Way back in the early 2000’s, there was this boy.

I could probably start 80% of my high school vignettes with that very statement. Although in my younger years I was quite avant-garde, with the tattoos and the Russian literature, the zebra mini skirts, the Misfits cover band, the neon blue MG convertible and a proclivity for smoking doobies down by the train tracks… I was also very quick to fall in love.

More often than not, it wasn’t with kindred souls. A really good example of this is a boy we will call Joe.

All I can really remember about him is that we were in plays together, he was very musically inclined, and he wore khakis. He was a good looking boy, and sometimes he would give me rides home from play practice. But that was about that.

Still, between my best friend Erica and myself, you would think Joe was the reincarnation of Christ Himself. We were both so delusional, I am actually still embarrassed for our 16-year-old selves when I think back on how hard we stalked this poor boy.

There was no heartbreak at least, none that I can recall. However, since we never actually had a relationship besides the imaginary one Erica and I had crafted which would have probably ended in some combination of murder/suicide because we were fairly intense young women… He never had the opportunity to “break up” with us. Joe graduated high school and slipped quietly out of our lives.

Last week, I went home to visit my family for the holidays. Typically, I make it a point to stay away from the bars, after all, I own one, and I really don’t want to spend my time outside of work in one. Also, boring old Martha turns into a hot mess real quick anymore – my current threshold for alcohol is 1.5 beers and then things start getting weird quick. But with my current family drama, I felt the need to get my baby brother out of the house for awhile, and it just so happened, my life-long friend Erica was bartending about 2 miles away.

I walked in the door, grabbed Erica for a big hug, and there he was.
12 years later, long hair, tight t-shirt, arm tattoos… what in the?

You find out a lot about your life when you try to regurgitate it year by year to a long lost boy you used to stalk who has grown into a man version of your high school self.

First of all, it is very safe to say that I had absolutely zero desire to try and recapture any high school feelings. Seeing Joe was more of a novelty than anything. I had genuinely wished he was married to some cool chick and had babies and a white picket fence. Plus 1 for me in the personal growth department. Plus 1 for Aaron and myself in the “our relationship is so fucking good,” department.

Secondly, I am very good at making my life sound gloriously boring. I live in the woods, far far away with my 5-year fiancé and our two puppies. We own a bar. I run and ski and bike and shit. Rock and roll is pretty much dead when you put it like that. If “droll” was a substance, it was probably oozing from my eyeballs.

As we talked, I realized how much more fun and significant it was for me to catch up with my brother and Erica. And although I wasn’t trying to be rude, about an hour had passed before I realized he had slipped quietly out of our lives again.

I have known these two for over 22 years. Erica and I used to change Ian’s diapers. Whenever I’m feeling a little off, I know I can turn to them to remind me of who I am and where I came from.

I may be that boring old lady with the ball and chain, but if you ask my brother, he’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I know it and I acknowledge it every chance I get.

I may own a bar and dump all my lifeblood into it, but Erica will tell you that she always knew that was my destiny.

I may run and lift and bike and shit, but that’s not all of who I am, it’s just my sprinkles on my cupcake. And even though I’m training for an ultra-marathon, those two don’t think it makes me any crazier than I already am.

Lastly, I may not be able to drink like I used to, but once a year, it’s fun to try. It’s also fun to break into your childhood home every once in awhile and your mom wakes up and makes you turkey sandwiches.

For all the Joe’s who have come and gone in and out of my life, I thank you for not choosing me so I could fulfill my destiny.

And for all the Erica’s and Ian’s out there, loving you guys makes my heart almost explode.

It feels good to be back to my boring life, my steadfast fiancé, our dorky little puppies, and my never ending job. But reconnecting with my past makes me appreciate that all the more.