I was thinking back to my younger days, and I recalled a story that I’ve never told anyone. It’s one that I need to tell, I think. The world should know about it. A story that can no longer be kept under wraps.
This is the story of my first crush.
When I was writing the sentence above, I accidentally typed “crust” instead of “crush.” Just let that sink in. Ok, now I’ll actually start the story.
The setting: daycare. I was four years old. She was six. I was always attracted to older women. Admittedly, I had refined tastes. She had an air of elegance about her. The way she cleverly crafted her pig tails and floated through the air in her hand-me-down overalls. Intoxicating.
Her name was Jennifer. She had glistening golden-brown hair and the face of an angel. She smelled like…spaghetti-o’s.
Actually, the whole place smelled like spaghetti-o’s. That’s all that Rosemary – the weirdo babysitter lady – ever made for us. That and fish sticks.
It was love at first site. The moment she walked through the door, I was blind to the rest of the world. She had all of my attention. She had all of my affection. I was swept into a frenzy of emotions. Attraction. Excitement. Passion.
But there was a problem. Six year old Jennifer didn’t notice four-year old me. To her, I was nothing but a peasant groveling at her feet. One of the greeters at Wal-Mart that 91% of people ignore. An errand boy, delivering her milk and assorted cheeses. She didn’t see me. A predicament faced me that had faced many men before; she was out of my league.
I thought to my four-year old self, “Shit. What in Christ’s name do I have to do to get her to notice me?” I racked my brain for ideas but nothing came. I was hopeless. Jennifer would never notice me or the burning love that I had for her.
But, like a rogue bolt of lightning, an idea struck. Finally, I had something that would catch her eye. Something that she couldn’t resist. I was going to give her my most favorite thing in the whole world.
After a while, I configured a complex speech full of flattery and flirtery. It would knock her off her feet. After rehearsing a few times, I decided to go for it. “It’s now or never, dammit” I said to myself. I took deep breath and headed to the kitchen table where Jennifer was making some abstract art with macaroni noodles.
I walked up to the table, gift in hand, and stood next to her. This was it. This was my moment. All I had to do was deliver my speech just like I rehearsed it. She would accept the present, stare into my eyes, take my hand, and kiss me right on the lips. I just knew it.
She saw me standing there at the corner of the table. She put down her macaroni and looked me in the face.
I stood there for a few seconds, mentally preparing myself. Would she reciprocate my love? Would she accept me as her soul mate?
I made my move.
I offered my gift. A jewel if I’ve ever seen one. An offering fit for a queen: my very best G.I. Joe action figure.
As I gave her the Joe, I delivered my eloquently crafted love speech. I stared into her brilliant blue eyes and said, “Here ya go.”
She took the action figure and looked at it intently. With a blank expression on her face, she shifted her gaze to me. Then, she did something that would change my life forever.
She dropped the G.I. Joe at my feet and went back to making her crummy macaroni art.
I was crushed. I couldn’t do anything but stand there, paralyzed in my heartbreak. How could this be? What went wrong? I’ve asked myself these questions for the rest of my life.
My heart was forever shattered. As Max Muller once said, “A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and a man cannot live without love.” I dare say that I haven’t lived since that day. Damn you, Jennifer. Damn you…