Plenty of Time

I could hear the echo of my father’s voice inside my head, “Boys don’t ever hit girls.”

He ignored my protests and told me he didn’t care what my sister had done. It didn’t matter if she hit me first or what she used. I was a boy. We weren’t allowed to fight back that way.

I told him again it wasn’t fair and he shrugged his shoulders at me. “We are bigger and stronger. Use your words to settle things. They will.”

He was right and so was I. Thirty-seven years ago they didn’t fight fair and they still don’t now.

I suppose the big difference between then and now is that it was much easier as a young boy to look at them as “annoying people” whose sole purpose was to bother boys.

Puberty changed all that. Those “annoying people” cast a magic spell on me and suddenly I went from not noticing any of them to having trouble focusing in school.

Hormonal overdrive and young love kept me from recognizing the kind of trouble that lack of focus could get you into.

But I found out.

Her name was Tammy. She was a tall blonde with bright green eyes and an electric smile. At 14 she was two or three inches taller than I was and quick to lord it over me.

She spent our freshman year of high school doing her best to tease and torment me. I tried to give it back to her and almost got my head taken off.

I don’t remember exactly what I said but I remember she was angry. When I told her she was acting like my sister she lost it. She stopped talking to me. When we passed each other in the halls she just looked through me, it was like I didn’t exist.

You would think that I would have appreciated the respite from the teasing and the incessant comments about my height, but I didn’t.

We didn’t speak again until November of the following year and to this day I can’t tell you if she even noticed, but I did.

Her refusal to speak made me so angry that I walked over to her. “You aren’t as special as you think you are!”

She just laughed, “look who finally grew.”

Until she mentioned it I hadn’t noticed that I was finally taller than she was.

I wanted to yell at her again but that laughter and the smile that accompanied it took the fight right out of me.

We went on our first date two weeks later and three months after that we lost our virginity in her aunt’s pool house.

It was young love and a healthy dose of young lust.

Her father almost put the fear of god into us. He came home early one day and surprised us.

We heard him and I tried to jump out of bed, but Tammy was fearless. She told me to relax and said there was plenty of time.

That became our line and our little joke. Life was filled with plenty of time and much laughter.

When it came time to go to college we ended up attending different universities. Neither one of us was worried about our relationship. We thought it was strong enough to survive anything, but we were wrong.

I don’t know when she slept with him or how many times she did but I know it happened. I wasn’t blameless either.

The girl I hooked up with was just as tall as Tammy and had those long legs that I loved, except she was a brunette with dark eyes. The moment I kissed her I knew that things had to go farther and that something else was dying, but hormones don’t care about relationships.

Within six months or so we had both acknowledged that it was time to go our separate ways.

It was painful but also somewhat exhilarating. Tammy and I had done almost everything a couple could do together and I was excited to be with other women.

That 18 year-old boy felt like a kid in a candy shop and for a while I really enjoyed it, but I noticed very quickly that these girls didn’t respond like Tammy did.

She would do anything and they wouldn’t. Hindsight makes it easy to recognize that love was the difference but that kid didn’t know it.

By that time Tammy and I rarely spoke and if we did we usually found ourselves fighting but it wasn’t like those days in high school.

Eventually we just stopped talking.

Five years passed and then I ran into her at a New Year’s Eve party. At midnight we kissed and it was like no time had passed.

Thirty-five minutes later we walked into my apartment and stayed there for three days.

Two days later she left for a two year Peace Corps assignment in Africa. When she kissed me goodbye she said she loved me, laughed and told me not to worry because there was plenty of time.

She never wrote me.

Twenty-five years passed and the silence continued. We were just a memory.

Last week there was a knock at the door and I saw a beautiful blonde standing on my porch. It was like being transported in time, there was my Tammy, except it wasn’t.

She said her name was Heather and asked to come inside.

“My mom said if something happened to her I should find you. Her name was Tammy and I think you might be my dad.”

“What do you mean her name was Tammy?”

Her eyes filled with tears and so did mine. I guess we never did have plenty of time.


