The Louis Twins

21 10 2003

Walter and Alex were a year ahead of me in high school. They looked almost identical, but once you knew them, they didn’t any more. So I can’t say for sure if they were. I know they weren’t the exact same height. Walter was 6’7″, and Alex was 6’8″. Oh, and did I mention they were tall? Yeah. They were really tall. They were also attractive. Their intelligent eyes shone with fun that had learned to submit to discipline. It made you want to find the combination to the lock that would loose it. Their smiles made you want to be witty enough to earn one.

They both played basketball. Some tall boys are gangly and uncoordinated, but Walter and Alex were true athletes. They were the stars of our team. Everyone loved them and cheered for them, screaming their names. Alex also played baseball. He pitched. Tall pitchers have an advantage when they are also good. And Alex was very good.

Tall, athletic, attractive twins may not be all that amazing or rare. But Walter and Alex were also humble. Soft-spoken, gentle giants. If one of them received a nomination for any honor, the other would refuse to compete for the same honor. Everyone respected Walter and Alex. We all kind of stood in awe of them. You could say we looked up to them. It would be a cheesy pun, but it would be true in every sense.

My height hovers somewhere just above 5’2″. Ever since ninth grade I’ve been striving for 5’3″, but I still haven’t attained it. Once, at a church youth group meeting, I was standing between Walter and Alex. I felt like a small child lost in a forest. So I did the only sensible thing. I stood on my chair. Voila! I could finally see eye to eye with the Louis twins. (I could see lots of other things, too. It makes me want to go clean the top of my refridgerator right now.) Of course, to keep my balance, I had to take each one of them by his well-toned arm. They rewarded me with priceless smiles, and delightful twinkles danced in those mysterious eyes. I don’t remember anything else about that youth group meeting.

I admired Walter and Alex. I thought they were amazing. But then a weird thing happened. Alex starting being extra nice to me. In fact, in many obvious ways, Alex made it clear he liked me a lot. At that stage of my life, most of my relationships with boys consisted of me making them laugh. Under my outward extrovertedness, I was actually shy. With boys, anyway. I was a junior in high school, but I still felt so much like a little girl, and I felt like a puny midget next to Alex. So I pushed him away. But he asked me out anyway. And I said yes.

Alex and I went to a movie. As we were walking up to the theater, I saw our reflection in the glass doors. I realize now that all my self-consciousness was stupid, but at the time I only knew I felt so, so small next to him. I just couldn’t be comfortable. Alex was funny, smart, interesting, talented, respectful. Everything good. But all I could see was the foot and a half difference in our heights. So, that night, when he took me home, I pretty much knew I wouldn’t be going out with Alex again. He said good-night at the door, and he kissed me. It was very sweet, and Alex had the nicest, happiest look on his face. Even though I did manage to notice these things, all I could really think about was how far he had to bend over to kiss me.

So, after that night, I just kept pushing Alex away. Like a stupid, mean, immature girl who doesn’t know how to say what she’s really feeling. I hate it now when I think about it, because he deserved so much better treatment. Alex finally gave up on me, and our friendship was never as strong after that.

Walter and I kept in touch. He went to seminary and became a missionary, got married, had a family. My admiration for him only grew.

I also learned from another friend that Alex had gotten married. My first question was, “How tall is his wife?” I guess I was still too pathetic for words. They had three kids. Then, years later, I heard one of his children died. I think it was leukemia. I ached for him, for his wife, for Walter and their whole family. Suddenly I wished with all my heart I could go to Alex right then and hug him and say, “I’m sorry I was such a stupid jerk years ago. I was cruel, but I know that’s nothing compared to the pain you’re feeling now. If I could do anything to ease this heartache for you I would.” But I didn’t go. And I haven’t seen Alex since then.

That was probably ten years ago. Just last week I heard news of Alex from a mutual friend. One of his kids is in law school and the other is in college. It was that news that dredged up all these memories. I still wish I could apologize to Alex.

Alex, if you’re out there, I’m sorry.


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9 responses

22 10 2003
ragamuffen

I just wanted to tell you that I bet Alex forgave you.

I don’t know how you were strong enough to turn him down just on height. I was so short, even 2 inches shorter than you and when tall boys looked at me it was as if I became a zombie to their will…I loved them.

I love the way you tell a story. You really do command language and grammar with such pretty ease.

xoxo

22 10 2003
jeannedamoff

Thanks. It’s nice to think he forgave me, but in truth, he probably just forgot all about me. ;o)

You’re so cute. “A zombie to their will.” I love that. It was easy for me to turn him down, because I was afraid of boys in a general sense in those days. I just regret that I did it by treating him badly.

I could sit at your feet when it comes to story-telling. You’re a master. Words obey your bidding like falling leaves give way to the will of the wind.

A lovely day to you, Ragamuffen. ♥ EZ

22 10 2003
ilitherian

im just glad grace doesn’t have this problem with her non-boyfriend guy. he’s way too cool…

love,
luke

22 10 2003
jeannedamoff

Grace’s non-boyfriend guy is only 6’2″. Those six inches make a big difference. But I’m not proud of the way I treated Alex. I was a little punk, and someone should have slapped me. (However, you do not have permission to slap me, sir.)

And besides, it all worked out for the best. If I hadn’t met George in all his 5’8″ glory, there never would have been a Luke. Unthinkable.

Love, Momzy

22 10 2003
Anonymous

Awwww! What a loving mother. That is too adorable.

Love,
Lolah

22 10 2003
allenb

Would you stop making me cry already???? SNIFF!! I love your writing, but darn if I don’t get all misty!

23 10 2003
jeannedamoff

Thank you! I do love him, and I agree: he is adorable. ;o)

23 10 2003
jeannedamoff

I don’t make you cry on purpose, but I must admit, I feel like I’ve done something right when I do.

Thanks for always leaving the most encouraging comments. I truly appreciate you.

♥ EZ

23 10 2003
allenb

well, I guess now you’ve got a benchmark. 😉

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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