Prompt #47: Crush
I read this prompt on Friday, and I had so wanted to go the fiction route...a fast-moving piece about the planning and scheming to make a meeting with a crush seem so natural, the mix of nervousness and excitement that bubbles inside as the crush approaches. It likely would’ve been heavily based on reality being the self-proclaimed Queen of the Crush that I am. Or at least was for the major part of my life.
But I kept coming back to the same idea, or the same idea kept taunting me I should say. And every writer knows that when something nags at you, you get your fingers to the keyboard and stop asking questions.
“Because your kiss, your kiss is on my list…” he sang into the mirror of the sun visor pressed against the windshield. His big brown eyes focused on me, the four-year-old in the back seat. I probably rolled my eyes, because I always rolled that way, but inside I was smiling. I’m sure of it.
Our families were good friends, but theirs didn’t have a little girl. On top of that, I was the youngest of anyone, so I was rather spoiled with attention. His mom treated me like a daughter, and I ended up with two big brothers in addition to the one I already had; the oldest of the bunch became, as I can understand now with adult eyes, My First Crush.
Even at an early age, I remember feeling safe with him while my own brother, his brother, and even his father tormented me. And so I ran to MFC when I couldn’t take any more teasing, and he was always there to hold me, play with me, and generally calm me down.
He was only a teenager at the time, so you can imagine that he was mature beyond his years (at least as it concerned me). All I knew, though, is that I liked being around him more than anyone for the first five or so years of my life. And for a kid, that says a lot. One might even say that it says everything.
And then about that time, our families had a falling out of some sort that didn’t involve any of the kids, but oh, did it affect us; MFC went away to college and then moved away, and well, all of us lost touch.
I don’t remember the details of that period very well, but there were surely times that I missed seeing him, laughing with (at!) him, and generally being fawned over. Who wouldn’t love that kind of devotion? But it passed, obviously, because many more crushes followed.
I’m a long-term crusher, so I basically kept the same boy in mind through elementary school, then switched to a new one in high school, a different one in college. Law school, as any law school survivor won't find surprising, lacked a real crush opportunity--a sad three years without looking forward to accidentally running into a special someone on purpose.
Isn’t that the best thing about a crush? Unrequited love is never fun, but, oh, that rush of emotion when you see your crush unexpectedly (or expectedly, as the case may be), when you’re suddenly thrown into a conversation, when you’re daydreaming about those fateful meetings, when you’re recounting them later to the chosen few who know of your infatuation.
Sure over time, thoughts and imaginings become more mature, but at the base of it, a crush is so innocent and young--a raw, guttural, overwhelming like for someone and his/her presence. If we’re lucky, our crushes always hold special places in our hearts.
And if I’m anything, I’m lucky.
Over the past year, I’ve been able to return to that oft-forgotten corner of my childhood. Why? Because MFC came across my name on our high school’s alumni list (I graduated 12 years after he did) and sent me an email.
He started with the suggestion that maybe I didn't remember who he was. Hah! He wrote of memories of my grandmother and times spent with my family when he was younger--priceless stuff especially since my grandmother had passed away a few years before.
I was ecstatic to hear from him, that he’s doing well, is happily married, successful, and just as funny and generally wonderful as ever. Now we’ve gotten to know each other as adults after sharing just a few years of childhood, which is quite a surreal experience. For him, I imagine that my life took a hiatus right around the phase of the froofy pink dress (wanna make somethin' of it?), and his, as far as I could tell, never progressed past Hall & Oates.
Good thing for both of us that we've moved on.
In fact, in one of those Internet-inspired twists of fate, we’ll be moving closer together for at least one day soon--he and his wife are on their way to southern Italy in April, and we’ll see each other for the first time in, oh, 25 years.
I’m only 30 years old, peeps, so this is some amazing stuff.
Through our emails, I’ve learned even more about my early years from his memories. Recently he wrote that when the house was full of company and I didn't want to go to bed thereby missing any of the fun, he was the go-to guy to get me to sleep. He (correctly) joked that putting girls to sleep was certainly no skill to brag about later in life, so he didn't talk about it much, but there you have it.
I don’t remember any of that, but the fact that he does? Wow.
Such a warm fuzzy feeling to know that I, too, hold a place in my first crush’s heart.