Love lost, read and found
Young and foolish, isn’t that what they say? Being young doesn’t allow us the wisdom that comes with age, but who is to say that every decision a young person makes is far from wise?Making choices is hard I guess when you are young and just about every thought and emotion you experience, makes you feel that you need everything now or it feels like it’s going to be never and when you can’t get what you desperately think that you need, everything feels like you’re facing the end of the world. So falling head over heels for someone you like when you’re young is sure to be all you need to push you to the very extreme. Meeting Katherine at college having just turned 16 means that is exactly what happened to me!
Not every decision I made when I was just 16 reaped the kind of reward I might have been hoping for, but then again you only really need to strike gold once to be really as happy. As you ever hoped. From the moment I met Kath I just couldn’t get her off my mind and I spent endless hours thinking about her and trying to engineer ways to get her attention, meeting that wonderful girl bowled me and over and became all I thought I was living for.
I wonder if in true earnest, this youthful illogical but compulsive obsession stays with us all the years through, but if somehow in our comfortable paired up existence, we loose the fear and the manic drive, that the world will undoubtedly end upon any impending rejection.
It’s funny actually now that I think of it, but in that young besotted must have mindset, when you seem to have a singular purpose in life, there are really two definitions of you! There is the truly endgame focussed version of you and the doubting you’ll ever succeed version of you that wonders if you are swatting away all the real chances you are supposed to be grabbing with others. The longer the game play goes with the first, the more the second and side tracking distractions seem to want to pull you away from the path you convinced yourself you would journey.
I remember growing up through my teens and young adult formative years, being attracted to many girls but it was only Katherine that got my true attention and who I decided to chase, but when you are constantly chasing a girl in your life like an obsession, you still can’t know for sure during what can feel like a never ending journey, if she will really ever let you play catch.
Chasing someone means you have to decide whether to stick hard or bust quick! I knew Kath was young and innocent and worth the wait and the chase, but of course I was never definitely sure in the chase, if she was interested in playing or would the course of time only come to prove she was running away.
All I knew was how much I needed her to one day be mine, and yet from the moment I met her and in my steadfast clarity of thinking, other girls along the way, still made me question my resoluteness on the matter and occasionally gave me a bit more to consider and mull over.
Foresight is a gift none of us truly possess and even less when you are still nothing much more than a boy who thinks his young adult self is constantly battling against the end of the world and waiting for the gift of hindsight is far too out of reach to even consider, but when you are even only this foolish age, don’t ever think that the wise heart is not as determined or as powerful as the young naive mind.
Sometimes you fall in love and you are tied inexplicably to the chase, and sometimes it feels you can long just as hard, but in this version you just want to force fate’s hand.
I can say this is so true of me. As much as I was wedded to my endless pursuit of Kath, other wouldn’t be swatted away distractions I chose to meet instead head on. Either a girl will declare herself interested or out, or at least having tried in the approach, you set yourself free. Dithering thinking about someone forever without breaking the ice means you cannot ever decide if they are even worth the chase.
I remember feeling attracted to quite a few girls both in and out of college, but eventually when I chose to talk to any one of them, from the moment I did, I was often set free from the torture of wondering what if. You can’t know for sure if someone’s the one, but having chosen to speak to them I knew at once whether they were the one I was going to focus my efforts in chasing.
I wish I could say in my young naive approach I was smooth but I know that the suave was missing from me, in fact I can almost cringe thinking back at myself during that time, but at least I know my desperate actions always set me free, and having eliminated distracting doubts in my mind, I was free to commit fully to my main focus and chase.
Even having decided for sure who It is you are willing to chase, the pursuit at the start can have you scrambling all over the place. I measure my triumph and pride myself having won Kath after two long years of trying as that is where all my fondest memories start and take me back to, but it is in the desperate pining early days of knowing her that chase really started and it is that moment in time and to my wise 16 year old seed planting self that I owe all that I much later in life would come to harvest.
Probably feeling foolish in our youth we can all find ourselves almost going to desperate lengths if it means the torture of not knowing will sooner be over and most of the time if there is any, the humiliation is short lived and you find the moment has now set you free.
