The first day of first grade a little girl introduced herself to me as Sierra. She was pretty and blonde and reminded me of the popular girls portrayed on the Disney Channel. I was to be the third girl coming in to Ms. Mindy’s first grade class out of a bountiful seven children; I was also the only child to come in midyear.
After Sierra had introduced herself the first thing to come out of her mouth was, “Do you see that boy over there?”
I followed her pointing finger and my eyes beheld a young boy wearing glasses, with curly blond hair, and a mischievous grin.
“That’s Ian,” Sierra giggled. “Isn’t he cute?”
I was stunned by the question. It hardly seemed like something you’d say to a girl you just met.
I didn’t dare to break my gaze away from the boy as a wave of heat flooded my pale cheeks. It wasn’t that I thought the boy was cute, I didn’t even know him, it was the thought that this girl might think I liked this boy, like-like.
“I, I don’t know. I haven’t really met him yet.” I turned back to Sierra, finally tearing my eyes away from the boy, only to discover that she had moved on to more amusing things.
I started school about a week later, playing the shy new girl role quite well. I wish I could say that Sierra had turned out to be a lifelong friend but the next time we met she had another friend, a girl who had been sick from school upon our first meeting, and the two seemed to enjoy playing let’s pick on the new girl.’
This game often involved hanging out with and then ditching me or making fun of my clothes and so forth. Somehow my inability to make friends brought Ian and me together. He either took pity, or perhaps, felt a strange fondness towards me and soon I found myself a group of diverse friends including the silly yet loveable boys in my class. However there were many times when Ian wasn’t there to wave his magic wand of acceptance. This led me to become well acquainted with the other misfits at our 40 student school. I became friends with the fifth grader that had been held back twice, the one girl in the third grade class and the boy who claimed to love her, and occasionally I’d sit on the bus with the fourth grader who was rumored to have just gotten out of Juvie.
The latter was an odd sort. He made me uncomfortable with his sly gaze and velvet voice. He called me kid and said that I was naïve. Despite the scariness that came with sitting with this boy I found myself feeling sorry for him. I’d heard the rumors, I knew that he didn’t have many friends, but he hadn’t been mean to me. He seemed…misunderstood.
Meanwhile I couldn’t help it but Sierra’s words ‘isn’t he cute’ were constantly echoing in my head. Ian, the name was always on the tip of my tongue, his face always smiling inside my head. I had become obsessed. I tried not to be. I tried to sooth the butterflies in my stomach, the pounding in my chest, my scorching cheeks, but I failed miserably. I hadn’t really known the true meaning of love before, but at this moment I was sure that I’d found it.
On just another snowy winter day, Ian informed me that he, too, would be riding the bus. The two of us laughed in delight over the extra time together. We boarded me first and him following faithfully behind. I stopped abruptly, however, when the Juvie kid asked me to sit next to him. My usual blush had started up again as I tried to politely tell him that I’d rather sit with Ian. “Come on sit with me,” the kid pleaded. My attempts of politely refusing were going nowhere. Suddenly Ian turned to the older boy,” She doesn’t want to sit with you! Leave her alone!” My eyes widened. I had never seen him so cross with anyone before. I couldn’t believe what was happening. The boy was now shouting threats, so Ian grabbed my hand and pulled me to the back of the bus.
“Ian, that wasn’t very nice.”
Still holding my hand, Ian rolled his eyes and flashed me his famous grin.
“You’re too, nice. You shouldn’t be hanging out with people like that.”
I knew I should be arguing, defending, the other boy, but I was very much aware of the hand around my own and so said nothing as I was beckoned to slide into the same seat as my crush. No one else had chosen to sit in the back of the bus, and so it was just me and him sitting together in silence. I wanted something, so badly that it was tearing away at my insides. I just couldn’t stand it anymore, and so I turned to the passenger next to me, the one with dorky glasses, light blue eyes, and a wide toothed grin. “Ian I like you too.”
I had ceased to breathe as I waited for the rejection I knew that was sure to come.
Cool?! It wasn’t even close to the response I was expecting. It didn’t give me the closer I sought. What did cool even mean? An unbearable silence followed building the tension until it burst.
“No I mean I like-like you.”
Silence, again, until finally a single “oh.” Before I knew it his blue eyes were staring straight in to my own.
“I like you, like-like, you too.”
A Semi-Autobiographical Reflection into the Nature of Love
Relationships fascinate me. They have for much of my childhood and they continue to now as I conduct my own experiments on the subject.
My mother was 19 when she became pregnant, my father was 23. They were college students who shared passion for jam band music and the cultural lifestyle that came with it. Each had their own issues with relationships. My father’s parents were divorced, as a teenager he asked his father if he could live with him and was rejected. My mother was sexually abused when she was nine, and then raped later at fourteen trying to run away from home. Both had experimented with drugs and were used to making dangerous life altering decisions. They tried to make it work, but split up when I was two. From then on I lived with my mother; almost every boyfriend she let in to her life was abusive in one way or the other. Relationships have greatly affected my life, often in a negative way, and despite this I’ve always maintained that love, true love, is possible.
I write when I feel an emotion too complicated to express any other way. It turns out that the majority of my complicated emotions are similarly themed as are my deep reflections and anything else that would cause me to write.
The work I’ve compiled here stems from tenth grade to the present, though I’ve been telling stories my whole life and often on similar subject matter. I wish to explore what love is particularly in relation to adolescents who must simultaneously combat the question of self while learning to accept another person unselfishly and unconditionally.
I want my work to be relatable; I want to capture the innocence that comes with youth and the challenges that face them. I want those who read this to be left with a new respect, and hope, and faith for the love shared between people of all ages.
I miss you,
I miss you a lot, I guess,
when it’s quiet
when I’m alone
when I remember too.
I miss your touch your kiss your smell
I miss cuddling and laughing and understanding,
I miss that look you get with the puppy dog eyes or the way you pout
I miss the fights the holding the sweetness
I miss the silliness the comfort the absolute resolution,
“You’re the one for me” the only one.
I miss when you do things just to see me smile.
But we’ve been losing that,
that comfort that bond
sometimes you resent me,
and it’s ok I think we can make it.
I know I love you.
There are so many opportunities so many fresh faces, but I’m content,
Every minute we’re apart you become more and more like the person you think you are,
a person I don’t like,
who doesn’t add or contribute anything to my life.
I’m unsure if I should let go, or if I want to be here for you, to help you become a better man, a better person.
I want you to be happy,
To be content
To enjoy life just as much as I do.
I wonder if I prevent that
If you will grow to hate me to resent me.
I couldn’t bare it.
I care for you
Like a mother cares for her child
I need you like a daughter needs her father
But mostly, I just want us to grow together and always
I need you as someone I can share life with
I want you to help make me a better person just as I desire to do with you.
But do you need me?
Do you want me?
Or do you just need someone to love you unconditionally?
Am I nothing more than an idea?
Could you be happy?
With some one else?
Are we breaking?
Is it ending?
Is it done?
What if you are not the person I thought
The person I know,
You to be.