Last night, John went out to dinner with his ex (the one who got mugged on his way to John's house last Halloween weekend, if you remember). While I was waiting for him to come pick me up, I decided to knit.
I don't know if this is true for other knitters, but once I get in my groove, lost among the knits and purls, my mind starts to wander. Last night, it wandered back to junior high school.
I think for most people junior high was not a pleasant experience. For me, it's probably where I began to perfect the "v" in Vuboq as a defense mechanism. As these unhappy memories washed over me, I managed to find a fleck of gold, a glittering happy memory in the mud: my first, unrequited boycrush.
The bus ride to my school was long. I was one of the first students picked up and one of the last dropped off. Sometimes it felt like I spent more time on the bus than I did in school. I'm all for the desegregation of schools, but, good lord!, did the bus rides suck! The first few months were tolerable. I usually found a seat near the front, opened a book and read until we arrived.
Then, one day, the bus made a new stop. Two new students, brother and sister, boarded. They sat together and the bus went on its merry way. A few days later, the brother boarded the bus by himself, looked at me and said, "Can I sit here?"
We talked the entire ride. We talked about everything and nothing and, when I got off the bus, I was in *love*. I had one of those intensely satisfied feelings that you get after meeting someone with whom you clicked.
Darren was a year older and in 8th grade. We sat beside each other on the bus every day. We talked. I looked into his stunning blue eyes. He was a swimmer with a tan and sun-bleached hair from his summers in the pool. He would stop conversations in the halls with his friends to say hi to me as I walked by. We had sleepovers at our houses. We took long walks in the woods behind my house. He would talk about his crush on one of the popular girls. I could never talk about my crush.
When the year ended, he left to go to another school. I managed to survive 8th grade on my own. I had a few friends, not more than you could count on one hand ... but I've always felt it's better to have a few really good friends than a lot of people who could stab you in the back at any moment.
For ninth grade, our school system consolidated the schools. Previously, students went to separate schools for K-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Yes, it was majorly fucked up, because every two years some of your friends would go to a different school. With consolidation, schools became K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
Darren and I would be attending the same school again. We met that summer at band practice and renewed our friendship. His junior year he was drum major of the marching band. The next year, in a desperate attempt to spend more time with him, I tried out for drum major. Amazingly, I was chosen. I'm not really sure how or why, except maybe because the band director loved to yell at me the most?
I convinced Darren not to skip his senior prom and to ask this cute little freshman who had a crush on him. We all went to the prom together and had an after prom breakfast at my house. He graduated and went to UNC-Chapel Hill to become a doctor.
Eventually, we lost contact. I heard he didn't get accepted to medical school. Then, I heard that he was getting married. A few months ago, I decided to google him. Apparently he's some sort of "new age" doctor now. Although I couldn't find any pictures, I imagine him being slightly overweight now. Mainly because most of my crushes seem to have gotten married and packed on the marriage pounds. He's probably got a gut and a few kids. But, I choose to remember him as I knew him in junior high and high school: tan, muscular, with a bright smile just for me.
I hope he's happy.