89 Frozen Out

For a moment I froze, wishing I could just sink through the ground. It was impossible. There was no way that he… I whirled and gasped. “Jeremy?!”

I couldn’t read anything on his face but surprise as he walked toward me. “It is you!” he said. “What are you doing at Piques? Are you here for House Parties?”

I stared at him, my old reaction to him coming back even stronger after spending weeks imagining myself in love with him. The fact that I was already incredibly turned on from my clothing escapade just added to the intensity. “I… I’m a student here,” I managed, swallowing hard. “I’m a sophomore.”

He stopped and favored me with an incredible smile. I’d forgotten how much I’d liked that smile. “I don’t believe this! I’m a senior here. I can’t believe we never ran into each other! Where are you living?”

“L-Laramie Hall,” I managed. “And my classes…”

“Hmm… and I have most of my classes out here, so our paths really weren’t likely to cross. So… how are you? Did you have a good time last night? At House Parties, I mean?”

“I…” I was staring at him, wide-eyed, and thinking was really, really hard. “I didn’t go…” I told him. “I didn’t have a date…” As soon as the words left my mouth, I wished that I could have called them back. What if he took them as an opening? What if he thought I was hinting? What if he asked me to go with him tonight, and I spent the entire evening in his arms?

“Oh…” he said, “that’s too bad. There were some great bands last night. Janine and I had a terrific time.”

Janine? I didn’t know her, but I already hated her. Why did he have to…? What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking, couldn’t think; all I knew was that I hated her. Janine?! Not even “Janine so-and-so,” but just Janine, as in my Janine, the one everybody thinks about when they think of me, the Janine whose name is so closely linked with mine that I don’t have to mention her last name.

I swallowed hard. I had to get away. If I didn’t get away right now… “It was really nice running into you, Jeremy,” I forced myself to say, “I have to get back… I think my roommates were expecting me a while ago… I… I’ll see you!”

“Oh! Oh, OK,” he said. “Maybe we’ll run into each other again, some time.”

“Yeah… maybe…” and I slowly, deliberately backed away from him and slowly, deliberately, without any indication of haste, walked away from him, heading toward the corner of the nearest building. As soon as I turned the corner and he was no longer in sight, I ran. I ran for all I was worth, tore open the nearest door and fled for the safety of the ladies’ room.

Once inside, I collapsed in tears, berating myself. “Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could I have been so blind? How could I have lied to myself all this time? Now what am I supposed to do?”

Years of habit gave me the answer. I fumbled my cell phone out of my purse and called home. Mom answered, but I didn’t want to talk to her right then. Sobbing, I asked, “Mom, is Tina there?”

“Marsh? What’s wrong?”

“I need to talk to Tina, Mom!” I said, desperately.

Fortunately, she knew all about our game, and didn’t argue with me, but called her. “She’s coming, Marsh, but you’re going to talk to me after you’re done with her.”

“Ok, Mom,” I agreed, willing to agree to just about anything.

And then Tina was there. “Marsh? What is it?”

“Miss Pie-crust Panjandrum,” I gasped, not forgetting to gesture dramatically from the bathroom floor, “take a lemon!”

“Yes, Ma’am,” she whispered.

“To the world at large, romance division, Dear Sirs,” I started, my voice breaking badly. “It… it has come to my attention that I am not…” I had to swallow and start again. “I am not, as I thought, completely asexual…” This would have been so much easier if I weren’t crying as I said it, but the strict formalism of the game helped me. “I am, in fact, apparently attracted to boys, or at least…” I sniffed, and wiped my face as my voice cracked, “… one particular boy. I have further been informed that said boy…” and this part was even harder to get out, “… has a girlfriend and I have no chance…” I wailed at the sheer perversity of the whole thing.

I heard Tina inhale sharply. Technically, she wasn’t supposed to react, but under the circumstances, it was understandable.

“But I will rise above this…” I said next. That was the rule. You had to propose a solution; a way to deal with your pain. But I froze, my mind a blank. “I will rise above this,” I repeated. “I will…” Actually doing something seemed impossible. I’d never had to get over a crush before; never found myself in a position where I was even attracted to somebody I wished I hadn’t been, much less where the whole idea had been something I hadn’t wanted to think about. Maybe I could deal with the whole, ‘attracted to boys’ idea. Was I really attracted to boys, suddenly?

“I… need to find out if I really am attracted to boys. If I like one, I should be able to like others, right?” You weren’t really supposed to ask questions, but Tina murmured a tentative agreement. “So I need to find out… so… “ There was only one obvious solution. “The next time a boy asks me out…” I took a deep breath. “… I’m going to say yes. And then I’ll be able to find out.”

“I think that’s a good idea, Marsh,” Tina murmured. “Oh, Marsh, that must really hurt.”

