It wasn't something that I remember starting, I just remember it being there. I've got memories where it's not there, and then memories where it is. There's not a certain moment in which it started I don't think. It was probably just my random seven-year-old mind you know? Plus, it wasn't as if it meant anything, just a first crush of sorts and I don't even know if you'd call it that. Maybe it was just fun for me to say 'I like so and so'. All the other girls were doing it so I guess I wanted in on the fun. I don't know why I picked him. He wasn't anything special. I don't even remember talking to him except for once in the hallway because I said the word 'sex' and he thought it was cool. We were only seven. I don't think I even knew what the word meant, I just knew I shouldn't say it, so of course, I said it.
I remember feeling brave. Like I could own the world if I just kept saying bad words over and over. What a phase that was. I think my parents still may have psychological scars. But that's another story. This story is about him.
It wasn't life changing, the way I felt about him. It was more of a thing to laugh about. I didn't want to be with him, I just wanted to chase him around the playground and have him chase me back. I wanted to trade things from our sack lunches with him and I wanted him to stick up for me if any bullies ever bothered me. I wanted him to pick me to be the helper when he was passing out his birthday cupcakes. I wanted him to stick out his tongue at all the other girls and save a smile for me. Nothing big. Everything small.
I remember once, we were playing prison ball in gym. This was before gym became an embarrassing thing for me. No one smelled, no one sweated, and you didn't have to worry about your boobs flopping all over the place (although, I still don't have that problem.) He was captured and I was throwing balls like a madwoman trying to get him out. I kept thinking that if I threw him a ball and he caught it, we'd be boyfriend and girlfriend. Exciting right? Very. So, I was grabbing every ball in sight doing dance moves across the gym floor to avoid being hit. I thought I was being very graceful, until I twisted my ankle and cried. This other girl threw him the ball and he caught it. Then she laughed in my sad little face. I hated her from then on.
I sort of forgot about him after that. I read my first chapter book, I learned to ride my bike without training wheels, and I figured out that the worst word in the world rhymes with 'duck'. I entered third grade with my mind as sharp as a tack while I excelled at my multiplication facts. I thought I was the smartest kid ever when I learned how to divide sixty by fifteen. It's four by the way.
He moved away, and I didn't notice until the year was halfway gone. But it didn't matter; I was older now, more mature at the age of nine than any other girl I knew. I lost my last tooth, and I danced in the talent show to the Spice Girls, and found out Santa was fake. My life was full of small epiphanies; I had no need for a boy. Plus, they were gross. All they did was make farting noises with their armpits and get all gross and sweaty at recess. But I, I was a sophisticated woman with needs. I was in need of an older man. Much older, like twelve.
I fell in love with my best friend's older brother and spent the whole summer at their house trying to get his attention. But then his friend said I was a loser and I didn't go back for at least a month. I decided I didn't want a boy at all.
Until fifth grade. Fifth grade was the year of Austin. He was in my class and he gave me a dandelion and told me I was pretty. So naturally I was his girlfriend. I often wrote about him in my diary, saying that he was in fact, the love of my life. We were married in October at the Halloween party. I was dressed as a gypsy and he was some blood-sucking thing. I can't remember what he called it. Anyway, he gave me a candy necklace and promised me he'd buy me a dog. He was a very persuasive boy.
I said yes and we were married for exactly three days. He told me he liked someone else after those three days of paradise and he said he wanted the candy necklace back. I told him I ate it and I promptly took it down from my bookshelf in my room and threw it in the toilet. I got in huge trouble when the bowl overflowed.
Sixth grade I promised myself I'd be a changed woman but I dated Michael instead and he gave me a valentine with three heart stickers on it. I filled notebook pages with 'I love Michael' and all those things. Funny thing is, I talked to the guy more before I dated him then when I did. With sixth grade came body odor, and hair in funny places, and the notion that boys will laugh at you for hours if you say anything wrong. So, I was pretty silent that year and a lot of my talkative moments were spent with flushed cheeks and sweaty palms.
We held hands once, walking home from the library. Mine was sticky from a candy cane and I didn't know what to do with my fingers. It was sort of weird, his hand was hot and he walked really slowly. So I had to sort of count the time it took for him to take a step. I couldn't talk and count at the same time so I ended up tripping a few times. It wasn't the best experience of my life, but it was the farthest I'd ever gotten with a boy before, so I wasn't complaining. None of my other friends had held a guy's hand so I was the head honcho for about a week and a half. Until Laura kissed some guy.
My two years in junior high were the most awkward years of my life. It was mind boggling to me that we actually had to change our clothes, in front of other people for gym. It was unthinkable. And how come no one told me that I was supposed to start shaving my legs like two years before that? And I thought a period was supposed to come at the end of a sentence, not all over my pants. And was that sweat coming out of my armpits? And why was I growing to tall for all my pants faster than the speed of light? Life was a series of questions no one seemed to want to answer for me. I was lost. I was confused. And I had a huge zit on my forehead.
