Carolyn’s Online Magazine
WAS I A TEENAGE STALKER?
It wasn’t really a first crush.
Or was it?
I’m not certain.
Although I wasn’t a youngster to follow the crowd, I still marvel that I felt the need to participate in the first crush stage that often occurred in 7th grade—at least in my day.
Yes, even in 7th grade I was an independent—I didn’t feel the need to “follow the crowd.” So why did I believe I had to have a crush on a boy at age 13?
It was the second autumn our family had lived in Buffalo, New York—my sister and I were plucked from our Portsmouth, New Hampshire home the previous year. I’d not made any friends in my new community or school so I had no social life.
My step-father used their only car to get to his job so my mother had to take the bus to the office where she worked. To get to the bus stop she had to walk down a long city block (Lisbon Avenue), across a short block, and then down another long block (Minnesota Avenue).
I had two baby siblings—Jane and Kerry—a little over a year old and several months old respectively. I spent much of my time walking around the streets of my neighborhood, pushing one, the other, or both, in a stroller.
I recall the crisp autumn leaves rustling under foot and stroller wheels as I walked each evening down Lisbon Avenue, across the short block, and down Minnesota Avenue to the bus stop where I would meet and greet my mother when she returned home from work. Usually, I made certain I’d arrive early on Minnesota Avenue, where my supposed crush lived. I would walk up and down the block hoping to see him. Once in a while I succeeded as I scurried by his house. For a moment my heart would flutter. Was it a crush? Or was it the excitement of a conquest?
My ‘crush’ was a secret. I told no one. I had no confidant friendship. I wouldn’t share with my mother. Nor would I share with my sister. The secret was mine.
In my head I created scenarios where I would meet him face to face. We would stare into each other’s eyes as we realized we were meant for each other. Stars would explode. Triple rainbows would sparkle. Four-leaf clovers would cheer. Perhaps I read about these things in the True Romance magazines that my mother left laying around the house and my sister and I would read at night by flashlight, magazines under cover. Truly I couldn’t have imagined these scenarios in my very head-thinking brain.
Why did I create these scenes? Was it a precursor to creative writing? Was it perhaps to discover a way to be something like the other girls in my class, the ones who grew up together, who knew each other, who gathered together to share secrets? Was it because I was on the outside and needed something to feel like I could be on the inside? Because I certainly wasn’t interested in having a boy friend. I only needed the illusion of a crush to fulfill the longing, a sense of, belonging.
As children, and even in our younger years, we don’t realize or understand the effects events beyond our control have on our lives.
Did the sudden departure from my friends in Portsmouth forge a foundation for resisting friendship? Looking back 60 years I can see that having my roots pulled so suddenly makes this a possibility. Since becoming an adult I’ve discovered the value in temporary relationships, especially since I’ve lived a nomadic life. Not that it still doesn’t sting when my roots are dug up yet again and I must let go of the intensity of some relationships to make room for new relationships to grow.
Perhaps I recall this non-crush crush so vividly because it’s symbolic of making and breaking relationships.
Or perhaps it was what it was—an imaginary crush at the beginning of my teenage years.
Whichever, the memories remain and enrich my march down the latter half of life. And maybe, just maybe, if I’m ever single, I’ll be able to conjure up an imaginary crush on an equally declining gentleman, a gentleman who will be totally unaware of the admiration he will receive from afar.
NOTE: The WordPress writing prompt for 9/5/2015 was First Crush: Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?