Early in my freshman year of high school, I fell for a tall, lanky, handsome Chinese fellow named Ken Lee. He was trouble–oh boy, was he trouble. Even though he had sensitive eyes and a gentle voice, he ran with a crowd of “housers” (Remember them? They formed dance crews and listened to R&B and wore big pants that made no sense) that always got dentention, called me a “banana,” and poked fun at my aversion to oversized denim. Still, I wondered if he could love me, forgive me for dating two Mormon jocks right out out of the gate (It was football season! And then basketball season!), and perhaps make me the future ex-Mrs. Ken Lee one day. I even wrote about it in my journal: “I am in LOVE!”
So I put in the work. I bought some big jeans. I invited Ken’s female friends over to my house after class. I started spending my after-school afternoons sitting on the trunk of his ratty, suped-up Nissan, listening to Jodeci, making all kinds of “plans” in an ugly leather “planner” that Ken gave me. These were the kinds of things you did for love. I was going to stand by my man, before he was my man, even if my parents would have clocked me over the head and grounded me if they ever heard me say “I’gotta man.”
And then one day, after wiggling my way into the group, I was invited to an actual party. I couldn’t wait! It was the culmination of all of my efforts! I wore green, because Ken’s favorite color was green. I took two showers that day. I brushed my hair until it was perfectly straight. How would it go down? Would we slow dance to a Shai song? Would we kiss and then stage a dance-off? I didn’t know. I didn’t care.
I snuck out and went to the fiesta. There were beers, cigarettes, weed–none of which I could deign to partake in–and there was Ken. AND there was the girl he was macking on. And THEN there was me, running out the door to go home.
Sad, right? I know. My poor, broken heart. I’ll never forget that bastard and the way he crushed my soft soul!
In fact, I wrote a song about it, and it looks like that song made its way across the globe to Bulgaria. Funnily enough, it was actually featured in a recent episode of Bulgarian Idol:
I’m just so glad to see that my pain was able to translate into something beautiful, to be shared with the entire world.
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