Of When We Were Young Part 1
The affects of time can do great things, it’s one of the most powerful forces in the world. Mountains fall and seas drain, relationships grow and friendships crumble. People grow, and the trials and tribulations of childhood mold people into the adults that time brings them into being. My story is no different. Time took me from one place to the next, and turned me into the man I am today.
Once upon a time I was a happy, naive teenager in high school. I had a love that was better than any other. A love that could life me up from the deepest pits of despair and lift me high into the clouds of happiness. I had the perfect boy, and the most perfect relationship I had ever encountered. We were better than all those cheesy romance movies, we were that good. All good things must come to an end, as they say. I moved off to New York after my senior year of high school to follow me dream and left my perfect boy behind. I was devastated and completely broken by it for the longest time. I thought I would never move on, though I never admitted it to anyone else. Not even Rachel, and I spent more time wrapped around her like an emotionally scarred little koala, crying my eyes out until they were puffy beyond repair than I could count. I really loved you, Blaine Anderson, and though the idea of moving off to New York without you had seemed so frightening I almost lost my strength and stayed in Lima forever.. I knew I had to go. This was my dream, something I had wanted before we had even met each other. If I didn’t go, then I could end up resenting you for stealing away my chance; I could be one of those desperate “housewife” types that blames his husband for a future that never was. Neither of us wanted that, so we split ways. At least it was amicable.
Even still, I wished you would have begged me to stay, but for you, that was irrational. You cared about me too much to tie my down to a dusty old town like Lima. I loved you even more for that. It only proved how much you cared, and it made it harder to get on that plane and leave. Our contact after that was fierce, like we were trying to make up for distance by spending every moment we could on the phone. During my entire freshman year at NYADA I told you about everything. Every time I ate, slept, drank, studied, danced, cried. All of it. You know about everything. I doubt I would have made it through that first year without you, honestly. I needed you, and like an addiction I kept coming back for more. Like I said, I loved you. My second year came along and I became buried in school work, so I couldn’t talk to you as often. My third year there was even less time, and when I was talking to you it was usually on speaker phone while I was doing my homework, and I tried to pretend you were in the room with me.. Just sitting at my side just too far to touch if I leaned over. Yeah, it was silly of me, but I really did pretend you were there. Even after three years apart, my love for you burned brighter than the Olympic torch.
The years passed by and soon we started talking even less than before. I had to get jobs, support myself. I was no longer living under the money that had been put aside for me to use during college. I was a functioning adult, and I went through internships that took up most of my time. I got a Bluetooth so I could talk to you while I worked without getting in trouble, and I’d hear you laugh at conversations I had at work. Again, I pretended like you were there. But soon enough, even that ended. Before I knew it, the weeks we would go without talking turned into months. Then one day I realized that I couldn’t remember when the last time we had spoken was. That day I cried for the first time in years, curled up on my bed with a stuffed animal you had bought me that last Valentine’s Day we had spent together. I felt like a silly child. It had been at over seven years since we had broken up, and I still held onto my love for you. You were my first real love, the one person who knew me better than I knew myself. At one time I had shared everything with you, and now you didn’t even know who I was. I wondered if you were okay, if you were alive, what you were doing. All kinds of things. I hadn’t dated since we split, and I had made sure not to ask if you had. I didn’t want to know, it would have made pretending while we spoke on the phone impossible.
Finally, I had to pick myself up and try to move on. Not from you, no, but I needed to grab my life by the horns and take what I had been working so hard for. I had so many dreams, I wanted so much. Over the years I had auditioned for a few musicals and shows on Broadway. I was able to act in the background in a few things, and I even got some secondary character roles in smaller theaters, but not the big break I had hoped for. Still, I never gave up. I still had that picture, the one that was so old it should be dust.. The one I had held onto during high school, and that same newspaper clipping of the word “courage” was taped to the frame underneath it. The words were now nearly black and white, slightly sepia from age. Every time I looked at it I saw the bright colors it had once been, and I drew courage from it just like I had before. Again, I will admit, you were like an addiction now that you were gone. Without your calls, I talked to your picture sometimes. Not like a crazy person.. Just small little things, like when I was getting dressed and couldn’t pick an outfit. I’d ask you, look in the mirror, and try to see if I could come to a conclusion. I was silly, but I was still hopelessly in love.
