Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Caleb Portfolio
Southington, CT
Email Caleb



I was born on October 31st, 1982. My mom hoped that I wouldn't be born on Halloween, afraid I'd either be teased or turn out to be the spawn of Satan. The nurses were dressed up like clowns, and I was born as Caleb Dan Portfolio. Luckily my parents didn't decide to name me after my grandfather, Donaldo. I much prefer Caleb, even though it seems like most people don't know how to pronounce it. Like most people, I don't remember a lot from my childhood, just little details here and there. Home movies prove I actually was the spawn of Satan. One Christmas I yelled at my mom for getting me presents I didn't want. I was always tall, so that usually made me feel awkward at school. I had to repeat nursery school, because I couldn't get down the basics. Kindergarten was rough. I think the fact that I'm left handed made it hard for the teachers to show me how to do things, because it wasn't until 1st grade that I actually figured out how to hold a pencil right.
I cracked my head three times while growing up. I still have the scars. The first time I was running around the house and smacked my head on the fire place. The second time I thought I was going to die, because I was riding my bike down the hill in my back yard, slammed the brakes down, flipped my bike over and hit my head. The ambulance brought me to the hospital that time. Third time was running around the house again, but I hit the banister that time. Will I was still sleeping in a crib next to my parents room, I woke up in the middle of night with poop in my diaper. I make believed it was a tail. I used to have long blond hair, but it turned brown by the time I was in elementary school. My mom used to worry that I would be the trouble maker in class. She thought that I would be the stupid one, always having to go to the principles office and getting detention. After 1st grade she couldn't have been farther from the truth. I maintained straight A's, and in second grade I won the young authors award for my story about three silly raccoons named Loop, Balloon, and Spoon.
I think my first love/crush was Lynn O. Because her last name began with an O, and mine with a P, we always sat next too each other in every grade. We were both the smart teachers pets in the class, which most likely was part of the attraction. One time she fell out of a tree and broke her arm or leg. My mom drove me to her house and I gave her flowers.
Because I was such a genius, I was accepted into the Gifted and Talented program. I had a lot of fun there. Every Wednesday a bus picked me and a couple of other kids in my grade and drove us to a different school. We spent all day there with kids from other schools. We worked on projects like were we have to make our own city. We made container to drop eggs safely out a window. My favorite was when we made commercials and filmed our own game show. However, it was around this time when bullies started making me feel insecure. One in particular always said he couldn't tell if I was a boy or a girl. I'm not sure if it bothered me much at first, but something else happened to reinforce it. One time we had to write a poem about what we did on Christmas. Like always, I waited to the last minute to do mine, but in the end it came out really good, and I was chosen to read mine on a local radio station. I felt honored and lucky, but afterwards, when we got back to school, all the kids got trophies. The girls got a female with wings, and the boys god a male with a wreath on his head. I got one of the girl trophies.
I used to freak out about my grades. It got to the point where I would cry if I got anything below an A-. I don't know how I got to be that way. I still try hard to get good grades, but I grew out of the crying and upset thing. We once had an assembly about the effects of smoking and drinking. We all had the choice to make a promise that we would never smoke. I made the promise, and have stuck to it. This was, even though it was very early on, perhaps the first point in my life I decided I would be straightedge. I've never smoked, never had more than a sip of beer or wine from my dad, and never have done any drugs. I've been tempted all throughout my school years, but I never had a hard time saying no. It's strange that I have such strength when it comes to that, but complete weakness when it comes to other things.
Elementary school ended, and I cried. With good reason too. I had great teachers, and was friends with almost everyone in my class. My dad lost his job and my mom had to start working. Middle school started and all of a sudden I became a loser with crappy teachers. I started wearing black and mopped around all the time. Hardly ever smiled and didn't talk much. I walked slow, started listening to heavy metal and drew gruesome pictures of tortured people. I obtained the nickname "Killer", to which I was somewhat proud of at the time, but now I find it disturbing. Details of this hellish 3 years I seemed to have blanked out, but I do have a few memories. Manda was my second love/crush. Lynn and I sort of parted ways. She back popular, I became a loser. So, with Manda, I though I actually might get a real girlfriend. She was nice, actually gave me the time of day, and actually made me laugh. She gave me her phone number in my yearbook, which made me think she wanted me to call her and ask her out. I, after GREAT hesitation, finally got up the nerve to call her. I asked her if she wanted to go see Face/Off at the movies…… but she had to "babysit". Yeah, right. Oh well, wouldn't be the last time my heart would be broken.
