November 22, 2006

Childhood Crush Tag

Coaster Punchman has tagged me - directly this time - and the theme is childhood crushes. He also tagged Beth and Bubs.

My romantic life thus far has pretty much been a series of misguided and unreturned affection, so I'll do you the favor of just hitting some emblematic highlights. Here goes:

First grade. My family moved from our roots in Indiana to the very different climate of Arizona, ostensibly so my dad could take time off from his stressful job and get his blood pressure under control. (This was at a period when my parents had kids in college, a rebellious, frequently expelled high school kid, and high-maintenance little ones as well. The details that explain why was the opposite of a low-stress environment constitute a tragicomic novel in themselves.)

This was also my first exposure to anything that could be described as ethnic diversity, a concept I found intriguing. I developed an immense, almost incapacitating crush on a little Mexican boy in my class. His name was Jorge. Big brown eyes, sweet smile, totally adorable. Apparently he had a thing for little blonde girls (yes, I'm a natural blonde, but let's not get into that right now), because he stared wordlessly at me as much as I did him. I was utterly smitten, which of course meant I couldn't speak when he was anywhere near, and only communicated through punches and pinches. Our love was not meant to be. A year after landing in Tucson, we packed the family station wagon again, and headed back to central Indiana, to the familiar comfort of Midwestern blizzards and town after town of cornfields and white people. Oh, sweet little Jorge. I think of you still.

(Incidentally, this experience must have imprinted a lot of the kids in my family with a predilection for ethnic, specifically Hispanic hotties, because my siblings have fallen insanely in love with and paired off with an impressive assortment of Cubans, Brazilians, Colombians, and Puerto Ricans. Why, hello, Benicio. Winkety wink.)

Second grade. I was always a precocious and voracious reader, and early on began reading my older siblings' books in earnest. I dug into something my brother A. brought home from school, called Tom Sawyer, because of the very cute boy on the cover. He was reckless, and rebellious, and more than a little wild. It mattered not that he was fictional. It was love.

Fifth grade. Then there was Alan, the very cute blonde boy who returned as much affection for me as Tom Sawyer had. That was the year I got a Q-Bert wristwatch for Christmas, which made me THE coolest girl in school for about two weeks. This was during my "second tallest girl in the entire class, acne already kicking in, one boob bigger than the other, braces with rubber bands and headgear I had to wear to school, unflatteringly large glasses with my initials in the corner, Mom insisted that tight poodle perms were a good choice" (and no, I am not making a single one of those details up) phase, so I was willing to work whatever marginal social advantage I had to be closer to Alan. The watch was pretty much it. Everyone wanted to play Q-Bert, incuding Alan. I let him, but the catch was, I would never remove the watch from my wrist. This was a policy put in place to protect the watch. Of course, this also meant that Alan would actually touch me for as long as five minutes at a time. It was magical. It was thrilling. Then the battery wore out, and I slid back down the social ladder like it was greased with Crisco.

I'm heading home to Indiana to fall unthinkingly into dysfunctional family behavior patterns, sneak out behind the barn for furtive smokes, and stuff my turkeyhole, and won't be posting again until next week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

10 comments:

Coaster Punchman said...

Bella, with your engaging writing and captivating tales, true requited love is just a few clicks away. The love your readers have for you is REAL, baby!

Bella Rossa said...

Aw, CP...you make me blush.

You never know, true requited love could be just a short plane trip away. Sorry, sorry...that's the "wine while cooking" talking.

But I do love you, too. Mwah!

Prego said...

Funny. My wife fell for a Hispanic hottie as well.

I remember in ninth grade a German girl named Johanna Müeller seemed to have a crush on me. I was too stupid to notice. I just had a large handful of meaningless crushes... culminating with either of the Beckys on the Rosanne show and Six from Blossom.

Kristy said...

why must you remind me of benicio!? WHY? also of my unfailing devotion to you, and your writing....

Bella Rossa said...

Prego - hee hee. I will always love the "Identical Beckys" episode of Roseanne, wherein the original Becky returned after three years with an homage to The Patty Duke Show.

Kristy - right back atcha.

Dale said...

I love the leaving on of the watch so Alan would have to actually be in contact with you. Your genius goes way back Bella.

wonderturtle said...

Wow--your stories are evocative! (I just hit CP with that recently too, but I'm not an adjective whore, I swear.)

Bella Rossa said...

Thanks, guys. These posts are fun.

Carlos said...

hope you are not forgetting about Colombians ;)

Bella Rossa said...

Got 'em!