Her name is not important to you but it was important to me. From the moment I saw her and talked to her I had fallen in love. Although, to be honest, what I was experiencing was brand new and so it is only in retrospect that I made the determination that it was love. She was curious to me. Alone, quiet, and soft-spoken. She invited me into her world and we would spend time talking to one another at recess or whenever our paths would cross. We would play and flirt with one another around the big oak tree by the music room. I wanted to spend more and more time with her.
My journey began with simply following her. I wanted to make sure that our paths crossed constantly because we were not in the same class. One noon hour I noticed that she had signed up for some meeting and had entered the band room. I quickly signed up and entered. I saw her sitting down on the other side of this now crowded room and I took a seat, desperately trying to figure out how to get closer to her in an effort to talk to her. I was oblivious to what the meeting was about, only that it served up this opportunity and I didn’t want to blow it. The teacher and the principal took charge of this large group of kids and proceeded to start the meeting. Momentarily, my attention was drawn to the adults in the room as I was curious as to what this meeting might be about.
They were discussing the upcoming school play, “Alice in Wonderland” and the purpose of this meeting was to assign roles, parts and assignments to everyone there. “Woah”, I thought to myself. “I need to get out of here.” But I couldn’t. The room was too full and I was too far into the crowd to make a beeline for the door. I resolved myself to the meeting but quickly began to see this as an opportunity to spend even more time with this girl. With my hope renewed I looked back to where she was, taking my attention away from the teacher and the principal. To my dismay I couldn’t find her anywhere. It would be a few weeks later, when I finally had a chance to talk to her, that she shared with me although she was initially interested in being in the school play – she quickly changed her mind and left before the meeting got started. I, however, was not so lucky. After quickly dodging the bullet of playing one of the singing flowers (which required me to wear leotards – an absolutely horrible idea for me at the time) I ended up having to sing in the choir.
Over the next few months we grew closer. We would make a point of seeking each out to meet during recess and lunch. I would walk her home after school and life was good. The one and only time that I was invited over to her house I was forced to bring along my little brother (apparently my mom was adjusting to the fact that her son was now liking girls and my little brother was the insurance policy that I would behave myself. Or, maybe, my mom just wanted to ruin my life.) Her mom was there and it became immediately evident that this girl lived in some alternate reality. The home was full of greys and was dark. We were only allowed to sit at the dining room table, not even on the same side of the table, and visit. My brother let out a burp that would make Barney Gumble proud. In a house full of lace doilies this was probably the worst thing that could have happened. In spite of it all, this girl and I connected and it became obvious to me that we liked each other.
Except for one thing. Her mom did not. Actually, I don’t think it was just me. After seeking some clarification from this girl before she was ripped from my life I think her mom did not like any men. It was clear that something quite horrible had happened in that family and this girl never did speak of her father for fear that her mom would be standing close by. But one thing was clear now, we were not allowed to see each other any longer. We attempted to stay in touch, even after I left this city and it was as long as five years later when I received a letter from her. I was excited and scared at the same time when I received the letter. However, the letter was so cryptic, so thick, so arsty fartsy that it was as if she had become some completely different person. I was saddened by this turn of events but happy that I could now close that chapter of my life.
But, back in the moment I was heart broken. It stands to reason then that within a few weeks of grappling with the loss of my first love, nothing in my life made any sense. I had made an amazing intimate connection with a girl and although we had never kissed we had held hands and that was enough for me. But, now, nothing, and I found myself once again alone in this place, like every place, looking for connection and companionship. So, when I look back and wonder how it was that I found myself walking down a makeshift isle at recess time, with about ten other kids lining up on either side of me and this girl, who’s name I really do forget, walking toward the makeshift podium where some other kid was about to pronounce us as married – it all made sense.
I rebounded. This other girl liked me and I liked being liked. We got caught up in some artificially inflated fall romance of sorts and somewhere in the zaniness of it all the idea of marrying each other seemed to make sense. We walked down that isle and we both said I do. Two weeks later one of us called off our marriage – it doesn’t really matter which of us it was – we both knew that this wouldn’t last and perhaps we were both using each other for all the wrong reasons anyway. Such was life I suppose. A heart ignited, set afire by some mysterious other only to find that they remained just out of grasp, making you wonder if they really existed at all, only to then fall into some sort of substitute, trying to fill the hole where the fire once burned.