I was a make-out whore for a good portion of my life. When I was younger, I had it in my head that if you wanted to kiss someone, then you should. That simple. It didn’t matter if they had a girlfriend or if it would complicate our friendship or if it was pointless because it was just some random person and I knew that it wouldn’t amount to anything. Those factors didn’t matter to me back then because I was very much living in the moment and kind of a free spirit (as fucking lame as that sounds, good lord). If right then, it felt right, then it was right. Due to this naive thought process, I’ve kissed a lot of boys in my past, but unfortunately, Frankie is not one of them. I’ve calmed down on my love affair with the world since those days by the way.
Before I get to my main point, I’d like to note that one of my favorite things about being an adult is that I no longer want other peoples boyfriends and have also found that it is completely possible to have good guy friends who are just friends. That was hard during high school and college when I didn’t give a shit if the boy I had a crush on had a girlfriend, and didn’t give a shit if kissing him now would lead to complications tomorrow. I would still pursue him. That’s called being an asshole. Now, if I know that a guy is in a relationship, I don’t even a little bit think of him as an option; I immediately lose romantic interest. It feels great. It basically eliminates most of my male peers, so I’ve got less to try to juggle and manage.
I have very few regrets in life. My main regret is that I stopped dancing, and another one is that I never kissed Frankie. I’m morbid and weird and don’t have as much sympathy for the dead as most people do. So what I am about to say, I’m not saying because he is dead and we tend to over romanticize the dead, I am saying it because it is true… Frankie felt innocent.
There is a brilliant one act play by Tennessee Williams called “Mister Paradise.” A young, enthusiastic girl finds an old, washed up writer that no one ever cared about, and wants to show him to the world. At the end, she is leaving after their first and last meeting and says, “Won’t you kiss me goodbye?” Mister Paradise says no, and when she asks why he says, “For the same reason I wouldn’t touch a clean white table cloth with mud all over my fingers.”
It’s brilliant. I think that’s why I never kissed Frankie. There were times when I wanted to, but I refrained because he was the clean white table cloth and I was the one with mud all over my fingers. I still really miss him and I wish that he was around so that we could make giant bowls of macaroni and cheese with hotdogs and then listen to punk rock music on the floor of my bedroom together.
There were so many completely forgettable guys that I wasted kisses on, and I wish that I could turn all of those in like the tickets at an arcade, and exchange them for just one kiss with Frankie. Why is it that we often end up NOT kissing or sleeping with the people that actually matter, and instead, end up on top of Joe Shmoe?
I went to high school with Frankie. He was a grade below me and died a couple of years after he had graduated high school. I should remember the exact date, but I don’t. It was sometime around Thanksgiving of what I am guessing was 2007, but I could be wrong. Sometimes I feel like a jerk for not remembering the exact date, but then the cold wind blows and I remember that the date doesn’t matter.
Cody was the one who told me. I was away at college and got a phone call from Cody just as I was about to walk into my Lighting and Field class in Savannah, Georgia; 400 miles away from him and Frankie. Ironically, I’ll never forget when Cody said, “Do you remember Frankie?” I kind of laughed and was insulted and said, “Frankie Bentley? Yeah, of course I do.” I drove him home from school everyday and he was my date to one of my senior high school dances and we got together almost every time that I was in town, so of course I know Frankie, you dick. As I stood in the hallway, Cody went on to tell me that Frankie had been killed. He was hit by a car while on his bicycle, riding to the beach.
That night, I had work. I always rode my bike to work, and on this particular night, it was cold and I didn’t bring a jacket. Being a Floridian, I had been a pussy about cold weather my whole life. Frankie is what changed me. I rode home that night, and I was freezing but I remember thinking something like, Frankie went through death, so you can at least get through the cold. And I did. That has always stuck with me. I have worked a lot during winter tours up in Canada, so I know what it is like to be in REAL cold, not Florida cold. Anytime I am about to think, shit, I am cold, I just think about Frankie. It’s a weird association, I know. But whatever fucked up psychological reason it is, it helps me. It reminds me that being cold is nothing. All it does is make you cold and other people are taking on a lot worse. At least you’re alive to feel it.
I’m currently up North, and sitting outside right now and the cold wind is starting to penetrate my jacket. The wind is what kills me. But tonight, I’m embracing the wind. It kind of feels like Frankie is in my bones. I think if souls turned into elements, Frankie would be wind.