't want to divulge the identity of some kid I used to kiss, even though he probably doesn't remember me. For the sake of anonymity and to keep this story moving, let's call him Joey Bagadonuts. I grew up not too far from the land of the Sopranos, so wandering around the streets half of the kids I met were named Joey. While this is not his name, please just take me at my word that this is a very appropriate alias.
One afternoon, we set a date for him to meet me at my middle school. He was going to walk over four miles just to hang out with me. This made me like him more, even though I had been growing increasingly bored by him. I didn't think he was very smart or particularly funny or even cute. At that age, my standards were pretty low and as long as a boy met the requirement of liking me, I'd go out with him.
He showed up at my school with a friend. The friend set about flirting with my friends while I made it a point to hang on Joey so everyone would know he was my boyfriend. I probably giggled like an idiot. He started showing off with feats of strength and general asshattery that middle school boys partake of to show they are better than one another.
Joey trying to prove he was more man than the boys from my school was about the most disgusting display I could imagine. I made up my mind that despite his affection for me, when I got home that afternoon I was going to call him and dump him.
Somehow, in the midst of his displays of machismo, he cut his thumb. He made sure we all knew how litttle it hurt and he proudly held out his hand while we marveled at his bleeding finger. He squeezed it and a blood bubble rose up out of it, forming a near perfect orb on his flesh. The girls were squealing that it was gross while the boys tried to protect them from this grotesque sight. Joey put his finger in his mouth and licked the blood away, laughing.
The thought that he was going to try to kiss me later practically made me vomit on the spot. He asked me if I had a Band-Aid, but I did not. He continued to suck his thumb and the bleeding slowed. I decided I'd had enough of this tom foolery and said I was going home. He looked at his thumb again and before I knew what was happening, he left a bloody thumbprint on the brown paper cover of my English book. It wasn't an accident, he didn't just smudge his blood-finger in an effort to perform an act of chivalry. He deliberately wiped his DNA on the book cover.
I let him walk me home, but as he leaned in for he kiss, I turned away and went in my house, leaving him standing on the sidewalk asking what he did to piss me off. I simply told him he did nothing. He eventually started walking away. I called him before he had time to get home and left a message on his answering machine requesting that he not bother to call me anymore.
Rather than re-cover my English book, I circled the blood and wrote next to it, "Joey's blood. Do NOT Touch!" Then I crossed out all the hearts with our initials in them that were also on the book. I left the blood there so that I could continue to get angry about it, day in and day out, for the rest of that year. It turned from red to brown over those last weeks of school and when I finally ripped off the cover to return the book to the teacher, I was so glad I wouldn't have to avoid Joey's blood stain any longer. It was a relief, really. I was finally released from my this passive-aggressive grudge I was holding.
The company I work for is only a few miles from where I grew up and we have a fair amount of local clients. As I was sorting through a stack of forms from one of these clients, one jumped out at me.
Employee Name: Joey Bagadonuts
Thankfully, the forms had been scanned and emailed to me by my client and I could safely touch them without wondering what Joey had wiped on his.
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