Chapter 10- Tommy Bear

This is the point in my life where I don’t know where it all went wrong. Maybe I was  bored. Or Stupid. Maybe both. I wanted attention, and it’s quite obvious to me now that I didn’t care where I got it from. That’s when I decided to go out with Tom.

Let’s rewind way back to middle school, before I even started dating. It was eighth grade, and I had just transferred schools. My brother was a bit of a trouble maker, so my mom transferred us all to a completely new school district to keep him out of trouble. This was a newly built charter school, K-12, where the graduating senior class that year was six. Everything was foreign to me, and I absolutely hated it. I was a quiet kid, and I never made friends that easily. It was tough having to leave all my friends behind and attempt to make new ones. Especially these kids. They were different. And they all knew each other. I was the new kid trying to blend in with an already established clique, and I was never excited about it. The only remotely exciting class to me was my English class. The teacher was young, straight out of school, and the most enthusiastic person I have ever met. His name was Tom.

He was 24 at the time, the youngest male teacher there. All the girls swooned over him, including me. Not only was he handsome, he had the personality that could light up the room. He was always excited; that’s one of the things I liked most about him. Not once did I ever hear him raise his voice at anyone, nor did he ever have to. He always had the attention of the room, and everyone always listened. His class always had my attention, in fact, he has been the only teacher I have ever had where I actually finished every single book he assigned. Which is an impressive feat in its own right.

There was one story that resonated to me that Tom told. It was his claim to fame story. He had been on The Price is Right with a group of his friends and a girl he was dating. She was selected to play, and made a shout out to her group and her “Tommy Bear”. So since that day, I saw him as Tommy Bear. Even he couldn’t keep me at that school. I was miserable there. I begged my mother to let me back to my old school, which she eventually obliged. I transferred the very next semester, and that was the last time I saw him.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I received a Facebook friend request from a vaguely familiar face. After opening up his Facebook page, I recognized him immediately. I was so shocked to see him, and up to that point, I had completely forgotten about him. I accepted the request, and almost immediately, we struck up a conversation. It was so strange talking to this person like he was a peer when once not too long ago, he was my instructor. We must have talked for weeks before we asked for my phone number, and I gave it to him. There was something dangerous about the situation, and I was intrigued. He was a fantasy, and I wanted to live that fantasy.

I actually never gained the comfort of meeting him initially. I was young, and this fantasy was best staying un-lived. I ended up cancelling on him twice before he decided I was not into it, but we remained online friends. After about a year or two after that initial request, he did reach out to me again. I didn’t want to miss out on another opportunity, so this time I accepted.

We met at my favorite local bar. He was in great shape, perfectly built, and still had that same smile that could melt every heart in a room. Conversation with him was so easy, and there was never a pause in the three hours we spent over beers. He still taught at the same school, and was working toward his master’s degree. Adventure was in his eyes, and he was always traveling when he wasn’t teaching. He was genuinely a wonderful person, and I truly did want to get to know him more. After that night, we did want to make additional plans to see each other, but he was about to leave the country, so we decided to hold off until after his trip.

That might have been the absolute worst thing to have happened to us, but that time away really gave me time to think about what I was doing. He had this gypsy heart, and wanted to roam the earth. This was fine, except what I saw was a 36 year old man still living with a roommate, driving a barely functional Hyundai. I was at the very beginning of building my career, and I wasn’t ready to drop that to be able to catch up with his lifestyle. Also, after seeing him again for the first time since 8th grade got me to thinking. Why did he reach out to me? Did he find me attractive when I was 14? If he did, does he feel this way about his other students? All the answers to these questions were probably  no, but it definitely killed my fantasy.

Tommy Bear was also liberal to the bone, and I was quite the opposite. These opposing political views had us hashing out a social issue that had put a halt on our friendship altogether. I eventually got over it, and we became friends again, but the desire to see each other had completely disseminated. He eventually started seeing someone else, and I quickly moved on. How quickly one can come to their senses when politics become involved.