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The Pursuit of Passion - Kyle Hilsey

People throughout my life have always called me a hopeless romantic, and I’ve looked to men like Shakespeare, Herrick, Marvell, … all the greats. I’ve always believed in grand romantic gestures, and that love will always survive. But here’s the thing, I’ve been told to be a romantic you need someone to be romantic with, and I’m still working on that. I have had four great loves in my life and for one reason or another it just didn’t line up at the time. 


My first love happened to me when I was in fifth grade. I actually met her on the first day of school, and God was she gorgeous. I mean she always grabbed everyone’s attention, and all the guys would drool over her. Now for me I wasn’t the most popular with the girls but for some reason she always talked to me. It actually seemed like she was really interested in me. I began thinking throughout the year for the best way to sweep her off her feet and ask her out. I tried to write poetry but I kept getting stuck at “roses are red violets blue” and nothing after that. I guess she was just too beautiful describe, or the fact that my vocabulary wasn’t that far along yet. Finally, I had the best idea, the winter dance was coming up and this would be the first year I would be allowed to attend. One day when we were talking, I found out that she would be there. This was it my moment for a grand romantic gesture. I didn’t ask her out then, I wanted to make my move at the dance in front of everyone to make it that more special. So, I spent the day of the dance preparing the perfect look and how exactly to ask her out. When I finally arrived at the dance, I saw I was the only one with a tuxedo which made me stand out even better. I looked around and saw her standing alone at the punch table looking over everyone. I had bouquet of roses and I was ready to make my move. I walked through the dance floor and right up to Mrs. Carroll and said “No one puts baby in the corner”, I began professing my love, but apparently the school frowned upon a student-teacher relationship especially in middle school. I also learned that “Mrs.” meant that she’s married. So, with my first love being over I learned that it’s easier to date someone my own age. 


The second time I fell in love happened when I was in high school. At this time my popularity with the ladies still wasn’t that high. I mean my stats weren’t even that high, I was 110 pounds soaking wet, and recited poetry that no one knew what the hell I was saying. The girl I was in love with was the head cheerleader, the homecoming queen, and most likely the prom queen. So overall, she was the most popular girl in school and she had no clue who the hell I was. But I knew if I just had the chance to spend time with her, I would be able to sweep her off her feet. And she would instantly fall in love with me.  The only problem was she never gave me the time of day, and she always spent her time with the thug football players. Then I knew that to get her I would have to be a bad boy. My chance to make my move finally arrived, she received a weekend detention and I knew that she would have to stay in the same room with me and with enough time I would begin to rub off on her. The only problem was I didn’t have detention, but I decided just to show up anyway. So, I left my slacks, button down shirt, and pocket protector at home, and traded them in for cut jeans with a chain wallet, a rugged flannel shirt, and fingerless gloves. I was the epitome of badass. So, I spent the whole detention trying to act not to care, and talk shit and give the principal a hard time showing her how bad I really was. She really didn’t pay too much attention to me, actually not at all, but I knew she was listening. When it was time to leave, I saw her heading towards her dad’s car who was picking her up. I was going to spin her around and we would passionately kiss and fall in love, and then I would trot off onto the football field with my fist in the air. But that’s not exactly how it worked, I ran up to her turned her around and leaned in for the kiss. She ended up leaning away and slapping me, also I learned you shouldn’t kiss a girl in front of her father especially if he’s a bodybuilder. I ended running for my life across the parking lot. This is when I learned it didn’t work out because her dad was there, and parents get in the way of love, that’s when I knew college is where I would finally meet the love of my life. 


 The third time I fell in love did occur in college. We had freshman seminar together and she actually seemed interested in me. We ended up spending the next couple weeks always hanging out, it was going great she called me sweetie and she even kissed me on the cheek goodbye once… along with a couple other people that were with us too … but I was first. I knew this would finally work, we were the same age and there were no parents around. So, I planned another grand romantic gesture. I took the riding lawn mower from the grounds building and drove it over to her dorm with my boom-box. I planned on standing outside of her dorm window with my stereo playing “In your eyes” by Peter Gabriel. She would hear the music and look out and see me, and she would run into my arms and we would ride off. Then I would finally have my first girlfriend. Well, I did get her attention with the music, along with the entire dorm building. Everyone was watching me but I didn’t care. Then the guys living above her nailed me with a water balloon, filled with what I hope was water, and then yelled “Gay!” Then the entire building began laughing at me, she was so embarrassed that she never talked to me again. This is where I learned that only adults appreciate romanticism and I would have better luck once I was out of school. 


Years later after college I fell in love again for the fourth time. We met at a dive bar in a rougher part of the city. When I first saw her, she was dressed very racy and revealed a lot of skin. I was too nervous to approach her, but my luck she came to me. She was very confident and controlled most of the conversation. We didn’t talk for long until she wanted me to leave with her. We ended up going back to my apartment where I planned on seducing her, but she bypassed all what she called “bullshit” and went straight for the bed room. Later that night I could no longer call myself a virgin, but you could call me Don Juan. When we were finished, she was getting ready to leave and began asking me for money. I thought it was for cab fare or something but it happened that she was a prostitute. I was a little shocked, but being a gentleman, I paid her. Days went bye and I could not stop thinking about her, I knew what we had was special, and I had to have her. I planned on going back to the street where she always stayed and I would take her away from all of this. I knew she was just waiting for the right guy to take her away from that life, and would live together forever. But when I went down to the street, she kept telling me I needed more money, and when I told her my plan, she called me crazy and then her pimp came over. Apparently, he didn’t like my plan either, and he began beating me relentlessly. 


Now I’m lying in a hospital bed with the battle scars of love, but it’s not all bad because I have a cute nurse who is playing hard to get. She says she has a boyfriend, but I know there’s a chance. Why else would she bring me an extra pudding cup with lunch? I guess love is just a funny thing.


Kyle Hilsey is a poet and playwright from Delaware County, PA. With his previous works appearing in New Reader Magazine, Two Sentence Horror Stories, Digital Dealer Conference, and The Tri-State Theatre Festival. He hides his love of poetry and prose behind skull tattoos and pinups, and appreciates the written word for masking his "delco" accent. He is currently in the works of completing his first chapbook, “Written Jukebox”.

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