Yoga Bootcamp Part 4 (in which I cleverly incorporate the continuation of the Yoga story with this week’s topic First Loves) by Deb Gail

It’s 2 a.m. (still that first night at Bootcamp) and we’ve been holding side angle bind (this is basically a lunge and a twist with one arm rotated around your waist and the other under your lunged thigh, both clasped together at the small your back) for so long that I desperately want to let go but there is this subtle pressure to do whatever Baron says, “push past the places of resistance,” “live one moment at a time,” “breathe,” hold on, suffer… my thighs tremble and sweat literally drips out of every pore in my body and I think, I can’t keep holding, I don’t belong here amongst these hipper, fitter, more beautiful people, these REAL yogis… and then…. this is where I get all clever and incorporate both the continuation of the Bootcamp story and this week’s topic, First Loves.

So I’m sweating, dripping, staring at my second toe on my left foot that’s always been longer than my first toe (on both feet actually but I’m staring at my left toe) and thinking how weird and that I should have gotten a pedicure maybe even with one of those flowered decals even though I NEVER get pedicures maybe had one in my entire life but if there was ever a time to get a pedicure (you see I’m not exactly meditating here or focusing on my breath but give me a break it’s the first day (or night) and I’ve been up 24 hours and I’m starving, could go for a banana split right now and who am I kidding, I don’t really belong here)… and I glance up and see (and I SWEAR I’m not making this up) a guy who from this odd angle looks like Surfer Boy. My first love. Not my first love as he would look now middle-aged but my first love maybe 10 years after I found him walking the boardwalk in San Diego.

Now if we’re going to get technical he wasn’t my first First Love. I’d had a sort of boyfriend in middle school. The cast-off of my savvier friend Lisa. She was deciding between Jerry (who was easy to talk to but not particularly masculine which wasn’t unusual for 12 year-olds) and He-man (can’t remember his name) but he was he-mannish, looked about 16 and his voice had already changed (now that I’m writing this I’m thinking maybe he’d been held back a few years). Anyway, I got Jerry, by default, and we went steady for about two days. Okay, that wasn’t love. But there was the guy I chased out to Colorado who I thought I loved but who didn’t love me back and a few other misfires and then…. Surfer Boy who I spotted walking the boardwalk one hot summer night.

Uncharacteristically, I popped my head out the window of my friend’s brother’s old, rusty Oldsmobile and stared and waved and smiled and said, “Hi!” And Surfer Boy smiled and waved and said “Hi!” back. I ordered my friend’s brother to pull over right that second (which he didn’t want to do because, I later learned, he had a crush on me). He didn’t pull over until I screamed the command several more times and crawled halfway over the front seat and nearly took the wheel. In the meantime, my friend, Susie (the car driver’s sister) who was a ballerina and Mary Kay cosmetic sales representative (which meant she knew how to put on make-up like a pro and had a killer bod) jumped out of the car first (she was also very aggressive) and saddled up to Surfer Boy batting her mascara-enhanced eyelashes, pursing her lip-glossed lips and Surfer Boy… made his way to over to me.

That was the first moment in my entire adolescence that I felt pretty. Worthy. The day I discovered if I really wanted something I could get it.

And after that? I fell madly, passionately in love with Surfer Boy. Seriously. And not only did he look like a surfer boy, all rippling physique and wind-tossled hair, but he actually WAS a surfer boy and also studying to be a marital therapist which meant he LOVED to talk about the nuances of relationships and all that good stuff. And he thought I was smarter than I was.

After the end of that summer I went back east to college and we had one of those tortuous long distance relationships involving tearful 2 a.m. long distance pay phone calls and handwritten love letters. When I told him I loved John Donne, he copied my favorite poem, all ten pages of it, by hand, in his vigorous script. By spring we were talking about me transferring to San Diego State and I applied and got in and was planning to go…

But I wasn’t even 18 (I went to college at 16) and and he only 20 and the mantra, I’m too young. I’m too young, haunted me… and I broke it off. And a year later Surfer Boy got married. We stayed in touch for a while. In fact I called him after my painful break-up with the boy I started seeing after him and he let me go on and on and cry and he was so worried about me, about how I felt and I remember thinking, this is love.

And that I’d made an enormous mistake.

And then we lost touch. I have no idea what happened to Surfer Boy other than last I knew he was living in Austin, Texas. But I still think about him, about the day I leaned out of that Oldsmobile and picked him up on the boardwalk, his wavy blond curls and sun-burnished skin and penetrating eyes, the way he smiled at me as if we already knew each other, the way it felt like our souls instantly locked, that heart-stopping flush of first love.

And some of this (not all) floods back as I glance up from my side angle bind and spot his look-a-like at Yoga Bootcamp. A bit of a heart flutter tinged with the mantra, what-if, what if, what if…

Next week: Matt the Messiah in the Speedo (as promised before, sorry I got a little side-tracked with the First Loves topic) and what I learned about Yoga Camp Surfer Boy when I was paired with him for “sharing” time.

Gail Konop Baker

11 Replies to “Yoga Bootcamp Part 4 (in which I cleverly incorporate the continuation of the Yoga story with this week’s topic First Loves) by Deb Gail”

  1. Ah long distance loves- I knew them well. I loved this story. I can’t wait to see the yoga article- I hope some of these asides make it in there- they are priceless.

  2. I CAN’t WAAAAAAAAIT another week to find out what happens with the Surfer Boy. Please tell me now. Did he profess his undying love? Tell you that he’s been following your career since you left him? Confess to a bank robbery in Reno?

    Why, oh why, do you torture us so?

    I must know what happens next….

    Great post, as always,


  3. Gail, ahem, didn’t you promise to reveal who the SURVIVOR contestant was at Yoga Bootcamp? Now we’re looking forward to learning MORE about your latest Surfer Boy and Matt the Messiah. Ha, you’re such a tease! 😉

  4. I’m trying to bring back serial stories, Lisa.

    That’s right, Larramie, only it was actually a different reality TV show. You’ll have to wait until next week.

    Thanks Jenny. Share your Surfer Boy story! I’d love to hear it.

    You know, Jess, sometimes I think I live in a state of angst and longing.

  5. 1: I know that pose. That pose is freaking hard.

    2: I know that feeling when you look down at your toes and know you should have had a pedicure–I always want to but almost never do.

    3: I love the image of you hanging your head out that window and forcing your driver to stop…and finding love, however ill fated.

    4: I also know that crazy feeling of seeing a dead-ringer of a long lost love of any kind. You know it’s not them but still, it’s a crazy feeling.

    When I went to see The English Patient years ago, I’d never seen Ralph Fiennes act before and sat in my seat with my heart pounding because he looked SO much like one of the early loves of my life. It was kind of unfortunate that I was on a date that night–I was tres distracted!!

    Can’t wait to hear the rest.

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