The fool and the wise cannot be easily separated at just 16 and at the start of college I remember there was a red headed girl with spiral curls in her head that made me go weak at the knees just to look at. I was desperate to get to meet her but simply had nothing I thought I could say when I didn’t even know one person in her circle of friends or have any legitimate reason to approach her. Having driven myself mad thinking about it for a while, a close friend came up with a ridiculous plan that was so lame it pains me to even admit it, but when you are young and feeling so desperate, any plan even a lame one, is better than none. He proposed filling up a random crossword puzzle with random words leaving a few spaces to fill in her name and then when I saw her alone without something to talk to her about, I could pull out the crossword and ask her her name, and though I obviously already knew it, when she told me it I was to fill in the missing piece of the puzzle and then that would spark her interest and get the conversation started between us.
I told him I thought it was so lame but he insisted and despite my dismissal that evening he set about getting the crossword set up by filling in answers to clues that didn’t exist so as to leave the space where only the missing letters of her name would fit in. I hadn’t agreed I would do it, but the next day at college when he came in he told me in total astonishment that he had spent virtually the whole night filling in random crosswords but had messed up many in trying hard to get one set up leaving only a space for her name, and when I read some of the nonsense including the odd made up word he had resorted to using to fill in the blanks, we spent ages rolling around laughing and after we had eventually mopped up the tears, I said that this was a massive farce in the making, but he insisted she would only probably notice the part where I wrote her name and not pay attention to the rest and that seeing as he had put in such a massive effort of hours in trying, that he was not about to let me back out now. With the stage suddenly set and the encouraging if misguided force of a friend right behind me, I just let the inevitable feeling of doom play out. That lunch hour in the college common room having bided our time, when ‘Red M’ as we had secret code named her went over to the vending machine, my friend thrust the crossword and a pen in my hand and pushed me her way. It’s funny because I had never said a word to her before or even think I had heard her speak, but she was somewhat spellbinding and I was sick of feeling under her spell and so I joined the queue behind her to buy a penguin bar that I really didn’t need, and then all of a sudden and with a very dry nervous voice I asked her, if she was in my friend’s form group and as she looked over at him and nodded, I held out the crossword and asked her name and when she told me, I wrote it in the missing spaces with my hand that was shaking so violently that I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, but then having just made a complete fool of myself I walked away and the spell was somehow lifted and I was instantly free of her charms completely.
In other different college versions of me, there was Katherine who I had met on just day three having started and from which moment in an instance I had simply loved and no matter what, I had decided I would wait for forever, but there were also two or three other stunning girls that still took my breath away but only one among them rivalled anything close to how I had instantly felt for Kath and who perhaps if I had I not ever succeeded in my chase with Kath, I might have one day looked back at and regarded as one that I let get away. This girl was of Portuguese background and a year older than me and I can say that two of my college highlights had me sitting and joking with her all year in my French class and getting to dance with her dressed and looking like a true princess at the college disco, but somehow as much as part of me made me yearn, another part of me just never felt I would ever be confident enough to be the prince in her company and on that note, somehow I was never willing to make myself look like a fool in trying to chase her. Yet on the last day of college she was sat taking the same Spanish O Level exam when like Cinderella leaving the ball, she got up leaving early, and in my rush not to lose out I walked out of my Spanish O Level exam before I had even finished it, intent on catching up with her before she walked out of my life completely. I am a bit vague on what happened next but I think I caught up with her at the bus stop and we chatted a bit about both our future plans which I think also included her going to spend some time in Portugal, and then feebly I let her go without asking for even her number. We met briefly again by chance. a couple of years later and I even gave her and her friend a lift, but I felt once again like a boy around her more composed self, and that boy as young as he was, was also hell bent on intent of winning Katherine and so once again I let her walk right out of my life.
Though she had no idea of the choices I made, that was all Katherine’s doing. In that defining moment in life, I got to a crossroads and knowing that I could not dedicate myself to both of the routes, I chose my path of yearn and hope though I was unsure of what would lay at the end of the journey.
My early pursuit of Katherine at the start wasn’t much more elegant but at least no matter what, with her I was always willing to persevere. After some time of getting nowhere very fast, my same friend and I concocted another idea. This was meant more in the way of a prank and perhaps at a time when already I thought I did not have that much more to lose. I was already strong friends with Kath and with two of her best friends and at this time it was obvious I was not going to be (in what felt like it was for ever) able to break Katherine away and make her mine. Anyway one day at college having notched up another daft plan with my friend, we came up with a plan to prank Katherine and two friends who would eventually go on to form the mainstay of our click of friends that we would all soon refer to just as ‘the group’.