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Categories: Yeah Write | 55 Comments

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55 thoughts on “Plenty of Time

  1. HOLY Is this true? If this is a true story how amazing for you to have found such a beautiful piece of your life. If it’s a fictional story it was beautifully told. WOW.

    • TheJackB

      Hi Dalrie,

      I am really happy you enjoyed this. There is a lot more to be told in this tale.

  2. 2old2tap

    This is really good. You caught the feeling of indestructible youth perfectly. And the always used as measurement “first love”.
    Well done, really well done.

    • TheJackB

      Thanks. That first love is magical- you feel like the world is yours and time is infinite.

  3. I am overwhelmed by this. This story is so well written and very interesting. And I identified with many of the events that took place. Well done!

    • TheJackB

      Hi Lumdog,

      Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading about your time as a Gavone too. 😉 That was a good story.

  4. Larks

    Really enjoyed reading this. It rang really true so I read it and was like, “That’s fiction… right?”

    I’ve always wondered why mothers/families don’t tell the biological fathers about the kid in situations like these. I realize that the people involved must have compelling reasons because presumably no one is like, “So what I’m going to do is get pregnant, let the kid live for years and years without contact with her father, and then one day be like, “Hey guy I slept with decades ago: YOU HAVE A KID!” It’ll be like “Punk’d” but WAY BETTER because it’ll be true.”

    Nice post!

    • TheJackB

      You nailed it. I often wonder why some mothers think it is cool to hide their children from the father. It is one thing if the man is dangerous or threatening, but otherwise I just don’t get it.

  5. Great post, but you have to lift the fog: fact or fiction.

  6. Oh WOW this is a great story. So many teenage emotions we can relate to! And the ending gave me chills. Thanks for sharing.

    • TheJackB

      Sometimes when I think about what I was like as a teenager I get a little bit nervous at the idea of what my kids will be like when they are teens. Crazy times.

  7. Gina

    Fantastic story of having all the time in the world and the craziness/spontaneity/hormones-speaking of youth. Unfortunately, we now know time is measured and sometimes I wish I didn’t. Lots of heart tugs here! Reads like a true tale.

    • TheJackB

      Man oh man, do I wish we could adjust time. That would make life much more interesting and a lot more fun.

  8. Great story..really well done. As a girl who was always that tall one — I’d never had the confidence at that age to say “look who finally grew.” Back then the tall girls were shunned. Glad she was a bit more … more of something than I was.

    • TheJackB

      Hi Jamie,

      School days can be hard on all of us. I knew a guy who wasn’t 6 feet tall when we started high school but was almost 6’9 when we graduated. Things change so very quickly, although they often feel like they take forever to do so.

  9. Great story! Is it true? No, right? RIGHT?!?!

    • TheJackB

      Hey Mayor Gia, I am looking forward to seeing what you came up with this week.

  10. ok, i cried. i really don’t have to say anything more.

    • TheJackB

      Ice cream helps, so does pizza and chocolate. A good sweat is still the best.

  11. Awesome post, wow!

  12. I liked the first part best. I felt like i was getting a glimpse into the other side of the gender divide, and how guys really experience those first relationships. There is some real interesting insight there on sex and love. “She would do anything, those other girls wouldn’t.” Part of me is annoyed because sex is clearly such a priority – but that’s just men versus women. You follow up with something I do resonate with: love makes all the difference. For me, the authenticity of this post is in these lines and everything before it.

    • I agree. I didn’t know boys felt like this while I was scrambling through teenaged years. I want more about that. Dying to know if it’s true.

      • TheJackB

        It is true, maybe not for all of us, but for many.

    • TheJackB

      I can only tell you what I know and bits and pieces of what the guys told me. We definitely feel just as strongly as girls do but we are programmed not to share that. I share a lot on the blog but if you talked to me in person you probably wouldn’t get much.

      It took a while for me to realize the benefits/advantages of love in a relationship. When you are a kid it doesn’t always sink in, especially when you are taught to be the tough guy.

