When I was very small, I was notorious for hating boys. My eleven-years-older sister once came into the living room and I was running around and around a big chair. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Chasing boys!” was my answer. My sister was at an age when “chasing boys” meant something else entirely, but she got my drift.
When I was six, a lovely southern lady moved to town who enlivened the entire town. She taught ballet and acrobatics to the girls and square dancing to everyone age 6 to 76. This only lasted for a year or two, but twice a month most of the town would gather in the fairgrounds meeting room to do-se-do and alamand left. I was usually paired with a little boy who was in my first grade class. One night, after an especially invigorating “trade your partner,” when I was once again hand-in-hand with him, he gave me a big kiss.
I can’t remember my reaction, but I certainly remember his mother’s. Abandoning her “trade your partner,” she came flying across the dance floor to shake her finger in his face. “Shame on you, Brian!” she said, “Shame on you!” (Not his real name.) She then grabbed him by the upper arm and jerked him off the dance floor to go sit in a chair by the wall. I was left without a partner and so had to dance with Will Prater, a grown man who was jerky and severe in his movements and who nearly dislocated my shoulder every time he swung me around.
Brian’s mother’s fervor in upbraiding him worked. He never dated a girl, let alone kissed one, for his entire grade school and high school life. He did ask me to the prom my sophomore year, but unfortunately I had accepted a date with another boy the night before. By then I had a pretty big crush on him, fueled by his third grade tauntings of ‘Mayor’s daughter, mayor’s daughter,” when my dad was, indeed, mayor of the town, as well as a lifetime of torments in study hall, where he would break my pencils or pass me notes upbraiding me for scoring higher than he did on chemistry tests . In my town, teasing was foreplay, but unfortunately in this case, the foreplay led to nothing, since he never repeated his offer of a date, in spite of his dad’s best efforts.
By my junior year, I was dating a boy from out of town. “What are you doing dating that White River boy?” chided Brian’s dad every time I ran into him on the street or in our little town’s one general store where I had gone to run an errand for my mom or to buy penny candy or a bag of Russian peanuts (our name for sunflower seeds.) “There are plenty of good boys right here in your own town!”
I knew he meant his own son, and had I not been in the throes of first lust with that “White River boy,” that would have been fine with me, as my longtime crush had continued. But, alas, Brian never heeded his dad’s hints, either, until my sophomore year in college when, both home for the summer from college in different states, he finally asked me out. There is no crush like the one where contact is long delayed. I remember one very hot and heavy kissing session before we both went back to our separate lives.
We both married older people with children. Both became swamped in our own lives. I see him now and then at school reunions and of course crushes rarely survive a combination of reality and the passage of years. But everyone needs a first crush, and perhaps he doesn’t remember that I might have been his, but he has the distinction of being mine. I wonder if he would be surprised.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.” Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?<