The Promised Land

It all started on a field trip to Deer Acres in the second grade. There were rides everywhere I looked and I could not wait to try them all. My friend, Adam and I ran to the first ride, the carousel. After getting off and trying to find another ride, a group of girls from our class came up to us. They informed me that someone in our class ‘likes’ me. I found this news to be not so big of a deal. I did not really want someone to like me. None of my friends hung out with girls, so why would I want to? As the day went on Adam and I tried to figure out who this girl was who liked me. The news was in the water everyone was drinking that steamy hot day. Towards the end of the day, a girl and her friend walked up to Adam and me to inform us who this mystery girl was. Her name was Elizabeth. I had never talked to Elizabeth, or at least never more than a few words. The girl also told me Elizabeth wanted to go on the old car rail ride with me. I turned to Adam, we both shrugged our shoulders, and he said, “Go for it.” I did not know what to think about this whole situation. It just seemed odd to me that someone would actually like me. Felt very weird. 

I went to the old car rail ride to find Elizabeth. I eventually spotted her, standing with a couple of her girlfriends. I walked up to their group and the rest of the girls ran away. There we were, Elizabeth and I in an awkward stand-off. Her crisp gold hair draped down to her knees, and her thin legs were crossed as she twirled her fingers together. She asked me if I wanted to ride with her and I said sure. We got in the old Model-T car, and it was just the two of us. We talked about the day and how it had been going. Silence fell in the cracks of our voices as she failed to see my heart nervously shaking. She grabbed my hand and placed it in between her hands on her lap. My heart became a formula one dragster flying down the runway. We silently looked into each other’s eyes and she said, “We should have a wedding.” Shocked, I responded with, “What?” She further explained that she really liked me and she wanted to be with me forever. I thought I was going crazy. For some reason, I liked her, too. It was an odd natural thing. She then shared her plans for the wedding. I said, “Sure, sounds fun.” She lifted my hand and kissed it as if she had kissed me like that done it a thousand times.

School the next day buzzed with the news of the wedding of Elizabeth and Jordan. I even had a wedding planner, her best friend Sarah. We planned the wedding for three weeks from that day after the field trip. My bachelor party consisted of all my best friends getting together at my house for a sleepover pizza party. She had her bachelorette party at her house the same night. The ring I gave to her came from a fifty cent toy dispenser. We had everything planned from the groomsman to the reception. The wedding was to take place during recess on a gorgeous spring day. Everyone on the playground came together and formed an aisle for the wedding party to walk down. My good friend, Zach, was the priest and played the part well by wearing a brown robe. It was finally our turn to walk down the aisle together. People threw paper shreds in the air as we walked by. Our smiles rivaled those of any we have ever had. We got about three-quarters of the way down the aisle when we saw what looked like a jail break. There was not a single person running in the same direction. This was a commonly used tactic when the playground was in threat of getting in trouble. It was our principal. She saw what was happening and quickly came to put a stop to it. Being a nun, she had very strong opinions about marriage and love. We had a serious talk with her about marriage and what it means to love and to be loved.

Elizabeth and I decided it would be best to postpone the wedding until we were adults. We continued our lives as normal and spoke often, but throughout the next couple school years we talked less and less. Elizabeth and I grew apart and eventually stopped talking altogether. I loved sports. She loved art. To me, as a kid, there was not too much else on my plate. Why would I want a friend that doesn’t like what I like? Especially a friend who is a girl; none of my other friends had friends who were girls. To this day I wonder, “Would I still be married to Elizabeth if it all worked out as planned?”

Chocolates, flowers, and love cards filled the aisle of the store. Valentine’s Day was soon on the horizon. The most appropriate day of the year to open your heart. Commercials on television about Valentine’s Day made my bones attempt to slip out of my skin. There was only one person I could think about for weeks before the day of celebration. Her name was Kaitlyn, and I had the biggest crush on her a fifth grader could have. She was smart, funny, and most of all, cute. She was short with long blonde hair and eyes of crystal. Kaitlyn and I had been flirting a little bit at school the weeks before Valentine’s Day. We would write notes and pass them to each other in class, trying not to get caught. The scratching of her pencil overruled the mumbled speech of the teacher. She would write how terrible and boring the class had become and I would agree while asking her questions about herself. “How many siblings do you have? What is your favorite color? What is your favorite subject?” She would always give a detailed answer and ask me the same question. One day, I passed a note to her saying, “You look great today.” She responded with a red face and a note saying, “Thank you, you don’t look too bad yourself.”

