Honkey Love

Where Heartbreak Started

Let us go back, back , back…not to the absence of my father or inferiority feelings about being the youngest and a girl, no. That’s all psychobabble. Maybe it’s true, but it’s not fun. And I want to go back to the moment I think my bad luck with dating began. That's where the fun is.

It was in 6th grade. Central Elementary School. Traverse City Michigan. By some freak accident, I hung out with the popular kids. I shouldn’t have. They were too fast and rich for me. I went to the barber to get my hair cut. I wore clothes from the JcPenny catalogue. But on recess, when everyone was bored, they could say “Tanya, tell us a story where we’re on a tropical island” and I would. I’d fill it with details. I made everyone a hero. I was never in the stories.

Then something strange started to happen. There was a day where Ian and Missy were making out on recess instead. I don’t remember seeing them make-out, but I like to imagine they were in a corner, with those giant red bouncy balls smacking all around them as kids tried to eliminate each other through dodge ball.

At any rate, that was the day when Sex started to happen. No actual Sex. We were in 6th grade and didn’t have the Internet, but suddenly kids started to pair off. Dave was the most popular. He could Go With anyone. (It was Going With then, although no one ever Went anywhere that I know of). Jason was smart and popular. I liked Todd. He was the class comedian, but he showed no interest. Dave paired with Cathy, the French girl who just moved to live with her dad and had enormous knockers. Meredith went with Jason. Little Bob was with Rachel, and Big Bob went with I can’t remember who.

Everyone was paired up. Except me. I blame two things. One) I had a deep fascination with Michel Jackson and Madonna. I dressed like their love child. Two) I had no desire to Go With anyone. I just wanted to tell my stories.

Then the rumors started. Rumors that something was wrong with Tanya. She’s so weird. Look at her clothes. Maybe she’s not really a girl. I didn’t understand these rumors at first, but I knew that I had to stop them. So when Abe Honkey (Yes. That’s a real name. If you’re reading this, send me a note.) So when Abe Honkey in his thick glasses asked me to Go With him, I said yes.

(As an aside, maybe this is why I like guys in glasses. I’ve always been grateful to Abe.)

After school, Abe waited for me. He reached out his sweaty hand and grabbed mine. I imagine everyone on the playground watching, except Ian and Missy. They were still making out. We walked three blocks to my house. I wanted to throw up. When we got to my house, I said “Thanks, Abe. But I’m afraid I can’t see you anymore.”

“You’re breaking up with me?”

“Yeah. Sorry.”

He shook his head, looking like I’d just destroyed every illusion about love he’d ever had. Maybe he knew I'd only dated him to make people stop talking.

That’s the moment where It started. I was mean to him. I'd used him…and in the breeze there was a slight scent of it in the air and Karma caught it. It would be many years before I paid for that cruelty of using someone else…but eventually it would happen.

(And then I’d write a book about it, but that’s another story.)