“You have no idea, Teen,” I said, my tears flowing freely. “I couldn’t believe it. I was so sure I wasn’t interested and then to run into him and find out…”

“Yeah, that’s really not fair. Why did he have to tell you something like that?”

“He didn’t know, Teen. I didn’t know. I don’t know which is worse, that I can’t have him, or that I want him in the first place.”

“Do want to talk about this guy? About his girlfriend?”

“No,” I said, managing to force a smile for the first time since finding out. “I’ve just been stupid. I’m in shock. I… don’t think I can think. It really hurts, Teen.”

“I’m sure it does.”

“I can’t believe that I didn’t realize how I’d felt; I’d been imagining myself kissing this guy – you know, for the play–”

“A real guy?” she interrupted me. “You didn’t tell me that part! You just said that you were imaging a guy that your character liked.”

“W- Well…” I stammered. “It was easier to imagine a real guy; I mean, I met him only once and I didn’t think I was ever going to see him again…”

“And you liked this guy when you met him? Who is he? Why didn’t you think you would see him again?”

Those were questions I really didn’t want to answer. Jeremy had known who Tina was; what if she actually knew him as well? It was bad enough crushing on a guy, especially one who wasn’t available, without my sister being reminded of it whenever she saw him. “None of that matters, Teen. I was stupid, OK? The point is, I had convinced myself that I was only using the memory of meeting him, that I couldn’t possibly like him for real.”

“Hmmm… and what changed?”

“I don’t know,” I answered, miserably. “I guess… being a girl this long just got to me or something. I don’t know. Look, I don’t think I want to talk about this anymore. What’s happening with you?”

She laughed. “Compared with what you’re going through? I can’t think of anything close to that. Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?”

“No, I mean, what am I supposed to say? I’m shattered. I… I don’t know who I am anymore. I thought I did, I thought I had it under control; I was resigned to not having any relationships at all, and now this.”

“So… this is good, right?”

“Um… I don’t know… I guess so. It’s just so… unexpected. It’s scary, Teen.”

“I wish I could give you a hug right now, Marsh. Why couldn’t this have happened when we were there with you?”

“Yeah, I know what you mean…”


“Yeah. At least I sort of have a plan.”

“Think somebody will ask you out soon?” Tina asked, sounding maybe a bit too eager for my state of mind.

“I hope not…” I told her.

“Marsh!” she snapped at me. “Don’t try to get out of this. You did ‘take a lemon.’ You promised!”

“I know, I know. It’s just really scary. But…we’ve got exams coming up. I don’t think too many…” I exhaled nervously. “I don’t think too many guys are going to be thinking about asking… asking girls out during exams.”

“That makes sense. But you have to say yes if one of them does.”

“I know, I will… Oh boy…” I sighed. “I guess I should talk to Mom, now. I promised her.”

“OK, Marsh, take care of yourself. And Marsh?”


“I think… no, never mind. This isn’t the time for it, anyway.”


In a moment, Mom came back on the phone. “What is it, honey? What’s wrong? Do you feel better after talking with your sister?”

“A bit,” I admitted. “I mean, it really hurts, Mom. I just… I just found out that the guy I like has a girlfriend.” I didn’t need to tell her the rest of it.

“I thought you told me you weren’t interested in anybody right now,” she said, sounding a bit confused. “You were sure. Is this new?”

“Kind of. I… I guess I had sort of convinced myself that I wasn’t interested.”

“Oh, I am so sorry, Marsh.”


“You know that the right guy is out there for you, Honey. You just have to find him.”

If I hadn’t been still on the verge of tears, I might have laughed. The idea that I would have even found myself wanting “the right guy” was just too bizarre, made even more so by the possibility that it might actually be true, now. But that wasn’t something I needed to share, so I simply said, “Thanks, Mom.”

“I don’t have an awful lot of easy answers for you, Marsh. It really does hurt when you fall for the wrong guy. And sometimes, telling a girl that she’ll get through it isn’t really all that helpful. But you’ve already been through a breakup with a very long-term boyfriend – this can’t be as bad as that. As long as you remember that your family loves you, you’ll get through this one, too.”

“Yeah, I guess… thanks, Mom.”

We said our goodbyes and hung up, and I just sat there on the bathroom floor for a few minutes more. Then I stood up and took off the stupid skirt that had gotten me into this trouble in the first place. What had I been thinking, anyway? Now I had blown money on a skirt that I didn’t even want to think about wearing anymore. I could probably return it, but that would mean walking past where I had run into Jeremy again.

I jammed it into the bag and put on my own comfortable skirt again and left the bathroom and the building, making sure Jeremy wasn’t around. I thought about going to see Nikki; this was something she would definitely want to know about, but she was probably busy with Alvin this weekend and I didn’t want to bother her, so I just walked back to my dorm.

Of course, my roommates spotted the tear streaks in my makeup, which I hadn’t bothered fixing, and the next thing I knew they had left their boyfriends in the living room and hustled me into Lee Ann’s bedroom, where I burst into tears all over again, and told them what had happened.

