The note he wrote me during in-school suspension, which was decorated with a crudely drawn Budweiser logo, should have said it all. Perhaps it was the post-script which read “Voulez vous couchez avec moi ce soir la Friday night?” that should have tipped me off. In contrast to my ex’s monthly anniversary cards, his notes penned during in-school suspension were barely legible and vaguely resembled English.

While he had the same name as the boyfriend I had left him in favor of, the two couldn’t have been more different. Although I was young for my grade and turned 17 during our brief courtship, he was older than I was, and in the 10th grade. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how they made the decision to advance him year after year, as the majority of his time was spent in in-school suspension. The funny part is, I don’t remember him being as much of a dirt bag as he sounds now on paper. He mostly just lacked direction of any kind and fit the stereotype to a tee of the extremely laid-back surfer kid who drove an El Camino.

The few months he and I spent together marked the beginning of dissonance in an otherwise close relationship between me and my mom. I was embracing senioritis in all of its glory, which meant forgoing ninth period Creative Problem Solving in favor of making out at his parents’ house (in-between his in-school suspension and lacrosse practice).

I wish, in retrospect, I could remember what his appeal was at the time. Perhaps it could all be chalked to some sanitized Lifetime movie version of teenage rebellion; perhaps he simply marked the beginning of some less-than-stellar dating decisions on my part.

I wonder if he ever graduated high school; I wonder if he ever learned to communicate using complete English sentences. And even better, I wonder if he still drives the El Camino.

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