Marty Romero

The boy who loved me

Sometimes I follow a trail of videos on YouTube and find one that takes me back to times or events in my past that I had all but forgotten. This video reminded me of an episode from high school that makes me sad.

He was in love with me

When I was seventeen, a boy from our rival high school asked Will—our drum major—to pass on a message to me. It was a short message

“Marty, I am in love with you. If you feel the same way too, please let me know.”

Will showed up at my house one night and asked to speak with me. He told me “…If you two are in love I will help bring you two together. I will pick you both up and you guys can make out, hold hands, or what ever and I won’t be grossed out.”

I was surprised by the message, and by how serious Will described Ricky’s feelings for me. He told me that Ricky spent hours on the phone with him describing the torture of being in love with me without a way to know if I felt the same way.

I liked Ricky. We had become friends during our many meet-ups at band competitions. Our high schools were the only two from East L.A. competing against schools from the valley and from out of state. Although we should have been rivals, we felt a camaraderie when we were away from home.

After Will’s visit, and after learning how Ricky felt about me and the conversations that he and Will had about me, It became awkward for me to talk or joke around with Ricky as before. I went out of my way to avoid being alone with him, and even in groups I pretended to shift my attention to something else when Ricky joined us.

I shared my experience with a handful of my friends (mutual friends of Ricky) that I trusted, but I did so with a humiliating tone. I shared it as I would share a scandalous story. It was nothing more than gossip about Ricky, about my friend. To this day I don’t know if Ricky ever found out that I shared his private conversations with Will or his feelings for me.

With time, Ricky and I stopped being friends. Our friendship just wilted away died. I feel embarrassed about how I reacted the night that Will showed up at my house to pass on Ricky’s message. “Tell him that I am NOT gay!” I demanded, and bolted out of his car. I felt offended and even violated in a way. Neither he (Will) or Ricky ever brought up the topic again, but I wish that had been kinder. I wish that had been loving in the same way that the kids in the video above are to each other.

I don’t know what became of Ricky (or Will), but I hope that he was able to find a loving partner and a happy life.

When I wrote this, I was listening to this song :

This is the song that was playing on the radio when I bolted out of Will’s 1992 Honda Civic Hatchback.

Jose Romero