Strangely enough I became friends with Adam, the school troublemaker who smoked and drank. He always tried to get me to do "bad" stuff, but I never would. He did do one good thing though. He stuck up for me once, when I was being accused of throwing food during lunch. I wasn't, and neither was he, but he said that he did it. He took the blame and got detention for it. I gained a lot of respect for him then. He was also one of the few people who could make me laugh.
Spanish classes were a joke, I learned nothing but how to cheat on tests. I was seated in the back, and out of boredom I would start to draw on the back of desks. Eventually I just started to color them in all black with my ballpoint pen. They had wooden backs, and within a few days, I was able to color the whole thing in. My friend Jon helped me rearrange the desks so I could color in a new one when I was done. It was Jon who first got me started listening to Ozzy Osbourne, which becomes significant in Spanish class in high school.
My parents finally decided to buy a coffee business. It was scary, but they ran it, and still run it together. My mom sells antiques there, my dad does the roasting. I started working there when I was 15, and still work there today. I think, after I first started working there, I came out of my shell. I couldn't be quiet and mad when dealing with the customers. The kid training me, Zach, helped me have a good time. At first I hated telling customers to have a "good day" because I didn't mean it. Now I do. My transition into high school was scary, at first, but in time, I came into my own. I started wearing Hawaiian shirts instead of black, and I became known as "the funny kid" instead of "killer". The biggest highlight of freshman year was Emily. My first true love.
I've told this story over and over again. Spanish class, I sat in the middle of the room. One day I noticed a "Wu-Tang Clan" symbol on my desk. For those who don't know, the Wu Tang Clan is a rap group. I crossed it out, and wrote "Ozzy Rules" next to it. Writing on desks was nothing really new to me, so I didn't think it was that big a deal. However, the very next day, in girls handwriting I noticed someone write, "Hell YEAH!" Woah, someone else out there liked Ozzy… and it was a girl! I was a little excited, and already my imagination began to run wild. I'm a hopeless romantic, so I usually read a lot into little things like that. I told my best friend Devlin about it. I decided that maybe I could keep a correspondence with this mystery girl. We filled up a big chunk of the desk writing back and forth. I asked about who she was, but we didn't write names in fear that we would get caught by teachers. So my nickname was Ironman, and hers was Ironmaiden. Of course I asked her stuff like if she smoked, and she didn't. She liked the same type of music as I did, and it seemed if we ever met, we would get along really well.
Around this time the local Apple Harvest Festivle had started downtown. I lived right down the street from it, so Devlin and I decided to go hang out one night. We bought applefritters, but got there as many of the people were leaving and cleaning up. We sat on the steps of the church in the center of town, just watching people and talking. We saw a kid we knew, Joe, walking with another boy and girl, so we called them over to sit with us. Right then I was drawn to the girl. We exchanged looks and smiles that night. We talked about how weird mine and Devlin's names were, as we were introduced to the boy (Tom) and the girl (Emily) that we didn't know. I was very attracted to Emily, but the time came when their ride came to pick them up. They left, and I was walking on clouds the way home.
The desk conversations continued, and I felt like I really wanted to meet this girl. She wanted to meet me too she said, so I asked her for her number. Understandably she wouldn't it write it on the desk so everyone would call her. So I took a chance and wrote my phone down for her to call me. I went home and had butterflies in my stomach, anticipating her call. The phone rang, and I grabbed it. "I know this might sound weird, but is Ironman there?" she asked. I laughed, told her my real name. She said it sounded familiar. It turns out that she was the girl I sat on the steps with! It was too big a coinincedence. We talked for a while, a little awkward at first, but we talked about music and movies. When she had to go, she gave me her number and said to give her a call sometime. I called her the next day to her surprise. I was already falling for her.
