Where You Go'in With My Heart in Your Hand?

I got really into Jimi Hendrix in 7th grade, but only because the boy I was madly in love with got really into Jimi Hendrix in 8th grade and he was a year older than me. His sister was my best friend and whenever I was at their house and he wasn't home I'd go into his room, smell his bed sheets and peek inside his underwear drawer like a good teen-stalker-lover

One day he had a new poster on his wall. It was the poster every teenage boy who played guitar had on his wall that year-- the one of Jimi Hendrix setting fire to his guitar like some kind of devil man, his long fingers delicately raised. His face snarling.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience CD lay open. I memorized the cover and the next day after school went and bought myself a copy. Days later, I knocked on my best friend's door, after school. Her brother answered.

"She's not home," he said before pausing. "But you can come in if you'd like..."

I stepped inside, nervously.

"I was practicing something on my guitar," he said.

"Know any Jimi Hendrix?" I asked, hopeful.

"Of course! What do you want to hear?"

"What can you play?"

"I can play Hey Joe."

"Yeah, okay. That's my favorite one!"

And so he played it for me. And I watched with my heart in my throat. He was so cool. So old. And so-so totally cute ohmigawd. I swayed to the music as he repeatedly botched his chords.

"Hold on. I know this. I know this..." he said.

I didn't want the song to end. I was happy to watch him figure it out as he went. I would have sat there forever even. He probably figured as much. I hadn't blinked in minutes.

He finished the song and offered me a coke. But when he came back to the couch where I sat waiting, his hands were empty.

Instead, he kind of half-smiled before jumping on top of me and sticking is tongue down my throat. I accepted and reciprocated, no clue what I was doing. And all through my head I kept thinking, Oh my God. This is my first kiss. This is my first kiss. This is it... This is weird. Kissing is slimy... I'm being kissed!

What's crazy is that I still remember how he tasted. The slimy feel of his tongue and how after a few minutes I got the hang of it. Of kissing, which was so much messier than I thought it would be. And even perhaps more clearly, I remember how I apologized for having no boobs when he tried to feel me up and how he said "it's okay, Becca. I don't care" and how I though that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever said to me.

I also remember the date: November 9th, 1993. I was twelve years old.

That week we made out every day after school, but he refused to let me call him my boyfriend. He wanted nothing to do with my at school either, once going so far as to push me in front of his friends.

I was crushed. Even more crushed when I realized I had to call off our make out sessions. It wasn't fair the way he was treating me the way he was at school and I knew it. But I sooooo didn't want it to end. I wanted to be next to him so bad it hurt! Even if it meant him ignoring me in front of his friends.

I cried myself to sleep for days, weeks... maybe even years. I played Hey Joe on repeat, occasionally, camping out in the bushes outside his garage, listening as he mastered a song that felt like ours.

"Where you goi'in with my heart in your hand..?" I wrote in a poem I slaved over for weeks after our make-out gone bad. I put it on his pillow and prayed he would come to his senses. Or at the very least, write me back. He never did. Instead he passed around the poem and everyone made fun of me.

It took me a good decade before I finally learned the hazards of giving the boys who broke me love-letters. And even now, hearing Hey Joe, I get this pang in my stomach. The same pang I felt at twelve-years-old, the first time I'd ever felt that kind of love. The first time I ever had a song to remind me of how pathetic I thought I was. And even now, listening to the song, there's a teenage girl inside me, still, who wonders if maybe she was right.


This post has been brought to you by Catherine and Tracey's Flashback Friday. For other flashbacks click these lovely links:

Oh the Joys
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Mom101 | 11:36 AM

Oh, Bec this is so beautifully told, not surprisingly in the least. What is it about girls that we allow boys be so careless with our hearts?

And you have the best looking Junior high photo I've ever seen. That guy was an ass in more ways than one.

Anonymous | 11:44 AM

Ditto to what Mom 101 said. I was holding out for a good ending to that story there. But, like most 12 year old feeling up stories, they never end really WELL. But clearly he was a bigger ass for knowing better. ppfft

Anonymous | 12:13 PM

I have a teenage heartbreak story set to Hey Joe too! My parents were serious hippies and so our summers were spent at this folk music festival in Kerrville, Texas. There was this guy named Dan who would come every year from Pittsburgh. He had long, long hair in tight curls. We made out exclusively one summer. We would wait until the music was over for the night, and then we'd sneak into one of the empty vendor's booths and make out furiously. I thought it was so hot that he played guitar, and he would always play Hey Joe for me. When the festival was over one year we said our goodbyes and promised to write each other. I would spend hours writing him letters, editing them to make sure they were just right. He never wrote back, but I still looked forward to sparking up our fling when the next summer rolled around. But, when the next folk fest came, he brought his girlfriend! All the way from Pittsburgh! And it turned out that they had been together for years, so I had helped him cheat on his girlfriend the year before and I didn't even know it! I was crushed. I became close friends with her just so I could torture him and be close to him at the same time. I finally confronted him at the very end of the festival that year and we ended up talking forever for the last time ever and, of course, he played Hey Joe for me one last time. Ahh, teenage love!

