When I was a freshman in high school, my awkward 14-year-old self had a huge crush on this guy. Huge. Like, so big that when I created my first Sim City, I named it Emmenache — which, if you pronounce it just right, sounds like "M 'n' H," our initials. I don't know if I was more mortified or thrilled when my friend told my English teacher about this crush and she picked the two of us to be Romeo and Juliet for the class reading of the balcony scene. I was convinced we were meant to be together forever and get married and have little soccer playing babies.
Anyway, he rejected my awkward 14-year-old advances.
We were friends throughout high school — never close, but we had a lot of the same classes, we both played soccer and we had fun. He started dating another soccer player our senior year. Then we graduated. Life moved on. I didn't really think about it again.
Then last night while on Facebook he sent me a message, wanting to know how I managed to be both liberal and Mormon. After a couple of minutes he asked me to call him. I did. We chatted.
And then he told me that he knew that I'd told everyone he was gay after he told me he wasn't interested in me.
I was shocked and horrified. I vehemently denied it, but he kept insisting. It came up multiple times in the 30-minute conversation. I apologized multiple times, but reiterated that I had no recollection of this. Sure, I was hurt, but spreading rumors about someone? That seemed so unlike me, both because when I was a freshman in high school in MiddleofNowheresville, New Mexico, I'm not sure homosexuality was on my radar, but also because I'd been teased rather harshly and sort of bullied in junior high and it was awful. (No more details will be forthcoming.) I can't imagine wanting to inflict that on someone else.
After we hung up I tried to remember what could have happened. I remember a girlfriend telling me once that, "girl, if he's not into you, he must be gay," but that was in college. In our living room. (Still ridiculous, of course.) I remember a friend reporting to me comments he'd made about Joseph Smith in a class they had together, and we talked about that. I remember walking up to him in our gym class and asking him if he wanted to be my boyfriend, which apparently precipitated the whole thing, and hearing him say, "Uh, no, but thanks" and responding "OK" before walking back to my group of girlfriends to tell them what happened, even though they witnessed the whole thing. I remember writing in his yearbook senior year that he had no idea how much of high school I'd spent with a huge crush on him. (Seriously. It was pathetic.) Shoot, I remember the name of my physical therapist's stepbrother who I knew in fifth grade, 20 years ago, and some players on my first soccer team 24 years ago and the time when both my sisters didn't come home from school with me and I ran the whole way home, 21 years ago. But I do not ever remember being a mean girl. Now, I'm not exactly a nice girl, but I always thought of myself as more impertinent and stubborn and ornery than a bully, which is what spreading a rumor would make me.
Maybe I'll find my journal from that time period and see what it has to say on the matter. Mean girls record their mean deeds, right?