Adolescent Sexuality, Agape, Anger, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Education, Erotic Love, Fear, Friends, Gratitude, Horniness, Human Nature, Infatuation, Learning, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, New Love, Passion, People, Possessiveness, Relationships, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Flourishing, Self-Knowledge, Sexuality, Sharon, Talents and Skills, Teacher, Unconditional Love

Sharon’s Love for the Horny Misfit Boy

(About a 20 minute read)

Many a beautiful friendship has sprouted from awkward soil.  In fact, most of my deepest friendships in life have begun clumsily.

I know of no inviolate law of nature that dictates the conservative beige panties of a young school librarian cannot possibly be the start of a profound bond between her and an insufferably horny 14 year old boy misfit.  I know of no law that states such a thing cannot happen.

Yet the very last thing on my mind when Sharon’s angry voice shook me awake that Spring morning was, “This is the start of a beautiful friendship”.

Rather my suddenly terrified thoughts swung to something approximately along the lines of, “Oh shit! I’m in for it!  I just broke every last law from the laws of mankind to the laws of nature.  Even Mom can’t save me!”

Only my thoughts did not seem to me at the time so dragged out like that.  Rather, they were compressed, imploded into a profound, pinpoint singularity, “UH!”.  Uh at once exploded across the landscape of my brain and just as immediately exploded from my mouth as well.

But it was not the “uh” of lovers, it was the primeval “uh” of a lone and lonely great ape surprised and astonished by a springing, roaring lion.

The young librarian’s red face was twice as dark as her bold red hair.  “Whitney!  Stop staring up my skirt this instant!”

Whitney, sitting next to me, launched himself upright, almost coming to attention.  “You mean Sunstone Miss Kaye, Ma’am, your honor!”

Whitney later explained to me, he was not being sarcastic by calling Sharon, “Your honor”.  He was so terrified to placate her that the words left his mouth before his brain could grasp their absurdity.

No one laughed.  Had I both been in full possession of myself at that moment, and also a much more insightful boy, I would have been in awe of Sharon — not for her anger — but for her ability to control it.  Obviously, she was once-a-year pissed.  Yet, she was in control of herself.

Of course it took a few minutes, and the usual apologies and such, to get everyone back on track and at least somewhat focused on what Sharon once again took up saying about how we middle kids could best use her library — her high school library.  Our middle school next door didn’t have a library.

To this day, I have never again been so transfixed, so hypnotized, by the mere sight of a woman’s panties up a short skirt.   It was the skirt, and not Sharon’s legs, that had somehow strayed out of position.

Her skirt had — quite fatedly — hiked itself up somehow.  Enough to get a glimpse of the Fabled Fabric of Heaven to a 14 year old.

Sharon was young and fit, and her skin glowed like any young skin glows.  She was not especially beautiful by the standards of the world, but she was not especially ugly by those dreaded standards either.  Yet, it had not been her face that transfixed me.  Unfortunately, it had not been her blue eyes, nor her red hair, nor her generous lips, nor even her relatively large nose.  Alas!  It had not been her face that fine Spring morning.

Sharon and I were off to a fabulous start.

The story become legendary due to Whitney’s retelling of it over the years.  Whitney stayed in the community, became a Sheriff’s deputy, and told the story of “Your Honor”, for years after both Sharon and I had left town.  Three years ago, when I returned for my mother’s funeral, an old upperclassman said Whitney had “forty” times told her the story.  Was it true?

Well yes, now that you mention it, yes — but, you see, that’s not where things ended between Sharon and me.  That’s only how they started.

∇Δ∇

I now realize, with the hindsight of 62 years, that I had gotten unbelievably lucky that day, for I had come to Sharon’s attention.  More than that, I had done it in a way as to be unforgettable to her.  I was on her radar.  A large and prominent blip in a sea of kids.

In the second semester of my freshman year, Sharon pulled me out of free study hour to ask out of the blue if I wanted henceforth to spend my hour with her in the library.

At the time I thought it was because I had recently checked out a book on existential philosophy.  At the check-out desk, she had seemed impressed.  I still imagine that was the immediate cause of her grace and mercy in freeing me from the boring prison that was “free study hour”.  But I do believe it was actually the previous year’s commotion that laid the rock solid foundation of her thinking I was something special and to be numbered among her chosen ones.

