Well, Valentine's Day is coming up, and it's got me thinking about my very first experience in puppy love and unfortunately puppy loss. I was in the 4th grade attending a private Catholic school when I experienced this first crush. Her name was Heather, and she was without a doubt the most beautiful girl in school. All I wanted was to win her over, and I thought what better day than Valentine's Day. A day before Valentine's I asked my father to help me get a gift for "this girl". Dad made sure I was willing to add a few extra chores to my routine, and then agreed to purchase a box of chocolates in the shape of a heart. We went to the mall and there it was... A box o' chocolates wrapped with a big red ribbon. I think it was somewhere in the price range of about 12 bucks. (Twelve bucks = vacuuming, cleaning my room and taking out the trash, so this had better be worth it.)
The next day I passed out my Valentines to the class, but kept my gift to Heather in my bag, hidden away until after school where I would have my chance. I psyched myself out and when it came time to present her with the chocolates, I chickened out. Instead of giving it to her, I found her mother and told her to give it to Heather for me because I was too bashful. I ran off and waited by my father's truck…my father was waiting for my sister to get out of class. I looked like a nervous idiot, examining my father's tools in the back of his truck, hiding and avoiding the inevitable shutdown. After a few minutes, Heather approached me and asked if I had given her these chocolates.
"Yes", I said, stunned.
"Thank You" she said, smiling.
She moved quickly toward me and gave me a big hug. My very first embrace from my very first crush. My heart was beating out of control. I smiled as Heather ran off back to her parents and went home.
I didn't know what had happened. Did she like me? Was I supposed to get her phone number?
A few weeks after Valentine's Day brought Lent. If you observe Lent, on Fridays you avoided meat up until Easter. My school had a fish fry every week during lent. Our parish would gather and eat fried fish and chips, the adults would drink yellow fizzy beer, and Heather and I would enjoy our weekly tryst.
Hours before our first fish fry, while checking out library books, Heather whispered in my ear that she liked me and snuck a quick kiss on my cheek. I was walking on air. I was the BMOC. I had got the girl. I was "going steady"?
The next forty days and forty nights were outstanding, because every Friday, Heather and I (after our parents had begun to enjoy their weekend beers of course) would sneak off to the kindergarten benches where Heather and I had our first kiss. She intended on making me a good kisser; giving me pointers on how to smooch correctly.
"You shouldn't keep your eyes open when you kiss," she said, "Keep your eyes closed."
"Okay" I agreed. Whatever Heather wants, Heather gets.
"Not like that," she stressed, "Keep your eyes open until just before you kiss me."
Every Friday we ran off together and every week was better than the last. Life was perfect... Until stupid, freckled face Brian T. stepped in.
To be continued...