My First Hurts-So-Bad-It-Must-Be-Love Crush
I didn’t know love hurt. That it was a constant, yearning ache, one that would tie my heart into knots, one that would saturate every thought with him, and make me think of him with every breath I drew. He’s breathing too, right this very second. Does he think of me? Has he even noticed me? We both gotta breathe, sure, but I can pretend we’re breathing together.
Oh. My. God. Thirteen sucks. Thirteen is when you discover the meaning of bitter-sweet and gawky and heartsick. (And the rest of your family discovers the meaning of self-absorbed, brooding, and melodramatic and you can agree on one thing: thirteen sucks.)
I would babble about this boy at meals, every word spilling from my lips was all about him, My mother dismissed me as boy-crazy, and while crazy was accurate since that was how I felt, I was only crazy for one boy.
I was in eighth grade in junior high school and his name was John. He had dark hair and dark eyes and seemed so mysterious. He was quiet and usually traveled around the school with an entourage of two male friends. He wasn’t one of the popular boys or a jock or even an outcast. He was a regular boy and I thought he was the cutest boy in the universe. I would’ve delivered up my heart on a platter (still quivering) if he would’ve even looked my way.
We often took the same short cut home across the field after school, and I would trail behind him and his friends. I would study every toss of his head, feel weak at the sound of his laughter. I think all I really wanted from him was to just look at him, to be near, to be able to laugh with him and maybe, just maybe, hold hands. I don’t think I even thought about a kiss, just his company and holding hands.
One day, he dropped a glove as he walked home and, heart pounding, delirious, I picked it up. I took it home, thinking I would give it to him in class the next day. I could only hope I wouldn’t faint while doing so.
I never found the courage to give him the glove. I think a part of me never intended to. I kept it under my pillow. A keepsake. A promise. A way to be close to him. I often wished I could walk up to him, smile, and say, “Hey, John” and make him look at me with the same yearning I felt twisting like ivy around my heart whenever I walked past him without a word or a glance, my cheeks blazing as if he could read my thoughts. (Hopefully not about the glove hidden beneath my pillow!)
I pined over John for a long time. Wrote maudlin poetry and moped. A lot. I think I’m fortunate no one in my family smothered me in my sleep (with the glove). LOL. During the year of my crush, John said hello to me once and smiled. I blushed so hard that I’m surprised I didn’t burst into flame. I stammered something, probably, “Uh.” But the unrequited love affair of the century began to wane when John was asked to read aloud in class. As he struggled with each word in the book, I realized he didn’t read much. Well, okay, we could around that. But when he pronounced Chicago as chick-a-go, I knew we were doomed.
I never had a crush as intense and painful and (one-sidedly) romantic as that one. I don’t think I would’ve survived another. My family would’ve made sure. LOL.
And speaking of firsts:
You can read a chapter from the first book in The Maker’s Song series. Here’s a link to a sample chapter of A Rush of Wings.
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