You ever get so head over heels in love that you just have to write a poem about it? One with trees and birds in it? Yeah, you have. But mine had the whole fucking forest. Welcome to part 5 of The Shawna Years. Enjoy.
While at Job Corps Shawna and I took a class together called Office Skills. I took it because it was a way for me to go into Accounting. You had to learn things like 10key, typing and filing and some computer skills before you could go on to the Accounting class. Shawna did not have an interest in accounting but did take the Office skills class with me. Every hour there was a break so she and I would spend a lot of our breaks together. Her boyfriend Tim was taking a carpentry class which was not very far off from our office skills building. Occasionally they would see each other on breaks but typically they would see each other at meals and when the day was over for a few hours between 7 and 9:30 when we were outside.
At this time in my life I fashioned myself to be a poet. I would write poems about love, about sobriety, poems of hope, poems of triumph but mostly about heartache and pain. That was something I knew a shitload about. One day I decided to write a poem. It was a love poem called The Robins of My Soul. I almost cringe at that title because typically I don’t use flowery language. I don’t talk about nature and cute rabbits and birds and things like that. I tend to communicate more directly. But one night while Tim was hanging out with Shawna, it just poured out of me. I wrote a grandiose flowery emotional love poem complete with singing birds and swaying trees and cute little rabbits. It was of course about my true and deepest feeling about Shawna. I decided to let her hear it. I read it to her on the pretense of this is just a poem I wrote.
When I read it to her she said “Don’t tell Tim.” Aww, shit. She’s on to me. Just like when I told her I loved her that one day, I didn’t want her to know it was a romantic love I wanted her to read it as a friend type love but she reacted differently. I wanted her to just think this was just a romantic poem, not one about how I feel for her. She had me dead to rights. I thought quickly. How do I get myself out of this? “Why not?” I said, playing stupid. Being that I am often naive when I try to play things off by acting naïve it usually works. It’s a great diversionary tactic. She said” He’ll get jealous.” “Of what” I said. Like I have said before I don’t like to resort to dishonesty, I knew what the hell she meant but I had to protect myself, I couldn’t confess it was about her. Well, that threw her off and she said something like he would be jealous that he didn’t write it and he would want it for himself. I guess there was no way in hell that at that point in time she was going to say she thought it was about her. And there was no way I was going to let her know it was. It was too complicated. There was no way I was ever going to get down to the jist of it which was, I love you, and I am in love with you but I can’t trust you as a girlfriend, you cheat on your boyfriends. And to be completely honest, she had the power to just crush me. I refused to be vulnerable with her.
Had we dated I would have bought her gifts, gone anywhere she wanted to go, absolutely given her anything she wanted. All that stuff about not spending money on my girlfriends, that would have been out the window with her. I was just bluffing, I was just trying to keep her close and keep her distant at the same time. I was trying to love and trying to not get hurt. I had love with a safety net and you can’t have an everlasting love like that, to reach the highest level you have to be vulnerable.