∇Δ∇

In my memories, I now added pronounced gratitude to the strong emotions of lust, anger, fear, and humiliation that I had come to associated with her.  And within just a few months, by the start of the next school year, I could add yet another strong emotion to my list of memorable feelings for Sharon.  Love.

Consciously, I dismissed it as erotic love.  Consciously, I thought I was simply feeling horny for her.  And since she was 11 years older than me, I also easily dismissed my feelings for her as leading nowhere.

Today, I understand — I fully grasp — the significance of the fact I was absolutely more comfortable, more at ease, and more open to being true to myself around Sharon than anyone else in my life at the time.

More than with anyone else, I could be myself around Sharon.

But no one back then had taught me to see love for love.  I only thought of Sharon as “easy going.  Easy to get along with.”  No one had taught me to think of that as on of the truest hallmarks of love.

Who, after all, thinks of “easy going” and “passionate” in the same sentence, the same thought?

We are taught — almost systematically taught — to confuse mere enthusiasm for passion.  Yet enthusiasms can be shaken by even the gentlest opposing shoves and pushes.  How often does a moment’s enthusiasm taper off when it encounters even mild to moderate resistance?

Enthusiasms, you see, are driven by external factors.  “I’m sorry, my dear, but you have wrinkles now, and my secretary has still satin skin.  Surely, you understand.”  Later that same day, “My wife doesn’t understand me.  She doesn’t understand my passion for you, my heart-felt, undying passion for…OMG!  Is that a wrinkle?”

Passions are internally driven, and so they are relatively immune to external changes and alterations in their object, or to obstacles and resistances in their path.

What I felt for Sharon was no mere suffocating infatuation or possessive crush.  Over time, my feelings for her only became better and better adjusted to the reality of her.  Or as so many of us prefer to put it,  they only became deeper, more profound.

In fact, my feelings even survived Sharon’s adamant and inflexible effort to keep to proper distances with me. She was not “Sharon” at the time, she was ever “Miss Kaye”.  I could easily earn a harsh look if and when I dared glance at her breasts.  We touched in all the time we knew each other perhaps twice.  “Here’s some change, please get yourself a Coke — and be quiet in the halls. Oops!  Sorry.”  Nor were her library’s rules ever suspended for me — and she most certainly did not allow me to look up her skirt again.

Yet, by the time I was a senior, Sharon and I were frequently experiencing those “open and unguarded moments” when two people mysteriously become so mutually accessible to each other that anything — anything — seems possible, seems able to happen.  All the rules can be broken.  All the distances can be crossed.  I could have kissed Sharon a hundred times in our last year together and she would have reciprocated.

Love is subversive.  It is subversive of everything except itself.  There are no boundaries that can withstand love.  There are no distances it cannot cross.  Were it not for the fact it creates its own boundaries, love would be the most dangerous thing imaginable. It would be a destroying fire storm.

But love does indeed create its own boundaries.  It creates them by making you want the best for your beloved — and it does that even when selfishness would oppose your desire for his or her best.

Emotional dependency is almost the same thing as possessiveness, the two are so closely related, and the two are so often called “love”.  “Don’t you dare look at her!  I see you looking at her, and I’ll kill you!”

Possessiveness affirms what it considers is its right to own another person.  Love affirms the other person.  “She’s beautiful, isn’t she? I know how you feel.  I hope she doesn’t notice we’re both looking at her!”

The world denies it.  The world lies about it.  The world only pays lip service to it.  But love affirms the other person.  Love can be lied about, but it cannot be faked.

So frequently, we repress or even destroy our love for someone early on in a relationship.  And when we do, we almost always do it out of fear they will in some way wound us.  So frequently, our refusal to take a little pain is all it takes to turn love into possessiveness.

Without planning, without thinking about it, without any foresighted wisdom, Sharon and I preserved our love for each other more or less because we could not expect to have each other — could not in any way, shape, or form harbor hopes or expectations of owning each other, of possessing each other.  We more or less lucked into preserving our love for each other.

