My Grade School Crush

I believe it was around 5th grade when I started to notice that my desire toward girls went from pushing them down a slide face first to pushing them down a slide face first and then thinking, “I should see if she’s alrigh – oh, nice, kickball!”

It was a glorious change in my life that would forever tarnish anything that was good and pure in my mind. Suddenly when I looked at girls I didn’t want to throw up in my mouth but for some reason I wanted to kiss them on their mouths which is a really creepy thing to say or type out and I’m sorry you read that.

My feelings for girls were blossoming into a collection of songs from the musical “Hair” and kaleidoscope images of flowers morphing into hearts that would continue for minutes while I drifted off in class. Eventually it would lead to my teacher coming up to me and asking what was the matter to which I would yell, “I’m not thinking of Jessica!” to which the class would respond collectively with taunts about us getting married and kissing in a tree.

Who would climb a tree just to kiss someone? Also, I should point out, making fun of someone by going through the progression of a relationship really doesn’t make much sense to me. If anything you’re just reinforcing what that person actually wants and making them desire it more. That’s not to say that I didn’t partake in the endless torture of other kids who were exploring their feelings for someone they were attracted to.

I wasn’t a DORK! Hahehahaha…ahhhhhhhhh

Another note, I never understood the need UNTIL JUST THIS MOMENT to why people want to protect those involved in their stories. So Jessica isn’t really who I dreamed about endlessly, her name was Mary.

Oh, Jessica ;-), how my heart at that time beat for you. All I could do when I saw her was quickly run to the water fountain or dart into the bathroom because, for some reason, us making eye contact or you having any idea who I was would kill me. Any type of exchange of words between the two of us would merely be her talking and me standing there silently.

I would envision us growing older together, which at the time was like 20 years old but we still were sitting on rocking chairs on the wrap around porch of our Victorian style house.

I also was apparently a very wealthy entrepreneur by the age of 20 which didn’t actually come true and neither did my vision of marriage at the age of 10.

I would oft drift off into scenes of us running around and eating ice cream, playing kickball for competing teams and sharing a good laugh while we pushed other, less popular, kids into the mud. In my dreams we only high fived because, let’s face it, koodies was still an epidemic and although I gave myself the “knife-knife” I wasn’t positive I had the vaccine for my entire life.

Eventually I trusted my friend so much that I needed to share who I had a crush on and he, like most 5th graders, had absolutely no filter whatsoever and wasn’t the meek, shy redhead that I was. The words “I have a crush on Mar-Jessica” – that was close – couldn’t have been off my lips for more than .01 seconds before he darted off.

It’s worth mentioning that it was around 1995 at this point and Jonathan Brandis and Jonathan Taylor Thomas were at the peak of grade school girl adoration. Their boyish good looks and long flowing hair along with their prepubescent voices that cracked at any form of excitement were what the girls flocked to these days. I had none of these qualities.

Chubby, redheaded boys who were covered with freckles and ate Devil Dogs like they were going to halt production of them and needed to savor each morsel weren’t who the girls were going after. However, I was told repeatedly during my ugly phase, which started around age 7 and hasn’t stopped, that girls would go crazy for my hair when I was older. I’m still waiting.

So now my friend is talking to “Jessica” and her friend and I see them giggling and laughing and their faces are full of shock and a little hint of fear. Eventually my friend points over to my direction and my first instinct was to bury my face in my tuna sandwich so that’s what I did. This move DID NOT help my chances.

After the conversation was over my friend saunters over to me with a smile forming on his lips and for a moment I feel like I am flying among the clouds, my heart is racing and my eyes are full of paper hearts cut out of red paper much like they are depicted in cartoons.

He finally reaches me and starts to laugh – not a good sign – and I ask him how it went.

“Mar-icca (saved myself again!) said, ‘in your dreams’…”

Ouch, that one hurt. It was my first real heartbreak. The first time I would feel such a deep rooted emotion in my body that would jolt me to forever swear off any type of loving relationship. In that moment I would be alone forever, wandering the streets alone and praying someone, anyone would hear my cries and come and save me.

But there was more.

“…and then Samantha [her friend who’s real name is Taryn] said, ‘and in her nightmares’. Sorry man.”

If I could put an audio file of laughter I would because that’s what my friend proceeded to do while my heart was torn in two. As I sat there taking this all in a single thought popped in my head, “at least she’s dreaming of me.”

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