“Jeremy?” Terry exclaimed, when I was finished. “The guy you liked from home? He goes to Piques?”

“You poor thing,” Lee Ann said, hugging me. “It, um… doesn’t sound like you knew him very well, Marsh.”

“I guess I didn’t,” I admitted, miserably.

“So you built him up in your mind and developed a crush on what was pretty much your own imaginary ideal guy.”

“I guess so…”

“That doesn’t make it any less painful, of course,” Terry pointed out. “Sometimes crushes like that can take a long time to heal.”

“I just can’t believe how stupid I’ve been,” I moaned.

“It happens, Marsh. You’re not the first girl to do something like this.”

“I think you need a night out, Marsh,” Lee Ann suggested. “Come with us tonight. You can dance with Geoff if you like, or just sit and hang out.”

“No, I can’t,” I insisted. “I might see him… with her.” Or Vicky with Kevin, I added, or do I even still care about that? I didn’t know.

“Marsh, you need to get over this!” Terry said, impatiently.

“I think we can make allowances this one last time,” Lee Ann countered, putting her hand on Terry’s arm. Then she addressed me again. “But starting in January, I don’t want to hear any more about how you’re not interested, OK? We’re not going to push you during exams, but when the new term starts, we’re going to start fixing you up, and no more excuses. Right?”

I nodded. It’s what I had agreed with Tina anyway. I just wasn’t really looking forward to it.


  1. Trax says:


    This chapter really sells the whole story to date I think. Really awesome. It is really late so I’m not sure I can voice more coherent opinions than that right now. Maybe later

  2. Hoopla says:

    ** and I just there on the bathroom floor ** sat?

    I really liked this chapter, I felt it was a long time coming though. I am really looking to see where this pans out.

    Marsh is always jumping to conclusions, Janine may not even be Jeremy’s girlfriend (or might be), but a friend etc.

  3. von says:

    >>Janine may not even be Jeremy’s girlfriend

    I thought of that, but don’t know enough about the culture.

  4. von says:

    >>It’s what I had agreed with Tina anyway.

    No, it’s not!! Liar.

  5. YoMama says:

    i just realized, isn’t “marsha” going to need a haircut pretty soon?

  6. scotts13 says:

    That’s… a lot to assimilate. Marsh’s reaction, and sudden cascade of following thoughts, is way, way beyond what could be expected from hormones or assimilation alone. (“I didn’t know her, but I already hated her,” indeed). Our “hero’s” mind is not his own; there’s long experience from the distaff side buried there.

    Now that this is completely clear, I find my self losing much interest in this constructs thoughts and experiences – it artificial, anyway. Now I want to move on to what was done to Marsh, and how.

  7. Trax says:

    “So you built him up in your mind and developed _on_ crush on what was pretty much your own imaginary ideal guy.”

  8. April says:

    I… I don’t know who I am anymore; I thought I did, I thought I had it under control; I was resigned to not having any relationships at all, and now this.” <– not the best writing form, with two semi-colons

    We said our goodbyes and hung up, and I just there on the bathroom floor for a few minutes more. <– sat there?

    I jammed into the bag <– jammed it?

    “So you built him up in your mind and developed on crush on what was pretty much your own imaginary ideal guy.” <– developed an crush

    Excellent chapter!

  9. April says:

    There appears to be some debate both publicly and privately about whether or not Marsh’s behavior with regards to her porn viewing, vibrational activities, and general asexuality.

    From my viewpoint, none of these things are particularly outside of the realm of normality.

    As far as the pornography goes, I think it’s normal that she wouldn’t have gotten turned on by any of the men that she would have seen in any of the pictures or videos. A pretty large percentage of women aren’t turned on my visual pornography at all… myself amongst them. So, failing to get turned on by what she saw is no surprise to me.

    Vibrator time, vibrator time. Well, there appears to be some thought that reaching orgasm while using a vibrator (or masturbating in general) is impossible to do without having someone or some sexual fantasy going in your head at the same time. But women, in my experience, are all over the map on this one. Some do think of people when they’re going at it, others think of nothing at all, and others still think of graphic things that they would never actually want done to themselves. Personally, I find that too much thinking about things during the process tends to interfere with reaching a satisfying conclusion.

    And as far as the asexuality in general going on for so long, I think that’s really, really normal for women. When I’m really stressed out in life, my sex drive often disappears completely… sometimes for months. Not only do I not think about sex, I don’t find random strangers to be cute or sexy, either. During those times, I rarely even meta-cognate about sex or my lack of sexual desire, and when I do, it’s in an utterly dispassionate, clinical way. I think this is a difficult thing for guys to understand. Having such a steady flow of testosterone, they’re so hardwired for sex that even the thought of not thinking about sex at all is a bit of a foreign concept.

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