We talked on the phone everyday after school. We found we had more and more in common, as we spent hours just talking. I found out one bad thing about her though. She had a boyfriend. It was Tom, the guy with her at the Apple Harvest Festival. Needless to say I was very disappointed. However, it didn't stop my growing feelings for her. I would take out the frustration I had over not being with her on baseballs I hit in my back yard. She didn't know how I felt. She just thought we were friends. I decorated her locker on Valentines day. Covered it with pictures of Brad Pitt and Ozzy. Gave her a little bag of goodies. Her boyfriend just gave her a card. I was hoping I might out do him. Hoping that after one of their fights, she would fall into my arms and not want to let go. I thought my chance had come finally when she said they had a fight so bad she thought she was going to break up with him. I hoped and hoped she would so I could have her. The next week, she wasn't in school on Monday. I called her at home to check up on her. I thought she was sick. She was fine, she just skipped school. I was a little shocked, because I didn't think she would do something like that. She said if I was so surprised at that, then maybe she shouldn't tell me what she did on her day off. I knew what was coming. I could feel it in my heart and soul, my stomach churned with the dread of what was to come. I told her she could tell me anything. She remained silent for what seemed an eternity. She had sex with her boyfriend. I was heartbroken. I was more than heartbroken. It was like I had the shit kicked out of me, and the very person I was in love with, just told me she hated my guts. I couldn't say a word. She asked if I was still there. She wanted to know what I thought. I wouldn't answer. All happiness disappeared and I snunk into a deep depression. I told her I had to go. I laid in bed, and listened to depressing Pink Floyd music. I was miserable, and she didn't know why. She didn't understand my reaction. I didn't talk to her the next day. Instead I wrote her a long note. I started off, with my shock at her decision to lose her virginity to a guy I didn't believe she was in love with. At the time, I was against sex before marriage, so I told her I was upset about that to. If that was all I felt, I would have gotten over it in time. But, I also confessed my feelings for her. Told her I was in love with her. I told her that she was all I thought about and that we were meant to be. I told her how heartbroken I was a didn't know what to do with myself. I went on and on about how she meant everything to me.
She responded with a note of her own. I don't think I knew what to expect. But I found out that she only thought of us as friends, and that we could never be more. I don't remember the rest. We didn't talk again for 3 months.
I was depressed again. It took a lot to start to get over her. I cried at least once a day. Went back to not talking, not smiling. But it seemed like things were almost getting back to normal, when 3 months later I saw her at my locker, with a note. She handed it to me and left without saying a word. The note said that she missed me. She couldn't stand what happened between us, and hated that whenever we passed each other in the hall, we ignored each other. She just wanted me to say "Hey". The next day in the hall I went up to her and said "hey".
It took a while, but things went back to normal with us. Actually, within time, things seemed better between us, like we got closer. Summer came along and of course she broke up with her stupid boyfriend. We were spending more and more time with each other, and stupid me, I started falling for her all over again. One day I surprised her at her softball game. She always liked it when I did that. She had a little present for me, it was a photo of Ozzy and Randy Rhodes. We made plans to go to the movies, I chose to go see Mulan, because I knew she loved Disney movies. That night was perfect. She was wearing a Hawaiian shirt that matched mine. In the ticket line, I whipped out a 20 to pay for both of us while she was looking for money in her purse. In exchange, she bought me popcorn and soda. The movie was alright, I remember more about her than what happened in the movie. When it was over, we waited for my dad to pick us up. The one really considerate, thoughtful thing my dad has done, was to take his time while picking us up. We walked around the movie while waiting for him, and we sung songs to each other. We went back to my house and played pool in my basement. She wasn't much good at it, so I helped her. I stood behind her and helped her line up her shots. I was being pretty smooth that night. We listened to some Ozzy and just had a good time. A few days later she called me, and said she wrote me a note and wasn't sure if she should give it to me or not. Hmm…. What could she have possibly written that she wouldn't want me to read? The stupid romantic part of me was working up again, and I thought she was going to tell me she had feelings for me. So it took a lot of convincing and nagging for her to give me that note. I remember one day she came over to watch some movies with me and Devlin, and there was a lump in one of the movie books she brought over… looked like there might be a note in there. I was excited. That day sucked though, three was a crowd. Devlin kept getting in the way, and I got pissed at him for it. She didn't give me the note that day. It was a few weeks later, when I went over to help her mom move furniture and watch a movie with Emily. She gave it to me as I left. Her parents drove me home. I ran inside the house, up into my room and closed the door. The note was poetic. She took her time with her. She put stickers on it. She had feelings for me! She wrote that she knew she said we could never be more… but the saying goes, never say never. She wanted to know what it would like to kiss me, to see how magical it might be. I was thrilled, and I called her right then and there and told her I still felt the same way about her. Things were finally going my way. Or so I thought. I never did get to kiss her.
