First Crush


Infatuation...

Many, many moons ago, while the Earth was still cooling, I got my first genuine crush on a girl in school.

Before Shelly, there were girls who had crushes on me, but I never felt the same.  My dad used to call me Archie Andrews, what with girls always trying to get next to me and stuff.  Being in the fifth grade, and none too savvy with girls – they didn’t become interesting until later for me – I generally tried to ditch them and dodge their affections.  (Later I came to regret this, but retrospectively, there isn’t anything I could’ve done different.)

But Shelly snuck in there while I was in early eighth grade and snatched my heart away.  It was just a short-lived crush, not some epic love which lasted through the ages.  That came later with Jennifer.  Shelly was only a crush, a tiny bit of infatuation, and I shed no tears when I woke up one day and realized I hadn’t exchanged words with her in a couple of years.  I didn’t pine for her when I left her three thousand miles behind me, and the letters were the first time I even breached the subject of a crush.  I figured, at the time, in my this-makes-sense-to-an-eighth-grader way, the distance made it safe to be open and honest about my feelings with her.  Turns out I was right.

Shelly was all freckles, knobby knees and feathered haircut.  She had a great smile, and I guess she would be considered cute enough.  At least, at that time.  Back then, girls didn’t mature and develop as quickly as they do now.  Their bodies were still more homogenous with boys than distinctively feminine a lot of the time.  There were exceptions, of course, but for the most part, they were still sticks wearing training bras.  Her green eyes twinkled under the big, fluffy haircut and bangs, her smile innocent and charming.

I wrote to Shelly for a long time after we moved away.  A long time for an eighth-grader, anyway.  My mom had my brother and me back in our old Catholic school, the one we attended for a year before our family moved to Georgia.  We lived with my maternal grandmother on the San Francisco peninsula.  My dad worked across the bay and through the tunnel, an hour from grandma’s and about a half-hour’s commute from the school.  So for me, it was getting up when he did, getting ready for school, driving the hour to drop my dad off at work, then get some breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box and eat it in the car while we waited for the school to open so we could go in.  Long days, when sitting in the parking lot waiting for my father to finish his day so we could all wade through the dense, slow traffic back to grandma’s became a way of life.  Homework in the back seat of a ‘70 Olds Cutlass.  Getting home in time to spend a few minutes to myself before being shuffled off to bed.  Mornings came early then.

Shelly and I exchanged letters for a while.  I developed my crush while I still lived there and she was a classmate.  I kept it for about another year, maybe.  Then it languished in a quiet, unseen, unnoticed way and passed on without fanfare.

Sometimes, my writing feels like Shelly.  I know it’s true love, I know it’s genuine and real and won’t pass away quietly, without fuss, without a fight.  But sometimes, I feel like it’s Shelly and the exchange of writing is infrequent at best, fading into not writing anymore, not being there anymore.  I’m afraid sometimes I’ll wake up and say “Oh, wow!  I forgot about writing!”  Years will slip away between us and I won’t remember the address anymore or have any of the old letters to remind me how wonderful it was.

Academically, I know this isn’t going to happen.  I love writing.  I’m doing it even when I’m not sitting at a keyboard or in front of a pad with pen in hand.  It’s happening in my head, in my heart, every moment of my day.  Even blogging is writing in a way.  But sometimes – just sometimes – I wonder if I’ll let the flame die if I’m not more careful.

Are you nurturing and cherishing your first love, your passion, your burning interest?  What keeps you in love with it?  What tips and tricks can you give to someone trying to fan the old flame into a roaring fire again?

Sound off, y’all.  Show me how it’s done.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

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5 thoughts on “First Crush

  1. I was in grade eight at a Catholic school. Her name was Lisa and she was in my class. She had a soccer player’s build and long brown hair. She, like I, was an Italian-Canadian.

    The school year was ending and unlike many of my classmates, I was enrolled in a public high school for the following year. The graduation dance was my last chance to see her.

