I was obsessed with love from an early age. I had my first little boyfriend when I was four and once I started school I fell prey to a series of crushes resulting in endless foolish behavior. These poor grade-school boys only wanted to be left alone to play kick-ball and were alternately confused and terrified by my invitations to “dinner-and-a-movie,” the perfumed love notes delivered on foot to their homes and, worst case scenario, my chasing them down in the schoolyard and trying to kiss them. I still cringe.
But everything changed in grade five. We were into sending notes to boys with lists of girls (ourselves at the top) and requests for them to rate each girl on a scale of one-to-ten. (Progressive, I know.) One day the boy I LOVED sent me a note. It went something like this:
“Dear Danielle, I know I told Kayla* I rate you as a 2. But actually I rate you as a 10. Love, Brad*”
I cannot convey the thumping heart, the squealing, the incessant repeating to myself of the phrase “actually, I rate you as a ten,” the thrill this excellent rating and the note itself, gave me.
In a subsequent note Brad asked me to “go around” and thus began a tumultuous, on-and-off relationship (he’d drop me back to a 2 every so often) that lasted from grade 5 all the way through most of grade 7. During those three years Brad kissed me six times; four times on the lips and twice on the cheek. He also gave me my first roses—an impressive bouquet, especially for grade 6—which I dried and saved only to come home one day and find them gone. Not realizing their MAJOR SIGNIFICANCE, my mom had thrown them out. Sadly, this was also during one of the times Brad had dumped me and I was hanging onto those roses like I was Catherine to his Heathcliff…or maybe Heathcliff to his Catherine.
I wept and shrieked like only a precocious, love-lorn eleven-year-old can. My mom was sick about it and together we found a couple of stray petals and carefully set them in the box where I kept his letters, his class photos and some Jolly Ranchers he’d left with a note in my desk.
Eventually we moved from Minnesota to Toronto which prompted another getting-back-together. Brad liked a challenge. But a few months of passionate letters later (keeping in mind, we were twelve) he dumped me one final time.
I pined horribly, swore off men and (of course!) never so much as looked at another until I met and married The Oppressor, my one true love.
Well…”never” might be a slight exaggeration. There was, after all, a whole new batch of Canadian boys to terrify and confuse.
Thanks for another great week at The Ball!
*Names have been changed to protect both the innocent, the guilty and the foolish.