Chapter 1: "The Ginger Tomboy"

Were there any girls in high school that you always regretted never asking for date? I had just one: a short, skinny, flat-chested ginger tomboy with long, slightly curly red hair and the prettiest unadorned face I had ever seen. The only day she ever wore makeup was for yearbook pictures. On those days, even the boys who had tormented her with the nickname "Flatsie" flirted and begged for dates. Once. They never repeated the error a second time. It seems my pretty ginger tomboy was so stunning with makeup on that lots of boys didn't recognize her. I did. I simply commented, "You sure dress up nice."

The first time I saw her was in seventh grade in junior high school. We were both geeks in the top academic track, and she seemed to have a knack for ending up in the far row from the door in the front seat. I always seemed to end up in the front row seat next to her. That was back in the days when teachers arranged students in the desks in alphabetic order by last name. It was first period English class. I remember I glanced at her as I sat down. I arranged my books, but couldn't help sneaking a sideways peek at her face and hair. Such a pretty mess of freckles! She squirmed in her seat for a few seconds, and then suddenly turned directly facing my chair, and poked me.

"Am I that pretty?"

"Huh?"

"Am I that pretty? You're staring at me."

The teacher walked in and immediately started taking attendance saving me from the need to make a response. She looked at me several times during class making me squirm. When the bell finally rang, she poked me again.

"Why don't you just tell me you love me right now and get it over with?"

"Huh?"

"I know an instantaneous crush when I see it. I never thought I was that cute, but the way you looked at me makes me think that perhaps I should reconsider my opinion of myself."

"Do you have something like a 150 I.Q.? You talk like an English teacher."

"I have a 138 I.Q. I spent all of elementary school terrorizing my teachers by correcting their spelling errors on the blackboard. I don't know how some of my elementary teachers made it through college."

"You're scary." I got up to leave. Just as she had all her stuff gathered together to leave I leaned over and whispered in her ear. "You're also the prettiest girl I've ever seen."

"I know," she said, and darted out the door.