The summer after eighth grade, we moved. And I hated my parents for two weeks straight as we packed up everything I loved and left. I said goodbye to my friends, we cried, we promised to email, and we forgot to get each other's email addresses. Once my whole life was in brown boxes and loaded up into a U-Haul, we drove forty minutes, stopped, got out, and moved in.
I lay on my mattress for a whole day with the light off and the mismatched sheets over my head, refusing to get up and unpack until we moved back, it wasn't too late after all. But alas, by lunch I was hungry and it was rather lonely shut up in an empty room. I forgave my parents eventually because how was I supposed to get my allowance otherwise?
There were two days of calm before the storm and on the third day, I started high school. Alone and afraid, armed with my schedule and locker combination, I waved goodbye to my parents and got on the bus. All the high school aged kids were sprawled across the back few seats and I was going to sit there, but I plopped down in the front seat and cursed at myself for being such a baby.
I found a friend to latch on to that first day and I was satisfied with life for a few days. That's when I saw him. The boy from grade school. The boy who thought I was neat for saying 'sex'. The boy who didn't catch my ball in gym. The boy who was strangely gorgeous. The boy who was dating the head cheerleader.
Yes, it was just my luck that I'd fall for the most out of my league guy I could find. But I passed him in the hall one day and he nodded at me. "It's Leslie, right?" he asked. I nodded.
Too bad that wasn't my name. But hey, if he wanted me to be Leslie, then by God, I'd be Leslie.
Karma really wasn't on my side that day because my only friend decided that she'd do me a favor and set him straight. "No you jerk, her name's Lisa. Gosh." He scowled at her, and looked at me like I was from another planet and then walked away. "What are you on anyway?" she asked, turning to me. "Your name's not Leslie first of all, and why are you talking to him? Of all people." She scoffed and steered me in the opposite direction.
"He is here on the social scale." She said, raising her hand in the air. "And we are here," she said squatting down and slapping her hand on the tile floor. "We are the dirt beneath their pretty little toes, only here to make them feel important. Get used to it."
I really enjoyed the supportiveness of this girl. April Johnson was the skinniest girl on the face of the earth. She had short magenta hair and really bad acne on her forehead. But who was I to judge? Plus, being a loser was better than being alone.
I found that I fit in with April and her group. We were all loners who didn't want to be alone. The rejects, the extra puzzle pieces that you throw in the box because you forgot which puzzle they belong to. It was nice though, being part of something.
April had a college boyfriend named Thomas and she thought he was 'the bee's knees' as she so eloquently put it. He was tall and gangly, with a little patch of hair right below his lip and tickled when he kissed me on the cheek, which he did, often.
April spent most Friday nights at Thomas' dorm and she came home early in the morning. I'd usually stay the night on Friday's camped out on her couch, flipping through the channels, and covering for her when her parents came down. I wonder if they thought it was strange that April spent most of her life in the bathroom. I could never think of anything else to say, so it was always, "Nature called."
First quarter ended and I wasn't surprised that I had all A's. What else had I to do with my time anyway? It's not like people were fighting for my attention. It was just April, and me and our little group of extra puzzle pieces.
This boy named Joseph asked me to homecoming. He was in the puzzle piece gang. I said yes because it felt nice to have someone ask me. He bought me a corsage and I kissed him on the cheek. He was nice, and I liked him. I could talk to him and not be nervous, I could just be me. Plus, his parents had bought him a car for his sixteenth birthday and getting rides from him sure beat rides from mom and dad.
He was my first kiss. I was pretty late on that one. April had already gone all the way and everyone else I knew had at least rounded second base by the time I was fifteen. We were sitting in my room, working on homework and he kept clearing his throat like he was nervous.
"Joseph, are you alright?" I asked, afraid that he was dying of an asthma attack or something.
"Fine." He said and I leaned forward to grab a pencil. He grabbed my hand and squeezed his eyes shut, puckering up and leaning forward. I didn't know what to do. Was I supposed to sit there, or was I supposed to lean forward too? And did I want to kiss him? And-he finished the deal by pressing his lips to mine for a split second and pulling back. I wiped my lips and looked around. It was very, um, wet.
I didn't have time to gage if I liked it or not because it was over too fast. I thought I should like it. It was a kiss after all. Wasn't I supposed to like those? Was something wrong with me because I didn't like it? I ended up convincing myself I did in fact like it.
After that, life got interesting. Okay, so that's a lie. My life stayed the same. Second term ended and Christmas was over before I had a chance to breathe. Joseph kissed me again on New Year's and then told me he was seeing someone else. So my New Year's resolution was NO BOYS.
That was until I was picked as Brad Thatcher's lab partner. Brad, as in major jock, second hand man to the king of the freshmen. Who's the king you ask? Logan, grade school boy, the one who called me Leslie, the one who was still incredibly good looking. I asked God that night why he would put me in such a situation.
Needless to say, I never got an answer.
A/N: Alright, I really don't know where I'm going with this, I just got the idea this afternoon and I had to write it down. If you guys like it, let me know. If you hate it, let me know, too. haha. Thanks!