Stories We Tell
A Fictional Series
I wasn’t interested in boys in my early teens, but after college I met – and eventually married – the man I now call my soulmate.
If you asked me who my first real ‘crush’ was, however, I’d have to say that there is only one candidate – and that would be my best friend Levi.
It was not lust, or anything sexual for that matter, it was more like adoration or idolization. Think of it as the female version of a bromance – although that term didn’t even exist back then.
My name is Dizzy Bale, and this is my story.
I was born on the west coast, in 1964, and was the fourth and last child in my family. I was also the first and only girl. My two oldest brothers – Tony and John – were practically grown and moved out by the time I was born.
My parents thought they were finished raising children before they were surprised (pleasantly, they say) with the conception of my brother Martin, and then me… three years later.
It was easier on my parents than they expected, as Tony and John stepped up and helped take care of us – the two younger siblings. That arrangement wasn’t so easy on me, however. I was like a vessel lost at sea… a sea of testosterone, that is.
Sadly, my mother had a breakdown when I was six, and she abandoned ship. I felt utterly alone – and I was sinking. That’s when Levi moved into our neighborhood, and I clung to her for dear life. She was my lifeboat.
I was named Elizabeth, but everyone called me ‘Lizzy’ for short. One summer, Levi and I spent our days at the playground, and she’d spin me on the merry-go-round so fast that I’d fall down when I got off – like I was drunk.
We laughed hysterically, and then Levi started calling me ‘Dizzy’ instead of Lizzy, and the name stuck with me forever. I’m sure I kept it because of my feelings for her. It was like carrying around a part of her – no matter where I went.
I realized how I felt about Levi when she was thirteen – when I caught her watching my brother Martin. I knew the look, because I’d seen it in the movies. I wouldn’t say that it was jealousy running through my veins, but I was definitely feeling possessive.
Levi was “my” friend, and I was afraid of losing her – or even sharing her. Not to mention the fact that she was my “only” friend. I was a runt, if such a thing exists, and my “smallness” simply served as amusement for the other girls in town.
I went out of my way to keep Levi and Martin apart, but then, one night when she and I were playing in the garage, Martin and his friends came barrelling through.
Levi wanted me to ask if they’d play ‘spin the bottle’ with us. I didn’t want to play, I didn’t want Levi to play – and I sure as hell didn’t want Martin to play.
Then Levi begged and made her sad puppy face, and all I could think was that I’d lose her no matter what. If she and Martin got together, I would end up being the third wheel – or worse – non-existent. If I refused to give in, I’d probably lose her anyway. So I caved.
I don’t remember much of the game. I was too busy watching Levi watch the bottle. I know it sounds weird, but that’s all I remember – until she spun the bottle and it landed on Martin.
When Levi kissed Martin it was like fireworks went off. My stomach started to ache, and I gasped as if it were my last breath. My eyes were wide open, staring ahead, but I couldn’t really see anything. It was all a blur.
I was sure that I’d lost my best friend – and possibly experiencing some kind of traumatic shock. Martin – the loser that he was at the time – got all goofy and excited because Levi used her tongue, and the next thing we knew… she grabbed the bottle and walked out. It was strange.
I remember this like it was yesterday, because it was the moment when the dynamics of our friendship changed. After chasing Levi, I caught up with her as she reached her front door. She was shaking, and obviously rattled.
We sat on the curb together and – for the first time ever – Levi confided in me about how she felt; scared, insecure, sad, and alone. And now, after kissing my brother, completely embarrassed.
In all of our time together, she had never talked to me about her vulnerabilities. And it was then that I realized… as much as I needed her, she needed me too. My girl crush was ending, but our friendship was just beginning to blossom.
I hope you’re enjoying the series so far! I’m considering omitting the images because it seems that when I get into writing, my illustration skills suffer – and vice versa. I started out with something totally different for this one and then settled for a simple portrait of Dizzy.
I started watching the series This is Us on Hulu and it is so good! I’ve been binge watching it late at night, and I can’t wait to start in again right about now…
So, until later,
-Peace & Love!