When I was in sixth grade we went on a school trip to Chicago. All of the six graders in Floyd County went.
I don't remember much about Chicago except the museums and the Sears Tower, but I remember the bus trip back to New Albany.
There was a girl sitting in the seat across the aisle from me. She went to a different school, and she was a fox.
That's a word we used to say when we meant pretty back in the olden days.
Anyway, I had this pair of el-cheapo binoculars that I'd gotten at the Sears Tower souvenir shop, and I kept using them to look at the foxy girl sitting all of five feet away from me.
She didn't talk to me, and I didn't talk to her. We were like twelve, and we were shy. But her friend liaised between us and we learned that we each thought that the other was cute.
After a bit, FoxyGirl told her friend to tell me that she wanted to go steady with me.
I was still twelve, so I just played it cool and said some lame crap like, "Whatever."
After about an hour, during which absolutely nothing happened, FoxyGirl's friend told me that FoxyGirl had changed her mind, and that she wanted to break up with me.
Still twelve, still playing it cool, I said something brilliant like, "Whatever" once again.
But inside, inside I was devastated.
I just couldn't believe that I'd been so brutally dumped. And I hadn't even got to hold her hand. That being the most erotic scenario that my twelve-year-old mind could conjure up at the time.
This was, I was certain, the low point of my entire life. Nothing would ever affect me this much again.
I remember looking at all of my classmates on the bus with me, and thinking how I was so much more grown-up than they were because I'd had my heart broken so badly. I felt so sorry for all those children. They'd never known love the way I had, and they probably never would.
The following year, FoxyGirl and I ended up at the same Junior High. She was as foxy as I remembered, maybe even more so because of the tiny yet shapely breasts that had sprouted on her chest.
We didn't have any of the same classes, and our lockers were nowhere near each other's. So I hardly ever talked to her. I winced every time I saw her, but I didn't let that stop me from trying to see her at every opportunity.
I was the jilted lover, and I pretty much behaved as such.
Problem was, I was pretty sure that she barely remembered me at all. Other problem was, I was almost certain that she didn't know how I felt about her.
That second problem I could do something about. That second problem I did do something about.
I wrote her a love note. I wrote her a love note and I shoved it through the slot in the door of her locker.
And then I waited. For a conversation. For a love note of my own. For any reaction whatsoever.
I got nothing.
After about a week, I simply gave up. This girl had torn my heart out and shredded it to bits and dumped the bits on the ground and set fire to the bits, and she didn't care at all.
So, like I said, I gave up.
I stopped watching her. I stopped talking to her. I stopped hanging around where her locker was. I stopped telling my friends about how we'd hooked up on the bus ride from Chicago.
I stopped everything.
I remember being so proud of myself. For having gotten over her so completely. For picking up the pieces of my life. For moving on.
We shared a study hall in 10th grade. She was a cheerleader. One of the rah-rahs at my school. She was just incredibly beautiful. I still never talked to her.
As Seniors, we had the same English class. Damn she was good-looking. As pretty as any movie star. I still never talked to her.
In fact, I never talked to her again until my 20th High School reunion. I'd been talking with some dude that I didn't recognize, and he turned out to be FoxyGirl's husband. She joined us and we chatted briefly. I told her and her husband how FoxyGirl had been my first love, before I had any idea what love was. They both smiled at that. She said it was a sweet thing to say.
She said she remembered me, and I walked away smiling.