Max has got a friend named Alice. I like Alice, her spitfire and smarts. However she’s always been a bit of a pain, impulsive and impossible to control. Lately she’s become quite abusive, kicking him in the shins and stomping on his feet, flinging inappropriate insults his way. I think she has a crush on him.
Isn’t it funny how a crush brings out the worst behavior in kids? In preschool I annoyed the crap out of my crush by twiddling his black curls of hair while we lay on mats for nap-time.
In grade school, the worst humiliation I could imagine was to be exposed of having a crush, so I overcompensated with jerky behavior to hide the heat of my adoration emanating from my heart. In second grade, my blond, blue-eyed crush was a fifth grader, and whenever he sat next to me on the school minibus I made a big show of putting my lunchbox in between us. I was quite satisfied to hear his classmate say, “I guess she doesn’t like you.” In seventh grade, miracle of miracles my crush ASKED ME TO “BE (HIS) FRIEND”—errrhhh… I think that was his way of asking me out… I wasn’t sure… but isn’t that awesome?? Yes, he asked me in front of a classroom full of classmates. Mortifying. All I could think of was the ridicule we would face if I said yes. So instead I said, “WHATEVER FOR?” He restated his request for all to hear. I restated my answer for all to hear. End of love story. And I didn’t get asked out by anyone again (let alone by anyone I liked) for five years.
Do you remember the thrill of brushing past the arm that belonged to the target of your affection? Not just sleeve fabric, SKIN. That touch set you tingling for the rest of the day. Anyway, Max’s feet were still tingling at the end of the school day when I picked him up the other week. Unfortunately the sensation originated from his toes being stomped on yet again by Alice. Her mom finally had to intervene and demand that Alice stop. “I can’t believe my feet haven’t died yet,” moaned Max. He was in pain for days. I could be wrong about Alice having a crush on Max, but that’s the dirt I received through the mother of another ten-year-old with loose lips. Besides you could see it in Alice’s bright pretty eyes when she bounced over to say hello to us the other day. Messed up, isn’t it? How much love hurts?