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Today I thought about someone and realized that this is something that I've been so embarrassed of that I don't know that I've ever shared it with anyone.

Back when I was 13, before I had fully grasped the concept of homosexuality, before obsessions, and before I could properly understand how my actions would affect others, I found myself online.

Online and in some chat room, lord knows what I was talking about, though a good guess is horses. I WAS 13 after all. This is in the window of time between meeting with Sarah and prior to falling head over heels. Knowing I wasn't interested in dating boys, and that I was hungry for a girls attention was the base for what I was doing. I met a girl, named Liliana and we got to know each other. Accidentally, actually, I truly didn't mean to deceive but with the nickname of 'Patch' it was very easy for her to assume I was a boy and I just never corrected her, she also thought I was her age. Otherwise I said what I would normally say, I spoke about what I did, and we got to know each other except for this small deception. She was 17, she lived in New York in the Catskills and she was funny. This was before digital pictures were common so we never shared pictures of each other.

Months we spoke for long hours, such long hours that my Mom declared the internet an obsession (not incorrectly) and took my computer from me, or rather she took my keyboard because she couldn't be bothered to take the whole mess. In a wild effort to contact her I went online and used my mouse to copy and paste the letters I needed to explain to her what had gone on and gave her my address.

Thus we became pen pals.

My new Obsession was to mow the yard. Every afternoon I spent in my front yard mowing grass that didn't need to be mowed so I could watch for the post man to arrive at the Box at the end of the street and put in the mail. My Mom certainly wouldn't understand why I was getting letters from a girl named Liliana in New York.
For months while my Mom kept my keyboard we sent letters back and forth. Wonderful, lovely letters! Letters that smelled like warmth and sweetness. A few were Sealed with a kiss.
I saved these letters, in a small tin that I kept in my closet.

Eventually my mom decided I could have my computer back, I think the days of me being in the front yard with the lawn mower made her think I had overcome the problem. Incidentally I hadn't. I had actually spent the night at one of my brothers friends house, even though I didn't like the boys sister who was my age just to use the internet. I secretly created a username and password on their computer then at home would use their internet subscription to get online myself for short periods of time, around 2-3 in the morning when I knew everyone was asleep and that the loud drill of the dial tone would be less likely to wake anyone. For years the sound of the dial tone connecting was one of the sweetest sounds in the world for me.

At some point I started to feel really guilty because I really liked this girl. Late one night, somewhere around 3 in the morning I broke down and told her there was something I needed to tell her. I hesitated and she teased me lightly, back and forth for a few minutes before she jokingly said "What do you have to say? That you're a 12 year old girl?"
I almost choked. My response was a sickening, ".. well not 12.."
And then everything fell to pieces. She was upset, and rightly so. She berated me for lying, for causing her all this pain and I all could do was cry and apologize. I didn't know how I could possibly explain myself, because I wasn't even sure WHY I had deceived her the way I had. This was my first experience with acting on my feelings for another girl, feelings that at I really didn't even understand, though I did it in one of the most wrong ways possible.
There was no explaining it, and after an hour of this she signed off. We only spoke once or twice after that, me pleading for her forgiveness and her stiffly refusing and repeating that I had crushed her.

To this day when I think about her I feel an awful wave of guilt. It wasn't until just recently that I got rid of the wonderful letters that she sent me, they still smelled lovely. I had dreams of going to New York and going to her house, meeting her at the door with a boutique of roses and saying "I'm Patch, I've waited so long to meet you" but knowing I didn't look the part would certainly have ruined how good I wanted this meeting to be.

This was a learning experience that shaped my life.

During this time I had reconnected with Sarah and we were getting to know each other but rather than playing the boy card I stuck with my true self. I'm very happy and lucky I did, if I had lied the same way to Sarah it would have drastically changed my life and I would have missed out on knowing a fantastic person.

It's important to learn from your mistakes. I'm so glad I did.


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August 2017

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