I will have a 10-year-old daughter for only one more day, so, in her honor, I’m going to utterly embarrass myself and reveal my romantic obsession at her age: D., the older brother of my friend and classmate E. Although we were two grades apart, we went to a tiny (and I do mean tiny) alternative Christian school, so we were in the same classroom. (Note that while I identify everyone else by initial, I use my cousin Esther’s full name because she is no longer with us to object to my using her name.)
He was the perfection of boyhood and I fell in love immediately upon seeing him. I liked him for years. Years. Here we are sledding (I was in heaven but also freaked out enough to maintain a reasonable distance between us):
Fri. 2/3/78 D. gave me 40 cents to spend. Now everybody’s teasing us. I’m glad. I’m expecting a call any second.
Mon. 2/6/78 Today all the grade 5’s had a fight. It’s sort of O.K. It all started when D. broke Esther’s radio. This is what a note said, “If you don’t get E. and I this and that you have to kiss Natalie.” Just before D. got on the subway he said he’d phone me. Esther just phoned me. [I later added: He didn’t.]
Tues. 2/7/78 Today Esther had this silly plan for me to spy on her and D. She makes me so jealous because every day she has something to say about D. I wouldn’t be surprised if D. hated me. If he does hate me I’ll just love him the same, and more. Some day all my love life is going to be ruined because of her. Today my stupid parents wouldn’t let us see the guests. All we had for supper was a tiny bowl of soup.
Fri. 2/10/78 Today was so exciting. D. walked me home.
Oh, the drama. The insecurity. The blowing tiny gestures all out of proportion. All my love life ruined….
I remember the day when D. was going to have to kiss me. This was a terrifying possibility, so I shoved aside the three-seater couch in our lounge and barricaded myself behind it so nobody could get near me. Although perhaps being kissed in such a publicly pressured way would have saved me from years of pining. My 3rd grade boyfriend kissed me on the landing of the exterior steps while everyone was running up to our classroom after lunch and it was the end of a beautiful thing.
We’d been together for what felt like ages, but was probably less than a month, holding sweaty little hands during lunch and class movies and arranging to stand next to each other when the class walked in the hallways so we could hold hands. I ignored the teasing and thought we were perfectly happy, but his buddies pressured him into the smooch. Embarrassing me so in front of the whole class was enough to tell me he wasn’t for me. That was it. The red-haired boy who pulled my chair out for me every day when I came to class stepped in to provide balm for my wounded pride. Although that only lasted until my birthday pool party, when he dunked me nine times, making me gasp and gulp water those last few times. That was it for him.
With D., I was not so fickle. I liked him from age 9 until my early teen years. It never developed into anything more real than vague compliments and flirting, either, which means I have a sweet memory of that crush. There’s very little reality to intrude.
In a non-romance moment, I sounded then just as silly as my kids do now when they get incensed at parental action. It’s kind of cute.
Anyone want to share embarrassing personal stories so I don’t feel alone?