The 4th of July was a few days away and she invited me to a party she was having with her family. It was also her brothers birthday, so I brought him a present, and also one for Emily. I was pretty much ignored the whole day, and spent most of it playing badminton with kids I didn't know, and sitting alone at the picnic table. I left early, with barely a goodbye from Emily. I had no idea what was going on. She called me later that night, and gave me a sad ass apology, and for some reason told me her friends hated me and blah blah blah. She got off the phone quickly. I was puzzled and frustrated with her sudden mood swing, and didn't know what to make of it… I called her the next week, she said she couldn't talk, but she would call me back. She never did, and she didn't speak to me for a year and half after that. Heart break again.
I never knew what really was her motivation behind all of that. But there I was again, even worse depression, and it took longer to get over it this time.
Sophomore year was awkward when I saw her in the halls. I was, through the help of Devlin, very slowly moving on. I started not to think about her anymore. Funny, because it seemed like the moment I felt over her, another girl walked into my life from nowhere. Julie was in my art class. I thought she was cute, but never felt compelled to actually talk to her, until one day when we both got to class early. We had to make a folder for our projects, so I was decorating mine with a Black Sabbath album cover I bought (Ozzy again!). I was telling her that the album itself sucked, but the cover was cool. We got into some small talk, and she moved her seat next to me. We got along great, and became friends right away. She too helped me get over Emily. We decided to join the writers club together, but the meetings were very unorganized, so we went for walks instead. One day we walked around the school, and sat at a picnic bench. We got to talking, and we shared the longest hug ever. It was after that, that I got my first kiss ever. It was incredibly intense, and I hoped I was doing it right. She assured me I was. The was a baseball nearby, so we picked it up, and signed our names to it with the date. I kept it for a long time, but then I gave it to her. I wonder if she still has it. Our first "date" was to the mall a few days later. We went for massages in the chairs at the Sharper Image, then for pizza at Pizzeria Uno. I bought a Lynard Skynard, and Creedance Clearwater Revial cd, and we went to sit in a little secluded area, where we had our first semi make out session. It was the second time we kissed, and my first time with tongue. Her dad picked us up, and we sat in the back holding hands, and sneaking kisses. I loved her.
I'm looking back at what I've written, and I see I've written more about these girls than anything else. I guess love and romance is so important to me, everything else seems less important. Which makes me wonder, because as of right now I don't have anyone romantic in my life. But we'll get to that.
I shared many experiences with Julie, she was just about my first with everything. I'm looking back at it now having some trouble remembering some things though. I don't know if it is because I'm tired, or because I'm now trying to get over her, and don't think about her as much. I think we were together for about 3 months before we broke up. Well, I broke up with her. And I don't truly remember why. I was going through a stressful time, and I think she was being a little overbearing, so I felt it would be easier to break things off. It was a hard thing to do, but we stayed friends. She started spending time with this stupid jerk Rooz, who got caught selling knives in school and was expelled. I'll never know what possessed her to get involved with him. He was Iranian, and had certain beliefs, and they had arguments, but she loved him. I took a psychology class at a community college that summer with Devlin. They played the cheesiest movies sometimes. It was hilarious. We were hypnotized, which was very relaxing. We were supposed to think about a happy moment in our lives, and I thought about that night at the movies with Emily. That summer I also went to Europe. Two weeks in England France and Switzerland. Possibly one of the best times of my life. Despite the lack of sleep, and all the kids getting drunk everynight except me, it was an incredible experience. I think my favorite moments were running up the Eiffel tower with my new trenchcoat I bought in Paris, and going for a walk by myself through the beautiful fields in Switzerland. I got homesick though.
I forget when things started up with Julie again. But I do remember us on my couch, sharing another amazing first kiss. Junior year was when I started taking photography classes. I had already developed an interest in photography, but wanted to get better. If it wasn't for that class and my teacher Ms. J, I wouldn't be going to art school now, and majoring in photography. When Julie and I got back together, it was great. When things were good between us, they were great.
