- Elementary Love
Just a note: this is the first essay of the series, but it's my least favorite. If it seems boring, skip to the next one.
In second grade, I had three "boyfriends" at once. Had they consented to be my boyfriends? Not really. That didn't seem essential. On one of the last days of the school year, I snapped off three sprigs of tiny white blossoms from the tree in my front yard and gave them to each of my boyfriends. They were pretty confused, and ungrateful, but I was undaunted.
In third grade, I had my first actual boyfriend, exclusive, consensual, and everything. In my excitement, I went a little overboard for Valentine's day. My mom let me pick out two items from that glorious aisle in Walmart with all the pink and red stuffed animals, fake roses, and overly-sensual boxes of chocolate. I wandered the aisle, thinking of him, wondering what kind of tokens of true love I would receive on V-day.
The whole Valentine's day exchange was a disaster. My over-the-top gifts made his Valentine receptacle, a decorated paper lunch sack stapled to the wall, fall down in an awkward heap. I was pretty embarrassed, especially when I learned that all he had put into my receptacle was a generic little Valentine's day card with a Lifesaver taped to it, a broken Lifesaver.
We were clearly on different pages about each other. We broke up later that day.
In fourth grade, I went out with Tom. His mom took us to a minor league baseball game once; he slow skated with me at Skateland; and he slow danced with me at our school's Spring Fling. He was a great boyfriend.
From my lime green, frog-shaped journal:
"Most people don't understand the true meaning of love until age 20. As for me and Amy, we know already what love is about. Love is feeling and compassion for another living creature. Tom, I adore! He is so funny! He is very nice. And plus he is good looking. Perfect!"
Tom and I dated for eleven months, but eventually we grew apart, and I wrote a note to let him go. My best friend Amy gave a Dear John note to her boyfriend on the playground on the same day. We were finally free to move on up and date boys from other elementary schools. We pictured ourselves having romantic adventures with boys who owned scooters, like something out of a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.
I had a whole slough of exotic boyfriends in the fifth grade. I met all of them at the rollerskating rink in the next town over, Skateland, which was essentially a night club for children.
One of these boyfriends came to my birthday party at the movie theater that summer. I waited and waited for him to put his arm around me during the movie, but he never did. Finally, I grabbed his arm and draped it around myself with a smile. He seemed relieved, and he left it there for the rest of the movie.
That was the year I started writing pop songs as an outlet for my excessive romantic feelings. I mostly just regurgitated all the clichés I was hearing in my steady diet of N*Sync, Shania Twain, Savage Garden, etc.
You've got the most
unbelievable blue eyes
I've ever seen.
You are the forever-burning fire
inside of me.
When I broke up with my sixth grade boyfriend, I found myself with enough material to pen my most original and complete song yet.
Where you at?
Where'd you go?
Because I need to know
what you're feeling inside,
what you're trying to hide.
We're a thousand miles apart,
can't get through to your heart.
When I look into your eyes,
please tell me what you're feeling inside. . .