  13. I loved Tammy’s line about having more time. I also liked the heartbreak of that time having expired too soon. It all felt kind of smushed up together and rushed, like you could have written a whole novel with these characters, but the atmosphere was perfect.

    • TheJackB

      I have been playing around with expanding upon this post. I agree with you about it feeling rushed, I wanted to spend more time showing who Tammy and Jack were, but that character limit is hard.

  14. Wow! Love reading this to the very last word! Is this a true story? It must be hard waiting for someone and when news finally arrived, the person is no longer in existence except in our memory…

    • TheJackB

      Hi Jamie,

      Memory can be such a funny thing. We hold these images of people from our past and sometimes the present kicks in and totally disabuses the way we once saw them. Other times we find out that circumstances have played their own role and all we have are the memories of who they once were.

  15. That was a beautiful story! Excellent emotional roller coaster ride you guided us through. Keep up the fabulous work!

    • TheJackB

      Thank you. I am glad that you enjoyed it and appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  16. iasoupmama

    I loved the first part, too — it was fun to see those awkward teenaged moments from the male perspective. Very cool!

    • TheJackB

      Awkward is right. When I think about what I thought I knew and what I really did… Oy.

  17. I really enjoyed this!

  18. This was such a great read! I couldn’t wait to see where things went and sure didn’t expect the ending. It all rang so true, whether it is or not. Wonderful post!

  19. Ah, I walked right into that wonderful, surprising ending. . .what a pleasure. I love the drifting, easy past slamming up against a very grown-up present: great moment.

    • TheJackB

      The cold reality of the present often stands in stark contrast to the past. Or maybe it is more accurate to say our memories aren’t as accurate as we think they are.

  20. This took me on a nostalgic little trip. Life goes by fast. You always leave me wondering whether you are the most interesting man on the planet – or you have a good imagination.

    • TheJackB

      I could be the most boring man on the planet. I am willing to bet some people might throw a votes in that bucket.

  21. Great read! I also enjoyed hearing the male perspective on young love/lust and would love to read more. Well done!

    • TheJackB

      Thank you. There are some other stories here on the blog that address the male perspective a bit more. Would be happy to share them with you.

  22. I can’t decide if it’s fact or fiction! Either way, it was a great read! Time to do a little math…so, how old are you??

    • TheJackB

      I am the old blogger who used to use a Smith Corona typewriter in college- early forties.

  23. As a woman and mother of a 13-year-old son, I found it so fascinating to see adolescence through the eyes of a boy. This is my first time on your blog, and I’m happy to have found it. Excellent read — fact or fiction.

    • TheJackB

      Thank you Kathleen, I am glad you enjoyed it. I think blogging has been a good resource for all of us to learn about things we might not know much.

      A 13 year-old son? That should be fun, I have one who is a hair short of 12. So much going on and so much energy there.

  24. Great story, Jack. Probably my favorite post of yours that I’ve read. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • TheJackB

      Hi Jay,

      Thank you. Hope you are having a good weekend and that it is not filled with evil children at birthday parties. 😉

  25. OneDayIllBeThatGuy

    Wonderful story. Kudos for not telling.

  26. Oh mysterious one! You’ve done a great job with this piece. Whether it’s true or not, you told it so well. As a childless woman, I’ve thought about how I wouldn’t mind, in my older years, having a child show up. The men friends who’ve experienced this have been bowled over with happiness. They have to watch they don’t shove two decades of unattended fathering into a month!

    I love the “window” of such passionate letting go with one another…ah, b-l-i-s-s!!

    • TheJackB

      The boys and I have talked about this on more than one occasion. It is one of those things that women don’t worry about in the same way. That is not to say women don’t have concerns, but yours are different.

      Life is interesting sometimes.

  27. Oh my. Makes me think back when hubby and I met….. soooo many years ago. Hubby and I met when I was 14 and we are still together, 6 kids and lots of years later. I have no clue what it would be like to have to have left a first love.
    I came via Angie Uncovered blog and I will return.
    take care!

  28. Pingback: 5 Amazing Jedi Mind Tricks That Make People Read Your Post

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