OhTheJoys | 12:24 PM

There's something universal about this story... your experience.

Hendrix accompanied some firsts for me too, but they were more... uh... what is the right word... trippy?


Don Mills Diva | 1:21 PM

I think we all have a story like that - I LOVED this post.

Anonymous | 1:50 PM

Oh, that pang. I won't even allow myself to listen to a few songs solely because of that pang.

KaritaG | 2:20 PM

Music is so powerful...

I have numerous songs that (like whoorl) I can't even stand to listen to anymore, though I once loved them - just because of the feelings they bring up.

Aren't the parts of your brain dedicated to smell and hearing like, right next to your memory center or something?! I swear I remember this from college psych.

Anonymous | 2:33 PM

At least your memory is set to a good soundtrack. Mine? Yeah, my heart was broken to Take My Breath Away.

Anonymous | 3:46 PM

awww sweet story! last year for our preschool graduation performance i had the three year olds sing Fire by Hendrix. it was the best graduation ever!!

as for songs many remind me of different times- alanis You Oughtta Know reminds me of cleaning out the cabinets in my first apt. Fiona Apple reminds me of when i lived in Florida as a single mom. best time of my life!! thanks for sharing ~jjlibra

Janice @ Mom On The Run | 5:57 PM

Geat post - whatever happened to that boy?

Anonymous | 8:35 PM

just noticed...you didn't take hal's last name? ~jjlibra


Nope. I've always been a Woolf. It's a little weird to have a different last name than Archer... but my name was always sort of my identity. It just didn't feel right for me. At least archer has *some* anonymity... At least where google is concerned.


P.S. Heather, thats crAZY that you have a Hey Joe moment, too!

Oh and as for the boy. We became friends. We grew up together so we always kind of kept in touch, although, it's been a good five or six years since I've seen him.

Anonymous | 11:32 PM

When I was 12 I was building a tree house and riding horses with my cousins. I started modeling when I was 16 and I travelled all over the world. I still didn't have a serious boyfriend until I was in college. I'm so glad I got to enjoy my childhood without feeling pressured to grow up too fast.

Kelly | 10:58 AM

So lovely, the words and the music.

Anonymous | 1:07 PM

i know what you mean about the last name thing- i took my ex-asshole's last name and it never seemed right. even when i was madly in love it just wasn't me. can't wait to change it back!! i'm like tina turner- i just want my name.~jjlibra

caramama | 8:02 PM

Ah, heartbreak to Hendrix. That just sucks. Thanks for sharing your story, though. As always, it was wonderfully written. And brought me back to my own Jordan Catalano moments...

halloweenlover | 9:24 PM

I can totally remember that pain. Heartbreaking, really. I don't know how I'm going to stand seeing my kids get through the middle and high school years!

Anonymous | 8:51 AM

*tear* Oh, I think every girl can relate in such a raw way to this story. Thanks for sharing it - and in such a beautiful way. It was really touching. I have to echo halloweenlover and say that I am so apprehensive (and a little sad) to know it's coming and to have to watch my two little girls go through it. I guess we all do, but it's so hard. Boys just don't know. They just don't.

Maternal Mirth | 10:49 AM

That was so-so-so ... I don't know ... let's just say it's relatable. I am so glad kissing got better :)

kittenpie | 5:10 PM

12? That boy was a jerk. You sure he's not that gyn you were seeing?

Daisy | 5:45 PM

Your post title sounded like a country song at first. But Jimi Hendrix? He'd probably make it rock.

Anonymous | 10:35 PM

Your story isn't just for the girls. I can hardly hear "November Rain" or "Tears in Heaven" without thinking about the girl in 9th grade whom I was frustratingly in love with and who seemed to despise me. Once every couple of months, at a dance, I would pluck up the courage to ask her out on the floor with me, thinking that this time she would say yes, just because that's the narrative of high school on tv. But she never did, and it broke my heart to see her every day knowing she couldn't stand me.

This is why I love Facebook. 15 years later I'm back in touch with her and she apologized for acting in such a terrible way back then. It was like having a time machine to high school and being able to unchoose those choices I made that left me feeling like a miserable loser.

Excellent story.

BTW, I just found your blog via Cynical Dad and I love it. Nice work.


Thanks for reading, backpacking dad, and for sharing your story. Glad you did as I know dudes go through equally as heartbreaking moments. Teenage girls can be just as ruthless as teenage boys at that age.

Unknown | 1:54 PM

Dude...it's too bad you don't have a YA novel out because you could so totally submit this as a CosmoGIRL firsts. (I'm working on my own pitch for one right now, with an equally/surprisingly bad first make-out kiss...!) XOXO