Ooooo, this is a fun one. I love love. I love being in love. I love trying a trillion dozen ways to keep love close to me, even when I know it’s failing/wrong/obsessive/not the right match. I was born on Valentine’s Day – a month early. I wanted to be born on that fabulous day that celebrates love.
So thinking waaaaaaaay back . . . I’d state my first love was in the first grade. His name was Terry. Yes, I remember his last name – but in this internet age I hesitate to put it in print. I googled him just now and got a little bit of info about him . . . but no pictures or Facebook page. On one hand, that’s kinda sad – I’d like to see how he turned out . . . but on the other hand, as much as I love the internet, it has removed the mystery of lost connections and the joy of finding someone IRL again, and meeting over a cup of coffee and catching up on all the details of your lives.
Goddammit, that makes me sound old, doesn’t it?
ANYWAY – Terry. Terry was a blue-eyed, blond haired little boy who declared his love for me in the first grade. Maybe I once remembered that first encounter, but *MUFFLED* years have passed since then and I have forgotten. I remember he told me he loved me. And he made me a heart love note – colored the back of it neatly and completely in red crayon, and wrote “I Love You” on the other side, then folded it perfectly in half and proudly presented it to me. I still have that heart. It’s precious. It’s a hand-made declaration of a little boy’s love for a mousey-haired buck-toothed string bean of a little girl back when folded four-corner paper fortune tellers were the hottest form of communication, teddy bears didn’t talk, and soda pop was still sold in glass bottles.
SON OF A BITCH I sound ancient.
But I love that little love note. It’s innocent and sweet, and emotion in its purest, rawest form. Neither one of us had A CLUE what love was, but I knew he made me smile. And he liked to hold my hand and tell me . . . ok, I don’t remember anything he told me or even the sound of his voice anymore. But I remember he was the first boy who told me he loved me. And I loved the gesture.
Life intervened, and my family moved a year later. On my last day of school, the teacher asked everyone to stand up and say something nice about me. Awkward as that was for all of us, I remember feeling loved and appreciated as I left that school for the last time. I’d yelled across the hallway into Terry’s room, “Goodbye, Terry!” We were in different rooms that year. I hope he heard me. I guess it doesn’t matter now. Today we would’ve exchanged email addresses (wait, do 7 year olds HAVE email addresses?) and easily kept in touch. What will those children write about in *MUFFLED* years? By then, my glass Coke bottles will be in museums.
So my first kiss.
Jason was a darling little freckle-faced boy, and the first time I was old enough to really understand what this love thing was all about. Like the little crayon red folded note, this boy also wooed me with a heart. My parents were out of town, and I was staying with their friends. I rode a different bus to get to their house. Jason was on that bus. Apparently he had already noticed me and decided he liked me, while I was oblivious – most likely with my head stuck firmly in a book. I boarded the bus that day, and was was sitting by myself in a seat. Jason was a few seats ahead of me. He turned around and pointed to his coat pocket. I looked confused, pointing back at his coat pocket. He shook his head firmly and enthusiastically pointed to his coat pocket. Again, I pointed at his pocket. He rolled his eyes with a huge grin on his face and emphatically pointed at MY coat pocket. I then pointed at my coat pocket, and he shook his head up and down in the universal sign of “yes!” Then with great exaggeration, he placed his hand inside his coat pocket and looked expectantly at me. Amused by this time, I copied the gesture, looked at him, and waited. He then slowly pulled his hand out of his coat pocket and looked down at it. Amused, I did the same thing. I was holding a little pipe cleaner heart.
We had been working withe pipe cleaners in art class, and he must’ve made the heart for me and slipped it in my pocket when we were standing in line to board the bus. I looked up, surprised, and he grinned at me again and spun around on his seat as the bus started moving.
We were boyfriend and girlfriend for four years in elementary school. We wrote love notes to each other, we hung out on the playground, and we talked on the phone at night.
“You hang up first!”
“No, you hang up first!”
“No,” *giggle* “YOU hang up fir . . . ” and my dad unplugged the phone from the wall.
Then we hit the age where our friends started having boy-girl parties. My first boy-girl party was a birthday party, and pretty much the whole class was invited. Small town. Jason and I walked out the side door into the dark, and he leaned down and kissed me. Such moments are always different in your head than they are in real life – and despite the awkwardness, it was sweet. I remember thinking it was much more-low key than the dramatic running-towards-each-other-and-leaping-into-his-arms-while-ferociously-kissing I’d seen in the movies. OH, I would have those moments later in life, no worries. But this kiss was simple, and sweet, and new.
I think he’s married now, with a few kids. Living in some small town in Missouri and hopefully happy. I’ll post this blog on Facebook, and mutual friends might tell him I wrote about him in a blog post. If you’re reading this, Jason – I still have that little heart. It’s in a box with the note Terry gave me. Those are memories of my childhood, but also memories of me . . . learning how to love, how to express love, how to be genuine in love – and genuine in communication. I love such things – emotion, communication, expression . . . . I keep such tokens to remind me of how I have developed these human activities over the years – and remember that there are many people who come and go in our lives, but that doesn’t make the time with them any less special, or the love any less great.
See you guys on day four. 🙂