For such a long-time Joey cast a constant shadow over my decisions and actions. My life was in a holding pattern as I hoped he’d come back in.
Joey seemed to be the first same-age guy that showed an interest in me. Prior to Joey, guys my age said was too geeky, too short, too thin, not thin enough, not gay enough.
Joey liked all those things about me. He was sweet to me. He was kind to me. College’s manic pixie boy façade had paid-off.
In my memory, he was the perfect straight-laced rebel. Edgy enough to be interesting, and clean enough to bring home.
That New Year’s Eve, through Joey and his friends, I was fully introduced to seedy and drug-fueled as normal. I was introduced to the concept of frenemies by how Joey and his circle behaved toward one another. A world where my façade got me accepted in and insulated me from; my silence and listening-skills gave the illusion of emotional investment. In truth, my carefully designed masks had kept me the constant observe of life and not the actor, leaving me ill-equipped for ethnography. I began seeing the catty duplicitous behavior and normalized it. I gave myself permission to replicate their naughty behavior.
Eventually, I went back to school and Joey and my correspondence petered out, as he was always too busy to answer a phone. As I waited for Joey to re-enter my life, I created disruption in my relationships, making myself always available but never alone.