I remember how he looked: he had brown eyes that hid behind long dark eyelashes, his bronze skin was enticing, and his jet black hair differed sharply from the blonde hair that dominated the classroom. He dressed nice too: his pants—the expensive kind–was always ironed, his shoes had the fancy little horsey on it and his shirts did too. I didn’t know what I liked more, the way he styled his hair to one side or the smell of his too-manly-for-a-boy cologne. To me, the boy was so exotic that I thought he was Russian. Well, at that time, Russian was the most exotic thing I could think of. I liked him…but my friend liked him too.
Her name was Stephanie, and she was everything that I wasn’t. She had a thin body that moved with grace I could never possess and whenever she walked in front of me her strawberry hair swished back and forth, occasionally slapping me in the face. Her voice had a soothingly soft tone, almost as if she was the love-child of Aphrodite. Her eyes were blue–the color everybody fancies. With a flirtatious flutter of her eyelashes, the boys drooled and I understood why: she was breathtakingly beautiful.
And I, well, let’s just say I didn’t have much of a fashion sense when I was a kid: I was fond of big t-shirts that reached all the way to my knees and it didn’t help that I wore short skirts. So when people saw me they’d see a little girl with a mop of wild brown hair running around wearing only a big t-shirt and flip flops. Quite a sight.
Stephanie walked up to me one day and confronted me about our mutual crush on the boy.
“We both can’t like him at the same time. We’re friends,” she said “It’s just not right.”
Then she grabbed my arm and dragged me towards the playground where our crush hung out with his crew.
When he was only a few feet away, she came up with a plan to solve the problem. She approached him and said, “we both like you and you have to decide who gets to like you first.”
I don’t remember most of the conversation but it ended somewhat like this: our crush agreed to choose who got to like him, but there was a twist. Stephanie and I had to come in our prettiest clothes the next day so that he could choose based on who looked better. I know, elementary school is stupid but, at the time, it was a big deal. When they came to the agreement, Stephanie squealed and hopped away leaving me behind in the sand where I had dug a hole with my foot while my crush and the prettiest girl in class made the arrangements.
I didn’t show up the next day.