I was in grade four.
Nine years old.
At the dawn of a new age.
I had discovered boys.
Or more specifically, boy.
KS was smart.
Taller than me.
And my neighbor.
He had everything important going for him.
At first, I didn’t know what to do with my newfound crush.
I really didn’t know what it was.
I had had plenty of boy friends in the past.
Boys that I competed against at every opportunity.
But none that I just wanted to . . . be near.
Puzzled, I did all the normal things.
Followed him around at a discrete distance.
Hid behind cars and buildings if he looked in my direction.
Stared across the room at him in class.
Avoided him at recess.
What was this weird attraction?
I had suddenly developed mental ‘global positioning’.
I could tell you the precise location of KS at any time of the day.
Without ever seeming to look at him.
I’m sure I was pretty obvious in my interest.
But when you’re nine - and you wish it - you’re invisible.
Our class had a Box Social.
Okay, I know that dates me, but the fact remains.
All of the boys brought a box lunch for two and then shared it with his assigned ‘girl’ partner.
We lined up and the teacher numbered us off.
I tired to position myself so that I would match KS.
But my counting was off.
I ended up with a boy who brought peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Peanut butter and banana?
I had never heard of such a thing.
Nor had my stomach.
I looked longingly across the playground at KS and his partner.
Happily munching on whatever KS had brought.
Later that day, tired of listening to my bleating, my friends cornered KS and his friends and wrung a confession out of him.
He liked me!
It was the happiest day of my life!
So what did we do then?
We were nine.
Oh, occasionally, we would . . . you know . . . talk.
And once, I sat next to him in Sunday School class.
But that’s about it.
My family moved.
And soon another crush filled my life.
I hadn’t seen or thought about KS for nearly fifty years.
Then, one day, there he was.
In my church congregation.
Now, until that moment, I couldn’t remember what the nine-year-old boy had looked like.
But I knew him as soon as I saw him.
Strangely, he hadn’t changed much at all.
And definitely older.
But still that boy.
My first crush.
It made me smile.