∇Δ∇

In my junior year, Sharon got pregnant and married the school’s most brilliant teacher.  I was so happy for her!  He conscientiously made a point of telling his classes their condom had broken, for he had heard of a student who had dismissed using condoms with the words, “Sharon and Donny didn’t use one.”

The comfortable, be-yourself librarian and the brilliantly challenging teacher.  How could such a match go wrong?

In hindsight, I’ve come to suspect they were little more than what today are called, “fuck-buddies”.  Sharon was opposed to abortion, and Don was an honorable man.  They married to defuse the scandal and keep their small town jobs.  In the end, it took them about five years to part, but I could sense something was wrong just a few months after my initial burst of optimistic happiness.  Sharon was predictably stoic about it, but I could sense her expectations of happiness with Don had already come to an end.

∇Δ∇

Sharon is the reason I know how loving a good and decent older woman can shape a young man.  Sharon believed in me.

There were handful of older people in the town who believed in me, but I think Sharon saw me best.  I think Sharon’s beliefs were the most steadfast and most accurate of them all.  She both understood me and she stood by me like no others.

Essentially, Sharon encouraged me to develop my talents into skills, and my skills into strengths.

I suppose there are other ways of believing in someone.  That is, other ways of encouraging someone to be true to themselves.  But I have found the most enduring way is Sharon’s way of encouraging someone to develop their talents into skills, and their skills into strengths.

Sharon went about it at every opportunity.  She sometimes bought library books specifically for me and only hoping other kids would read them too.  The library’s collection of Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novels was, she once confessed, “ordered with you in mind”.

Heinlein thought well outside the boxes of my small town mind.  Sharon was all about undermining and sabotaging the small town boxes of my mind.  In a way, she was more and un-teacher than a teacher.  But she was not at all negative about it.  She tore down by replacing the false and shallow with something more accurate, something truer to reality, something better.

In my junior year, I set myself to the task of learning how to write.  Really write. I didn’t want to write like they were teaching us to write.  I wanted to write ten times better.  So I struck out on my own.

At first I hid it all from everyone  — teachers, students, friends, and family — just as if my efforts were the most intimate diaries you might imagine.  But then I wrote something I liked so well, I couldn’t keep it to myself.  Sharon, of course.  I’ll show it to Sharon.

Two days later, she handed it back — marked up in red, grammar and spelling corrected.

I was momentarily crushed. There was not a single comment on the paper that seemed truly important to me.  Sharon, it seemed was like all the rest after all.  Focused on your mistakes, overlooking anything you got right.  But before I could protest, Sharon cut me off.

“Your paper went right over my head, Paul.  What it talks about is well outside any subject I studied at university.  All I could do was the least thing.  I tried to help you with your grammar, punctuation, and spelling.  But this guy [she pointed to a name she’d written in the top right hand corner of the first page] I heard something one day in a class that makes me think you should look up this guy.  We don’t have any books on him, though.  You’ll need to find him in a bookstore next time you’re in the city.”

I looked again at the name in red. Wittgenstein.

It took me a longtime to fully appreciate the importance of the clue she’d given me, but when I at last pursued it some years later, it opened worlds.

I had a difficult adolescence, and I think even my mother understandably suspended her belief in me at times, the hardest times.  The times when had she not put her belief in me on hold for awhile, she could not have made herself get out of bed.

But Sharon seemed to double down at precisely the hardest times.

Early in my sophomore year I went far beyond the ability of most anyone to believe in me.  I did some foolish thing that became the talk of the town for about three weeks.

It came close to costing my mother her job.  “How can we continue to trust her judgment when she has raised a boy like him?”  The Chief of Police and the Sheriff showed up together at my house one evening for a surprise visit intended to scare the shit out of me and prevent me from repeating my error.

Mission accomplished. More than accomplished.  They did not say it, but I had heard the stories. Who didn’t know the stories?  I knew full well what could happen to an impossible to reform threat to the community at night on the back roads outside of town.

It was rare.  Maybe once in a decade rare.  But small towns just don’t mess around once they become absolute in their conviction someone is a threat to the community.  I had never heard of anyone actually murdered that way, but then I had never heard of anyone actually leaving the hospital short of a months long stay, either — after which going home even for an hour to pack a bag would not have been a safe option.

