The first time I fell in love, I was taking a second swing at kindergarten. The Board of Education had birthday-based rules and, because mine fell late in the calendar year, they decided that I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to move along to first grade. Guess I showed them.
Donald was his name. He wore his hair high and tight. I used to stand behind him in line and sing, “Baby taboo, singing in the dew and making everybody happy.” I don’t know in what fit of genius I composed that lyric but I’m glad that I can share it now with the wider public.
It’s unclear whether Donald loved me or if he was terrified of me. Maybe both. He wasn’t communicative and I was never able to get to the bottom of either his stony silence or violent, red-faced giggling. In fact, I don’t remember any other interaction except those precious moments in line, waiting to leave a darkened classroom with the only light coming from a bank of windows behind us. The windows were always draped with our artwork so the spectrum of colors which refracted above our heads was intoxicating to a developing mind, and heart.
It was for the best that we parted ways, though. Sometimes it’s the unselfish acts that show how much we really care. I had some tough times ahead after I got caught peeing in the bushes and I didn’t want to drag Donald through such heated controversy. I tried to convince the little snitch who found me that the teacher had said it was okay to relieve myself there under the Cleyera but he said these words which have haunted me ever since, “You’re a liar and you piss like a racehorse.”
So, yes… things were difficult for a while. The considered and sustained response from my classmates made it difficult to maintain any social life worth mentioning. Although, it wasn’t anything nearing the magnitude of a later incident in elementary school when I would have to navigate the treacherous waters of Funyungate. I didn’t realize they made my breath stink. All I knew is that Funyuns were delicious.
Donald sat all the way across the room from me, probably for a reason now that I think about it, and I used to watch him with amorous intentions as he ate Elmer’s Glue and pasted pasta onto construction paper. I wish now that I’d been more concerned with my own pasta pasting. But, no. It’s a proclivity that followed me through all my school years, through college and beyond; today even, forty years later you can ask me, Amy what do you want to be when you grow up? And the only thing I can think to say is, loved.