I chose a red rose, a box of heart shaped chocolates, and a card I made myself. My father always gave my mother flowers and chocolates, so I figured it would be a good choice. Valentine’s Day was just one day away. I wrote in a computer paper-made card,”Kaitlyn, I cannot stop thinking about you. Would you like to go out with me?” Looking back at this I probably could have done much better. Valentine’s Day was here and I passed her a note during the last class of the day saying, “Meet me by my locker after school.” I watched her as she read it to get an idea of how she would take the meaning of the note. She smiled and acted a little shy. Right then I melted through the holes in the back of my chair. I went to my locker at the ring of the bell and began to sweat a little. I had never asked anyone out or have even kissed a girl before. I saw her coming down the hall, weaving in and out of traffic like a semi-truck barreling down the highway ready to hit me. This was it, this was the moment I had been waiting for quite some time. She was all of a sudden standing there right in front of me. The stage was mine. She said hi as I stumbled on over my words and spit out a quivery “Hey.” I handed her the rose, chocolates, and the card. Her eyes opened wide and her smile blinded me. She read the card and immediately said, “Yes!” She then leaned towards me in slow motion and closed her beautiful blue eyes. I thought to myself, “Alright, Jordan, It’s just a kiss, come on, just do it.” And just like that, my brain exploded. Thoughts spewing from my head were crashing on the floor shattering any predetermined notions of what two lips colliding could feel like. I could have never imagined this was the feeling of a kiss. We were isolated from the rest of the hall traffic and in our own world. Nothing on the planet could have been better than that moment. I will never forget the explosion of my first kiss.

After a couple of months, our feelings for each other shrank. There was no passion left in my heart for her. She felt the same way towards me. We continued to talk as friends, but that only lasted a month or so. I was heading back down the pyramid I fought hard to climb. I asked myself, “Did I do something wrong?” I had no answer.

Sparkling green flowed around her slender body as she floated down the stairway. My friend Jackie and I decided to go to prom together. She was as tall as I was with strawberry blonde hair bunched up like a fruit basket on her head. I thought she was stunning. I was dressed in an all-white suit with light green mixed in. My shoes even had a green stripe through them. My confidence was at a peak as I took her hand. Though Jackie and I were just friends, the high school notion that Prom night is an adventurous evening with drinking and sex was stuck in my head. The pressure to engage in sex was immense. Most of my friends had girlfriends, and that was all they talked about. I did not want a girlfriend at the time due to my busy schedule and college was around the corner, but I did want to have some fun that night.

We exchanged a friendly hello as we walk to my uncle’s majestic 1988 Mustang that he let me use. Laughter filled the car as we gossiped about people and their relationships, like normal high school kids would. The trip seemed too short for our conversations to end. With the prom night sex theme still in my head, I thought I was off to a good start. As we rolled into the parking lot, I said to her, “Did I mention that you look beautiful tonight?” She replied with a smile and a wink. When I saw that wink, I knew I was definitely doing something right tonight.

After dinner with friends, I again took her hand to help her into the Mustang. I learned this from my older brother: always open the door for a lady. Confidence ran through my body like the blood in my veins. We discussed plans for after the dance and agreed on going to my friend’s house together. Knowing I had already made plans with her for after the dance before even getting to the dance was amazing. As we arrived at the dance, the bass of the music sends shivers through my dancing shoes. We were eager to get the party started. We danced like we could not control our limbs. Because we were prohibited from “dirty dancing,” the only time we could be intimate with someone was during the slow dances. The first one came and went. I was way too nervous to ask her to dance. The fact that I did not see her during that song helped. After the song was over I stood up and looked for her to continue dancing like fools. The millisecond I found her, another slow song came on. I felt obligated to ask her to dance. This was my moment. I asked her to dance and she jumped up and down and said, “Yes, I thought you wouldn’t ask!” The song was “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. I thought this was an appropriate song for the evening with Jackie. I placed my hand on her lower back, and she rested her hand gently on my shoulder. I was numb. Sweat started to accumulate on my forehead. I thought, “Do I wipe it? Do I ignore it? Does she think it is gross? Will she not think anything of it?” My thoughts rammed into each other faster and faster as one drop of sweat reached my eyebrow. I wiped it. She said nothing and continued to dance with a smile. My confidence grew again, and I knew the night would go well.

After the dance, we headed over to my friend Kyle’s house. His parents were not there as we brought in bottles of booze. Being responsible and having respect for his parents, who are like my second parents, we collected everyone’s keys into a basket and told them they were staying the night if they drank. Jackie and I were planning to stay. Beers went down smooth and shots stung the throat. Beer pong seemed to be our game. Jackie and I won four straight before losing. We bonded well during that time and I had the feeling that she might like me; I knew I was developing feelings for her. She seemed to have a spark about her that night that I had not noticed during our friendship. I always liked Jackie but never thought of her being my girlfriend. That thought sprinted back and forth throughout the night as it came to a close. People began to choose their spots on the couches and bedrooms. I asked Jackie where she was sleeping and she said she did not know. I followed up by asking if she wanted to see if there was a bedroom open upstairs. She said, “Yes, but no funny business.” The thing that caught me off guard was that she smiled before she ran upstairs. I thought maybe she did want funny business.

I was running behind her and competing with her to find a room. We found one and dove onto the bed. As we laughed we calmed down and got settled. We were not touching at all. A few minutes of silence passed, and I reached out my hand to put it around her waist. She said, “Jordan, wait. I wanted to have sex with you tonight but I just can’t. It wouldn’t be right.” In shock, I replied, “It’s okay, I understand.” She then continued by saying, “I wouldn’t mind being your girlfriend, though.” My body temperature reached that of magma as my sweat soaked the bed. I could not believe what I had just heard. She turned and kissed me before I even got a chance to say a word. There I was, on Mount Everest.

This feeling would only last a short period. One week later, we decided it would be best to return to friendship. Although we had many common interests and always had fun together, something was not working. I was not devastated, and neither was she. We both felt it coming.

Jordan Weigl