All the same, cheeky me could not resist lecturing the Chief and Sheriff for seven glorious minutes on how they could do their jobs better. “You should go after the hard stuff and leave marijuana alone.  You won’t get rid of it.  Look at what happened during prohibition…”

I knew how to push small town good manners to their legal limits.  I had no intention whatsoever of doing anything other than reforming myself instantly and permanently.  Of that I profusely assured them.  Still, a boy has to have his fun.  The Chief and Sheriff, bless them, saved their laughter for later.

Naturally, the High School faculty was plunged into hot debate about whether or not to expel me.

On my side were the principal, four teachers, and Sharon.  Since the principal had the final vote, you might suppose I held the best cards.  But that’s not how small towns work.

You go along to get along in a small town.

The principal was a strong individual, a very smart man, but on the verge of burnout, and alert to the profound small town need for consensus before action.

On my side or not, he was in no position to rule by fiat.  Especially not with the math teacher —  and resident worshiper of John Birch — spinning me as an existential threat to both the impressionable student body and the community as a whole.

It was six against thirteen or so with the rest undecided, and the decision of the faculty would fate the decision of the school board.

Sharon said nothing to me about her role in it.  Not during, nor afterwards did Sharon whisper a word.

All I knew by the time I got out of the hospital, was that I would be allowed to continue on in school.  But several years later when I visited my old art teacher, by then retired, he told me the story.

The debate had gone on in the faculty lounge for days.  The math teacher seemed on the verge of winning when the highly esteemed Dr. Reading — the school’s only doctorate and Harvard graduate — joined him in “fearing we must let the boy go for the sake of the other students” (as my art teacher quoted him). That pretty much sealed it except for the formalities of the rest of the holdouts falling in line over the next day or two.

Sharon happened to be present when Reading made his announcement. According to David, my old art teacher, Sharon — face blushing furious dark red — turned on Reading and then — all but wrote it out on paper and signed it in ink — that she would resign in protest and in public before the school board if I was expelled.  In a perfectly controlled fury and rage, she laid herself down as a bold line and then dared the most esteemed of her colleagues to cross it.

Reading reversed himself within mere moments of looking into Sharon’s blue, mountain lion eyes.

“Shy Sharon, Paul! Whatever was going on between you two?  That’s what I’ve wondered ever since.”

Upon my return from the hospital, I had a new student counselor.  The old one no longer wanted anything to do with me.  It was my new one who announced I’d be allowed to continue.  Then she made the strangest, most mysterious non-negotiable demand I have ever had put to me.

“There is one condition, Paul, and I advise you to accept it.”  Her expression was totally serious.  “All free study hours you have between now and your graduation three years hence from now — if you do graduate — are to be spent in the library under the close supervision of Miss Kaye.  You are under no circumstances whatsoever to disobey or disrespect her.  Don’t you mouth-off or back-talk her, Paul, or there will be consequences.”  Her expression remained serious.

I was too stunned to ask questions.  Yes, of course.  Yes, I promise.  The words came out surprisingly flat and lifeless for someone feeling that he had been suddenly lifted out of a hopless nightmare and reborn into the world.

∇Δ∇

The last I saw Sharon was two years after high school graduation. I was on Christmas break from the university when my best friend since third grade called saying we should go visit our old teachers at the new high school, as they weren’t on break yet.

Sharon was in her new, spacious library, and blushed the moment she saw me come though the door.  Keeping to a whisper was impossible even for Sharon, and if we had somehow managed to mute our voices, our grins would have been loud enough to disturb the whole room anyway.

She gestured me to look around, but I had eyes only for the quickest, most obligatory glances away from her uplifted and uplifting, beautiful face.  Suddenly, my glance froze, came to rest on her office door.

Stuck to the door were two, small school photographs.  To the left a girl, to the right a boy.  Diane had been why I’d won the election for Student Council President for my senior year.  She had been, unfortunately, just about the only person I could have beaten.  Out of nearly 500 students, she had gotten two votes. By long-standing rule, the tally had to be publicly announced.

Sharon had at once rushed in to make Diane her welcomed and fully esteemed library assistant.

