Alex J. Maryn is a multi-disciplined artist, creating work that exposes vulnerabilities, speaking to emotional truths within us all. Maryn is a queer-identified woman of color whose experiences enrich and inform every piece that she writes.
He’s So Cool
Alex J. Maryn
You’re 17. And you’re a little stupid.
Okay, no, you’re not stupid. You’re actually very smart. Your heart is pretty stupid, though, that passionate little fuck.
You love hard, you fall quickly. But you always catch yourself. It’s what you have to do in a cold, loveless world.
And then there was one. That one guy. He was something short of a miracle. And he actually could be different than the rest.
There already is an immediate difference. Like huge, immediate difference. He’s a teacher. Your teacher. Your current teacher. Your current, middle-aged, married-with-a-kid teacher. You’ll think “What the fuck has gotten into you?”
But it’s not entirely your fault, my dear. He’s intelligent, witty, spirited, and has a smile that pauses the rotation of the world around you. And he’ll smile at you. A lot.
He’ll smile at you during class. He’ll smile at you during your lunch period when you’re sitting in his classroom instead of the cafeteria with your friends. He’ll smile at you after school when the only others left in the building are janitors. He’ll smile at you outside of school when you go to that cute little coffee place in the “neutral” part of town. He’ll smile at you in the emails he sends you, usually filled with puns and cool articles. He’ll smile at you in his grade book when you turn in an assignment a week late (or don’t do it at all) and smile at you with an A+.
Surely it’s nothing, though. He’s nice to all his students. He smiles at all his students.
He’s a cool teacher. So cool. Too cool to be into you.
Too cool to risk his career, his future, his whole life for you.
So cool he’ll give you a Christmas present the day before Winter Break.
So cool he’ll pick you up and spin you around, that was pretty cool.
So cool he’ll look at you, with those cool, icy eyes of his, and tell you he "often thinks of you." Fuck, he really is cool, isn’t he?
But then you get the opportunity for that lukewarm ending. You’ll get the validation that “fuck, maybe he does like me!” (which will turn into “yeah, here were literally all the signs that he liked you, you stupid idiot”). But then comes the reminder that there is no real happy ending.
He still would have to leave his family. You still would have to keep it discreet, at least for a while. It’s not like you’d be able to immediately start leaving his house in one of his geeky button-down shirts or start surprising him with a chocolate chunk scone before his class starts.
A few days after your high school graduation, you’ll go to his house. His family won’t be home. You’ll talk, you’ll borrow a book. He’ll hug you. He’ll linger. You’ll linger. You’ll move in. He’ll stop you. He’ll get emotional. You’ll leave. He’ll leave. He’ll leave for Canada, with his family. For the whole summer.... but not before getting drunk and calling you to tell you how much he wanted to kiss you. Yikes.
But you’ll be okay. It’ll all be okay! He’ll come back! He’ll come back for you!
You’ll be in your freshman year of college. You two have spent some time apart, you’ve done your own thing. You’ll have grown (or at least you’ll think you have grown). You’ll email each other, call each other, go on more cute little dates at more “neutral” parts of town.
Spring break will roll around, blossoming new flowers and revitalizing old love. Love.
Yeah, you’re pretty sure you’re in love. You’ve tried dating other people, but nothing could compare to the love which is seemingly becoming more and more palpable.
You’ll hop on the city bus, crossing town to get to his house. He’ll have Belgian waffles waiting for you.
You’ll eat waffles and then shitty coffee and then more waffles, which are soon topped with chocolate chips and homemade whipped cream.
You’ll ask him for stage play suggestions for one of your classes coming up next semester. He’ll invite you upstairs to his study.
He’ll start by talking your ear off about... fuck, Winston Churchill maybe? That doesn’t sound right, but who cares? He’s trailing off anyway, he’s as distracted as you are. You’ll follow him into the next room.
He’ll show you a cute little notebook filled with doodles and poems. He’ll chuckle as he reveals that you’ve been running through his mind. A lot. You’ll be starstruck.
He goes on about your body, how he craves you, how he needs to feel you, his fantasies.
You wait for him to say more, because... that can’t be it, right? There has to be more!
But there wasn’t... that was it. And you won’t realize yet how disappointed you are in his words, because you’re still so starstruck.
With those stars in your eyes, you’ll tell him how his smile pauses the rotation of the world around you. Of his intelligence, his wit, his spirit, the icy frost in his cool blue eyes.
And he’ll kiss you. Feel you. Strip you. And you’ll see it as the final validation, the grand gesture of love, it’s a consummation.
You’ve always wondered if you could call him your boyfriend. You’ve never really referred to each other as such, but you’ve done boyfriend-girlfriend things. Lots of boyfriend-girlfriend things, and over a long period of time. Besides, we’re all adults here... this isn’t the third grade where you write notes to each other, asking “are you my bf/gf?”
But this will feel like a confirmation. Of course, there still will be things to figure out, like the whole family thing (duh), but you’ll figure it out together. As a couple. Who loves each other. He may not have said it, but he loves you. He does, right? He loves you.
He’ll call you the next day. You’ll instantly pick up the phone. He’s gonna say it, isn’t he? He’s gonna say he loves you!
He doesn’t. He’ll say it was all a big mistake. He’ll say you two can’t email, you can’t call. He’ll say there are no longer any neutral places to have cute little coffee dates. It’s over.
He’ll never say those words you were waiting for. He’ll say nothing of the sparkle in your beautiful brown eyes, or the cadence of your laughter, or of your talent, or your way with words.
But you’ll be okay. It’ll all be okay! You’ll find someone who will notice these things. And absolutely love these things. Someone who’ll point out all of the other beautiful things about you that you don’t immediately see. And who’ll make damn well sure you see them. And they’ll want more from you than a kiss. A feel. They’ll want you in all of your fullness, in all of your awkward, loving glory.