BY ZOE AMOS
In my last blog post, “Crush or Be Crushed,” I recounted a story about elementary school days when chasing away boys and girls across the playground for schoolyard fun turned to chasing boys and girls to catch them. Back then, a classmate and friend, Dan, took an interest in me. He could have been my first boyfriend, but there was a problem; I had a crush on a girl.
Her name was Karen and she was the new girl in town, fresh from Ohio. She arrived well after the school year started. Her clothes were of good quality and her blond hair was pinned with a colorful barrette that matched her dress. Her kindness was apparent from the get-go. She quickly became the teacher’s pet and the favorite of many students. I had to fight to spend time with her.
I didn’t question why my heart soared when I was near her, or why I thought of her so often. She was a beautiful person, inside and out—reason enough, not that I needed one. I wanted to hold her hand, not Dan’s. I wanted to spend time with her, and when we were together walking, I would put my arm around her shoulder as I would occasionally do with my sisters, but not my other friends.
For her birthday, I scraped together all the money I had—over two dollars—to buy her a T-shirt. Usually my mother bought the gifts for my classmates, but because she was so special, I wanted to spend my own money. At the party, she thanked everyone in the gracious manner I had come to know. She was always polite, also smart and pretty. I adored her. I had a crush on an angel.
As we walked home from school one day, I whispered those three little words and proceeded to kiss her on the cheek. She giggled. She may have blushed. I was ecstatic! Luckily, she took the news well and I’d venture to guess she told no one.
Dan remained persistent in his attentions, but I knew being his girlfriend wasn’t right for me. I also knew my love for Karen was somehow not the right thing either. Girls did not take up with girls; Barbie didn’t go steady with Midge. Our time together amounted to precious few hours and I never spoke of my feelings again.
Her father had transferred to town for work. She finished the school year and a small part of the next before shipping back out to Ohio. I was crushed! My young heart broke and I cried alone in my room. There was no one to tell. The following year I moved a short distance away and changed to a new school district where I made new friends.
When he turned thirteen, Dan invited me to his bar mitzvah, but after that I never saw him again either. He grew up to become a rabbi, married, and had kids. About ten years ago, someone from the old neighborhood spoke with him and told him I was gay. Perhaps that explained something for him. I don’t know what happened to Karen, but I know falling in love with her was the right thing. I hope she fondly remembers our short time, as I do.
Zoe Amos brings her lesbian point of view to articles and stories on diverse topics. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Read her stories on Kindle and Nook. Check out her other life at www.janetfwilliams.com