Sharon blushed all over again when I complimented her on her excellent taste in photography, pointing out the boy.

The boy who had lusted for her, who had been terrified by her, who had been humiliated by her, who had fallen in love with her.

The boy who had turned to her for guidance and self-discovery.  The boy who had found in her healing and a rebirth. The boy who had come of age under her care.

The boy who had felt comfortable being true to himself in her company.

The boy who Sharon had defended nearly to her professional death.

The boy Sharon had believed in.

The boy Sharon had loved.

Perhaps, the only thing that saved us that day from falling into each other’s arms were the awkward school rules.

Or maybe – maybe more likely — the terrifying thought that the books might catch fire from our body heat.

I prefer to think lightly about it — that it was our concern for school property.  Most times, I prefer to think lightly about our last meeting.

But I have long known the truth.  The truth that expressing ourselves in any physical way that morning would have sunk home the reality of our love, revealed our love. Openly declared it in stark and undeniable relief.  Announced it to the world, for sure.  But also announced it to ourselves.

I doubt we could have hugged that morning without instinctively trying to cement or fuse our bodies together into one body, one person.

By then, that could only have been felt poignantly.  Too poignantly.  It could only have been felt sorrowfully.  It could only have been an act of cruelty to have embraced.

There was nothing we could have done about it, anyway.  By then, there were so many other currents in our lives.

Sharon soon enough divorced, soon enough relocated to a school up north to be closer to her family. I soon enough went off in my own direction as well.  Neither one of us stayed in that town.

Once the currents had carried us together.  Now the currents carried us apart.


A follow up post on the kind of light, easy-going love described in this post can be found here.

 

7 thoughts on “Sharon’s Love for the Horny Misfit Boy”

  1. Transfixed I read all the way to the bottom and returned up and scanned it, picking out the spots I wanted to savor, reading them over. This piece is amazing. You’ve tempted me with the idea that love can be ‘easy going’ and perhaps everything I never thought it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds very much to me like you’re “getting” the post for everything it might be worth — and more importantly, making it yours. Just like taking someone’s cake recipe and modifying it to suit your own palate and appetite. Bravo!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of love as “affirming” the other.

    What is curious to me about the relationship you describe is how the impossibility of having an actualized physical and ongoing relationship possibly allowed you to stay in that idealized state of passionate love. That relationship offered something very powerful, special, real. It is also a tough bar for other relationships (which I’m pointing out less for you, who I suspect knows this, and more for your less experienced readers). The challenge of relationships, I think, is to maintain passion alongside the recognition of the others imperfections (which only multiplies over time) – “The sound of your chewing and your nasty toenails are not the stuff of fantasy, but my heart lights up when we pause between the household chores to notice each other still.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! It is indeed a challenge to maintain passion alongside the recognition of the other’s imperfections. Quite a challenge! And an absolutely vital one.

      I would say, however, that I believe what in large part allowed us to keep our love for each other so light is that we never acknowledged it to each other — thus helping to prevent or thwart our love from becoming heavy with possessiveness. The “passionate looks” were there, the “tender gestures” were there, etc. But not the open acknowledgement. We maintained the fiction that the very idea we had anything more than a merely platonic friendship was quite absurd. And, of course, that was in part necessary. Can you imagine the scandal it would have caused in a small town? Teacher/pupil. Adult/underage kid. etc.

      Nevertheless, I have some quite fond memories of some very tender moments between us. Ironically, there were a hundred moments when I could have leaned over and kissed Sharon more easily than I could have persuaded her to verbally declare to me her love — or vice versa!

      I wrote up an elaboration on the kind of non-possessive love Sharon and I had for each other. If you’re curious, you can find it here:

      https://cafephilos.blog/2019/03/27/the-lightness-of-love-the-heaviness-of-possession/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think you articulate that point well in your tribute to Sharon – in essence that your shared love, free of possessiveness, was tender and affirming. There are many kinds of love and many expressions of it. I’m hardly rigid when it comes to defining these things. But it did take me some time and life experience to understand how a committed love relationship can also be quite rich and, even more, liberating.

        Of course, there are no guarantees any kind of relationship will offer a predictable set of experiences. The people involved have much to do with how their relationship unfolds.

        Like

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