    I never had the courage to go up to her and talk her since the crush began.

    At the dance, I promised myself I would ask her to dance at the next slow dance song to be played. Collective Soul’s Shine began to play.

    “Ugh, I hate this song,” I thought to myself.

    People began to pair off and slow dance.

    “This??? This is a slow dance song??? No way… Oh well, time to make my move.”

    My body froze. I stared at her while she waited for a guy to approach her and ask her to dance. Eventually, with nobody asking her, she began to look around for a guy to ask herself. She quickly found a partner and danced to that awful song that wasn’t meant to be a slow dance song.

    As the dance continued, some people made their way outside of the school gymnasium to get a breath of fresh air. I noticed Lisa go outside. I casually followed her outside.

    I struck up a conversation with her. Usual chit-chat. What high school I was going to and why because I wasn’t going to the Catholic high school that 95% of my classmates were enrolled in.

    My brother interrupted my conversation. “C’mon man, we gotta go.”

    “Gimme a minute.”

    “I’ve got a graduation party to get to myself, you should be thankful I’m picking your lazy butt up at all.”

    I left the dance, never having told Lisa how I felt about her. I never saw her again and I have never forget how bad I felt afterward.

    Ah, young love and it’s first sting. That’s a great story, dude. Thanks for telling it here.

  2. I don’t feel that “first crush” way about any of the pursuits in my life at the moment. But that’s not a bad thing. When I was a young girl, my crushes were obsessive and all-consuming. I’d rather maintain the balanced, peaceful centre I’ve worked so hard to attain.

    There’s something to be said about balance, no two ways about it. It’s not always easy — especially for someone prone to obsessive behavior like I am — but when you find it, it’s definitely worth hanging onto.

  3. Well, I wrote about my first crush on my blog a while back. http://mapelba.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/boys-with-sheep/ There it is for what it is worth.

    I’ll check it out; thank you!

    As for the writing–don’t move away. It took me a while to move back in with my writing, but now I don’t leave it for more than three days at a time. And I make sacrifices for my writing. Gave up Law & Order. Gave up lots of TV. Schedule a night out with my writing (Tuesdays at the cafe) and keep unless I really, really can’t. If the love is there. that’s what keeps it alive for me.

    Gotta keep it fresh, interesting, exciting. 🙂

    And making friends out here who want to write. Friends who approve of this love. That helps.

    Long as the writing’s not steppin’ out on ya with those friends, yeah, it’s great. 😉

  4. I’ve told the stories of two of my four great loves. My high school sweetheart and I used to talk via email once in a while but it started freaking her husband out so we stopped. I can kind of understand, she and I did still have a lot of the same feelings for each other (the kind of lust usually reserved for second cousins) but I wasn’t going to toss my whole life away just for the sake of an itch.

    Probably a good idea.

    My college girlfriend talks to me as well now. We are just friends although we do sometimes wonder about what might have been… (I think the long term answer would have been divorce.)

    Maybe you’re right. The road not taken, eh?

    The miracles of social networking I suppose but now I know that the two women I was sure laughed as they left me in the dirt actually think fondly of me. Makes me regret all the negative energy I wasted being angry at them.

    Nothing’s so clear as it is when we see it over our shoulder, is it? Hindsight isn’t just 20/20, it’s also a magnifying glass making what we see bigger and more detailed. Still, I’m willing to bet you don’t regret the loving wife and daughter you have.

    (Hey and one good thing that we’re all on good terms… I might be able to swing a deathbed four way before the grim reaper claims me.)

    Uh-huh. I think we all tell ourselves that one, don’t we? All my exes still hate me. Should tell you a bit about me.

  5. I laughed all the way through this all the while thinking I’m getting old…you are so funny…

    My first crush and the one I’m now indulging is writing and I can completely relate to what you are feeling. I think Mapelba offers some great advice, advice that I will use too.

    Thanks! I think you’re probably right … it’s better if I don’t move far away to keep this one alive. 🙂 Glad you liked the post.

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