I started working another job at an old folks home down the street from my house. I worked there for a year and a half, and it was a great experience. And a horrible experience. I worked as a waiter, and after a while was damn good at it. The old people loved me, and I grew to like most of them. But there were some, who no matter how you tried, would always be cruel and nasty to you. I never really held it against them. Worse than that though were some of the people I worked with. They were either lazy, or bossy, and most nights I felt like I was the one carrying all the weight. The thing I got out of it was the interaction with the old people there. I never knew any of my grandparents, and never really had contact with the older generation. It was valuable. I miss that. After I quit, I went back some to visit, but once I started college I got really busy. I'm afraid to visit now, because I don't want to find out who has died, or if they just don't remember who I am. That's another thing, in my 20 years of life, I've never really experienced someone close to me dying. I fear the day it will happen, because I'm likely to fall apart.
At some point I finally summoned up the courage to talk to Emily. It had gone on long enough between us, and I finally just said to her, we need to talk, and she agreed. I found out she apparently acted the way she did out of fear. I think she regretted giving me the note, and was afraid she would screw up our perfect friendship. So she decided to not talk to me. She knows now it wasn't the best thing to do, and she screwed it up anyway… I dunno. I was left a little unsatisfied with the explanation. But today we are friends. Nowhere near as close as we were, but we still get together once in a while for a movie, or to go to an Ozzy concert. At least I got closure on the whole thing.
I was totally in love with Julie. So much that I could picture marrying her. We talked about it all the time. We talked about having kids. We loved fantasizing about our future together. We didn't know it at the time, but I guess what we thought was meant to be, wasn't, because we don't speak to each other anymore. We had our beautiful moments, like when we went with her parents to New Hampshire. We stayed for almost a week at a little house on a lake. We had a great time. We were very romantic with each other. She would kiss my lips to wake me up in the morning. We went for a row boat adventure in the rain. One time for her birthday I gathered up a bunch of rocks and painted them. Early that morning I placed them outside her window. I made an eye, a heart, and a U. In the center of the heart was a present. It was the baseball we signed together during our first kiss. I loved doing stuff like that for her. We had our bad times too, like when she would spend time with Rooz, and he kept trying to do stuff with her, and I never knew if she still loved him or not. But we still loved each other. We gave ourselves to each other in every way. It was amazing. That is until I screwed it up by flirting and talking dirty to girls online and she found out about it. Our relationship was already in a strain at that point, and when she confronted me, I felt horrible, and felt it would be best to break up with her again. I hate thinking about this stuff with her.
I was getting experimental with my photography in senior year, and realized that even though I could use my intelligence to study something "academic", I wanted to go into the arts, especially into photography. I sound full of myself don't I? My intelligence… I'm actually quite modest, and with all my work, never think it is that good. I applied to go to the Hartford Art School and got in. I'm in my second year there now. The end of high school was a bit scary, but gratifying, because I wanted to get the hell out of there. I hated that school. So, now I'm in college. Julie and I tried to stay friends. She is going to Marist, so I didn't see much of her. When she did come home though, it seemed like old times between us. Course, it didn't take her long until she got another boyfriend, but she would cheat on him when she came home to me. We justified it for a while with the fact that things weren't going well with her boyfriend… I dunno. She was always back and forth between us, it drove me crazy.
My first year of art school was great. More work than I've ever done in my life, but I think I learned more than I ever have. Somehow I managed to increase my skills in drawing and painted from crappy, to not that bad. I commute to school, so it was hard to make new friends. Our classes all had the same kids in it, so that helped, and by the second semester, we all had bonded. But even still, I find that I don't have any deep connections with anyone. I more of a loner now. I became the poster boy for national portfolio day, because my last name is Portfolio. I'm having a great time at school. As for Julie, over last summer things got serious again, then turned to crap. We can't handle the long distance thing. She got back together with her old boyfriend, and I finally said I can't take it anymore. I don't hate her, and don't place any blame on her, but we were back and forth so many times, I couldn't take the constant heart break. I didn't want to cry over her anymore. So, around Thanksgiving this year, I told her this, and that I didn't want to talk to her anymore. And we haven't. There is a brick I had engraved and placed in the side walk down town with our names on it. When I got it, it was meant as a permanent marker of our love…. Now it acts like a tombstone. This pretty much brings you up to date. My life in a couple of hours.