At this time, in the early days of the ‘group’ somewhere during our college life, I, as I had been from the start, was really into Katherine and but by now the 3 of them were close enough friends of mine. During this time there were also a number of other guys who fancied Katherine and had either asked her out or like me, were constantly hovering around her all the time but much more to my annoyance. We were all young and foolish and still at just 16, nothing was ever taken very seriously. I remember getting persuaded to join a once a week lunch time chess club at college to which having joined I showed little respect for the normal codes of conduct that you would normally expect and a few days of joining I had music playing in preferred place of a stiff quiet room of plotting players, which helped make it feel more casual and help convince others that it was a pretty cool place to lunch and hang out, and as fate would have it, it was there that I met two of Katherine’s younger school life friends, both of which would later go on to form part of our bigger ‘group’.
It was one lunch time during this Chess club that my friend and I planned to spring our prank. This was originally a plan to send a letter to Katherine, or to the three of them to try and trick them on to a wild goose chase, but as we were planning it, we didn’t think it would really be very convincing, but after some deliberation we came up with a way to let them fall victim to their own actions.
The ill conceived plan involved sending what appeared to be a threatening letter to myself as if it was from a jealous would be suiter to Katherine, warning me to back off from her or he would beat the crap out of me one day soon after college. With the idea hatched and the possibilities already making us laugh in anticipation, the only trick left was in the timing.
We composed our fake letter to myself from an anonymous third party and my friend scribed it in his best disguised handwriting, and then we got a detached accomplice from one of my lessons to come and deliver it to me in the chess club where Kath and her two friends used to keep us company. I got her to wait until the exact moment that Katherine and the other two of the ‘trio’ (as we used to call them) had come up to Chess club and had sat behind me as I was playing one of my matches. They themselves did not come to play chess but along with a few others seemed to enjoy the vibe of this new light hearted chess combating alternative to the common room.
I primed my accomplice by telling her what to do and when the moment came she walked into the room as if she was purposefully looking for me and playing to script she said, ‘Kevin, someone in the common room has asked me if I know you and if I would give you this’ and at this she handed me the letter.
So I, in keeping up the pretence asked her as naturally as I could, ‘Who gave it to you?’ and she said she did not know them but as she was on her way up here she took it anyway, and she turned and walked back out of the room. I then started to open the letter knowing three pairs of eyes were staring immediately over my shoulder and so I looked at the letter as if I was silently reading it knowing we had placed the bait all on the first few lines, and then put it down towards my lap as if I was a little disturbed but hadn’t wanted anyone to realise or see the letter, but of course I knew that the first few lines had been seen as we planned.
It read something like ‘To Kevin Poliscio, you think you are so cool trying to impress Katherine keattch all the time with your italian accent… we’ll see how cool you are when i punch your face in…etc etc.
It was made to look like it had nothing to do with me at all and the calling me Italian was the decoy to avoid them suspecting me from the start, so now at putting the letter down one of the ‘Trio’ behind me said “its about you Kath” and with that the other one then made a snatch for the letter and I made as if to run after them complaining but let them run off into the distance with it.
Well everything here had gone exactly to plan, but from here on the plan ended and I not thought of what would happen next, nor could have longer had planned or expected the reaction to follow.
I cant remember the exact content of the letter but as well as being mainly centred on Kath, it had references to the other two in the ‘Trio’ too by saying things like “you think you got them eating out of your hands” or “they pretends to like you to your face”, and in the letter was threatened a fight outside the college gates anytime in the next few days if I did not back off from Katherine.
So totally unplanned, all of a sudden these 3 girls with the letter in hand, went on a campaign to find the writer of the letter, and as they asked around for information about it or about the handwriting on the letter, more and more got interested and involved in the tracking down of the writer. Photocopies of the letter were made and many people were talking about it, asking me who I thought it was from and if I planned to stand up for myself and fight him, or if I was now going to back off from Kath.
Back off from Kath? How little did anyone know of this foolishly committed but fully focussed young boy and his intentions to stick to the chase for all he was worth!
A kind of buzz of expectation was generated that day and as 3.30 loomed many were expecting a big fracas at the college gates that of course never materialised.