I met a man name Pierre, somewhere in that seventh year after our split. Well, I already knew him really. I had met him in college and he had asked me out a few times after we had met but I always dodged his advances. We hung out, but nothing formal or date like, and one day I ended up spilling my guts right out on the table in front of him.. It was just like when I had finally burst and told you about being bullied. I don’t even remember what set me off, but I just poured everything out right there. I told him why I was in New York, what my dreams were and how hard it was to keep chasing them when I wasn’t getting anywhere. I told him about how easy I had thought it would be to succeed, and how I was losing my confidence. I explained that I had put so much effort into college, into my dream, and that I felt like I was drowning without a life vest to save me. Then I told him all about you, and how much I missed you. How we never talked, and how I was sure you were probably holding someone else in those gorgeous arms of yours, holding them close and telling them all the things you had said to me. I was in a coffee shop in New York City with a man who I had put walls up with so I could never get close.. And here I was pouring out my heart and soul. For a few minutes there, I broke. I didn’t care that other people could see me crying, I had never really cared about that; Even if it did make me look horrible when I got that emotional. My face scrunched up and my eyes went all squinty, and the puffiness that came next never helped my appearance. Not to mention the way my skin blotched up and reddened.
He got up and held me somewhere in the middle of my babbling. I didn’t even notice, I was so caught up in myself, and he just held me and listened. So when, about a week later, he asked me to go on another coffee meeting with him -this time under the title of “date”- I finally gave in. I caved, and had the first real date since splitting up with you. Is it pathetic that it took me that long? Probably, but one never forgets their first love, and I have always been a romantic fool. Even then, in the first weeks of a relationship with another man, I expected you to ride in on a white horse and carry me away. Perhaps with some cheesy little romantic line about how I’d never left your heart, or how we needed to be together. How your life had always had a slight hint of misery without me in it. Why had we not gotten back into physical contact after I had graduated from NYADA? I didn’t even know, it never came up.
Time, that ever changing force that had taken me from a naive teenage mind with great opinions and goals into a responsible adult taking charge of his dreams, drifted by further. With the support from Pierre, who had eventually gotten me to allow him to kiss me, and become my boyfriend, I set out to grab my dreams for all they were worth. A starring role on Broadway never happened, but I kept feeling like I was close. I wanted to give up, but I knew I couldn’t. That wasn’t me. Then one day, I was reborn, and Jonathon Sparks came into being. What? You thought I was simply born into a name as classy as that? Hardly. And though I do love my birth name, this one seemed to fit me. One might ask, why did I create an alter ego for myself? It’s simple. I was beginning a new business venture and taking another step towards something that I was interested. This something had every potential, including that for failure. If this did flop, I did not want my own name tarnished in the process. I had every confidence in myself, and so did Pierre, but I did not want to risk ruining my birth name. I made a big deal about this rebirthing process, and the venture I was about to take on. I had this giant pow wow with a bunch of the people I had made friends with, and Pierre. I even called my Father and Carole and let them join in on the talk via speakerphone. We all talked for hours, and finally my decision was set in stone.
I was starting my own magazine.
It sounded like the perfect idea for me. I had risen from intern to actually seeing some of my designs on a catwalk. I had taken supporting roles in big theaters all over town, lead roles in smaller theaters, and smaller roles on Broadway. When the subject of gay marriage being legal in all states and not just New York came up, I had fought tooth and nail to give my full support and voice to the cause. So many ventures, so many of my interests had been explored. I believed it was time to step out of my comfort zone and go for something big. Maybe this would be great, and maybe this would get me further into the warmth and bliss of my dreams.
And so I began the steps needed to begin a magazine. I had saved up a good little chunk of money over the years, I was always responsible like that. So I started with a single room space that was small enough to be laughable, and built myself up from the ground. From nothing, I managed to pull together an entire crew, and through sweat, blood, and tears I came out with my first issue only six months after that pow wow with all the people who held opinions I valued. Well, not all of the people who had opinions I valued.. You weren’t there, and don’t think for one second that I didn’t leave a seat open for you.. Just in case you magically knew that I needed you. Of course, you didn’t. You’re not a mind reader.
My first issue was self published, by myself, and I managed to get a few copies distributed throughout town. A few of my friends even stood on street corners and sold handfuls of copies like the old newspaper boys of old. I was so grateful for everything I had, for everyone I had. It took a year before I was able to publish enough copies to get them into stores, but it was still local. Fem Nouveau had yet to reach beyond New York City, but it was my next dream for it to become more than just a local thread. I liked to approach things one step at a time, since I had become mature enough to make fully detailed task lists and run a magazine single handedly. Well, that wasn’t fair to say. I had plenty of help from other people and Pierre had both hands dipped into the magazine as well, but my name was the one under the header, and my decisions were the final say.
A few more years went by, and now I was ready to bring my magazine into the next step. I wanted to be able to spread the span that I distributed across in one foul swoop. I had been saving and collecting the best writers I could find. Not all of them were in New York either. I searched the country, and with the money I had saved up throughout these years I was able to afford to fly out myself to interview the more important ones. Finally, my team was set up and everything was ready to go. I brought everyone to the final paces, and warned everyone how important this issue was. I wanted everyone to be as serious as I was, and I left knowing that I had complete confidence in everyone that was working for me. Some of my closest friends were left in charge, and people I had complete trust in.
Like what you've read so far? Here's a link to part two!