Monday, December 12, 2005

I Raise My Glass At Thee, But Definitely Not TO Thee

I was eleven when I first recognized that fluttery, stomach dropping sensation as an actually crush on a boy. Though I'm sure I'd felt it previously, in a weird kid kind of way, I'd never actually put my foot on PRECISELY what it was. Whenever my dad asked me about boys, I stuck diligently to my rehearsed line of "No thanks, Daddy. Boys are gro-TESQUE." Wherein he would ask me to spell 'grotesque,' and I would, correctly of course, and I'd get to take a sip out of my dad's glass of Coke. Now, don't ask me why my dad's glass of Coke always tasted so much better than mine. Probably because he put oodles of ice in the glass. And even more likely because it was spiked with just a wee bit of Crown.

But I digress.

My first real crush on an actual real boy that I knew in real life was a boy named [redacted]. (As opposed to the GINORMOUS crush I had on Joey from New Kids on the Block, a boy whom I would never meet and knew nothing more about than what my girlfriends could recite, almost verbatim, from their collection of TeenThisorThat magazines which TOTALLY EXPLOIT THE MINDS OF DEVELOPING CHILDREN. I, of course, was not allowed to read that "trash.")

Matthew had moved to Natchez, Mississippi in the middle of fifth grade. Naturally, I wanted nothing to do with him. He was scrawny and wore too-tight t-shirts and his TEETH... let's just say Condeleeza Rice has NOTHING on this kid. And so school let out for the year and I spent the summer before sixth grade doing exactly what I had done the summer before fifth grade and the summer before fourth grade. It went something like this:

7am: Arise and greet the new day! With much child-like cynicism! Look, cartoons are on, even though I pretend I only watch them because my brother is in the room!

9am: Chores, grudgingly completed, CHECK.

10am: Brother and I pile into van after vicious, tothedeath struggle over who gets the front seat.

10:30am: Arrive at country club swimming pool, pile out of van after vicious tothedeath struggle over who gets to use the good floaty for the day

12pm: Charge various snack items to my parents bill, usually consisting of twix, cheetos, funyuns (oh the FUNYUNS! how we LOVED the FUNYUNS!) and a hamburger or two.

2pm: Plot our escape from the evil lifeguards and practice holding our breath underwater for minutes at a time. Our plan was to swim out of the drain hole at the bottom of the pool- but we'd have to be able to hold our breath for AT LEAST seven minutes. Which would totally give us enough time to burrow through the water drainage system -- which does NOT mix with the sewage system, of course -- where we would dig our way up from the depths of the underground water sanitizer area and scare the ever loving shit out of the golfers on the 9th green.

4pm: Mother arrives in van to pick us up. Camredie forgotten, vicious tothedeath struggle over the front seat.

But that summer my normal routine was forever broken. You see, the country club swimming pool was not a happening place. In all honesty, my brother and I were normally the only other humans within shouting distance- save the VERY BORED lifeguards who spent most of their time figuring out how to blow each other without the two of us noticing. And so it happened that one morning, after another vicious tothedeath struggle over something very important, I'm sure, my brother and I loped into what we had come to think of as "our pool" only to find, gasp!, another kid there. And lo and behold, it was Matthew [redacted].

It was then that my fascination began.


meghansdiscontent said...

Sweetie, what is it with you and boys named Matt??

However, adored the story!! It's funny what you realize you DON'T know about your friends.

You're intimately acquainted with my first true life crush - Randall.

trueborn said...

Swimmer boy!

Jenni said...

Birdie, I love reading your stories! You rock! Made me remember how awkward those crushes were, too.

Murrye said...

how cute, my first big crush started at the country club swimming pool, too, except it was on a lifeguard! (how cliche, i know)