Within a week or so the clamour around the common rooms and interest had died down but the girls were still fully determined about identifying the writer of the letter. I hadn’t meant for the prank to go so far and wanted the saga to end but the ‘Trio’ would not let it die a death and so we were forced to consider a further course of action.
We came up with the idea that a new set of letters would be needed as we had not planned for things to get out of control or for anyone to go over board but as the matter wouldn’t drop, we composed another two letters in his fake handwriting; one that was once again addressed to me and a second one that was addressed directly to Katherine and the two others.
This was all supposed to have been mindless fun and we had only originally expected them to read it and wind themselves up for a moment before bursting out laughing when they realised they had been well and truly had, but I guess we had not expected them to run off and involve anyone else without talking to me first.
Perhaps maybe here they hardly showed me any sensitivity on the matter, but in light of instigating the prank, I can hardly now think to take issue, but anyway having gone this far, we sent the second set of letters.
They got a letter telling them if they wanted to know the identity of the original letter writer that they should go on a given day and time to the library entrance and to wait there for him by the photocopier and that they should come alone. At that same date and time my friend and I were waiting there at the photocopier with a view to bringing this prank to an end, but for the moment I had my own new letter in hand, telling me to be there waiting to meet this writer of the letter.
When they came around the corner and down the corridor towards us I called out to them to go away because I was meeting the person who had supposedly written the letter to sort things out but they waved their own letter telling them to be there and as they approached us they jumped on My friend and gave him a right pummelling whilst saying that they had worked out the handwriting was his from an xmas card he had wriiten to one of them earlier in the year and then they called us every name under the sun as they walked away.
I said earlier on that when we came up with the idea of writing that letter, I already felt I had nothing left to lose, well a few months before this ill fated prank and very shortly after Valentines day, wavering on my long endgame and worn out by feeling that each day without her was like facing the end of the world in the possibility that someone else might get her, so I called Kath on her house phone and just asked her if she would go out on a date with me. She was very nice about it but said that we always argued about everything and didn’t think we had enough in common but that she wanted to stay good friends, and I guess I found myself once again at the same crossroads but still not sure if to make a different journey. Perhaps I was stuck at that location for a little while before making a decision to turn left, right, or stay fixed with my eyes on ahead but a little while later something helped give me a push.
A long while before writing my prank letter and while the ‘Trio’ were still being merged from the ‘Inseparables’ and into our ‘Group’, I decided to make a confession to the other two, seeing as they were seemingly inseperable which actually was what they themselves labelled what we called their ‘Trio’ but we had shortened for ease of use the ‘Sep’s’. In any case, I told the other two that I had some time earlier asked Katherine out and was amazed when they were genuinely shocked at the revelation and that she had never said anything to them about it. This was especially had to fathom in light of the fact that Kath got asked out a lot at college and she told the other two about it in every case. She had made me the one exception, and had not shared me fully with her friends.
I was somehow really touched that she had preserved my dignity all that time, and yet I had thought all along that they all knew just the same and so did not care too much or felt any risk with the prank or the letter.
In fact this foolhardy plan nearly ruined all that I hoped to achieve in my chase as between them they stopped talking to us for the rest of the 6 or 7 weeks left of the college year and neither one of them was set to come back having finished their courses.
So it came down to the very last day of college and we seemed set or maybe destined to go our own ways, the ‘Trio’ together but without us and ‘the group’ might never have gone on to be born that summer if I had given up on my chase.
Determined not to let Kath walk out of my life regardless of being turned down once already, I approached them in the common room at lunch break and asked if we should have a group photo and suggested we meet up over the summer and the idea was well received and thank God the repair was done just in the nick of time, and then the very next day the summer holidays started and before very long, just weeks in fact, the group was formed in earnest and the chase was back on once more.
A path in life is your own one and though your friends share part of the journey, you can’t let them distract your heart from where you decided you know it is going. My friend tried to push me hard in every direction except perhaps where I was always going. Perhaps we were foolish enough along the way but even as hard as we laughed I had enough wisdom to never lose sight of my way.
The long trek led me down the route from a crossroads that would one day, but only when she was ready, see me go on to dating Kath.
Kath and I were meant to be, and that naive foolish 16 year old boy always knew it.
You can’t know at just 16 what things are worth chasing, but whatever the time in your life when it comes and you feel it, never ignore what you know in your heart is worth the wait.