Another blogger I ran across recently wrote about the importance of narrative. It sounded like a good idea. So here's me, attempting to tell a story. Um wish me luck. :)
My first crush was Laura. I fell for her while swimming the summer of the third grade. She was starting high school. She was sitting on the raft in the deep end, pulling guys out of the water with her legs like she was lifting on a weight machine. I swam a long time just to watch her wishing I was out there in the deep end. Wishing she could see me. After that I wanted to be around her anytime I could. I remember trying to fall asleep unable to because all I could think about was seeing her at church. It's curious to me how clearly I can remember any little thing about her. I still have a picture my mom gave me of her. I don't remember much else from elementary school.
She sang in a Christian singing group from our church so when they practiced I would go watch in a trance like way. I had a tape recording of her singing and I listened to it so much I wore it out. I took it everywhere, even camping. If Laura was in the building I wouldn’t play with my friends for fear I’d miss out on getting to say hi to her. I would just hang around feeling that anxious butterfly nervous feeling.
Once early on, she babysat. I was supposed to be sleeping but she got me out of bed and gave me a piggyback ride in my pajama’s to the softball field about 100 feet from our house. And there we watched the game in the light summer hours. I was in heaven. I stayed with my arms around her neck the entire game in a state of bliss.
My saddest moment came after a huge storm. She came over and helped my brother and I build a fort. We used all the big branches from the storm and leaned them up against a tree like a large tee-pee. It was big enough that I could sit in it. Not only did we build it, but we also created a story about it and we hid objects we would need later in the ground. It was like she and I created a little pretend home.
A few days later, while I was at school, people from the church came to clean up all the fallen limbs and tree's from the storm. And when I came home I stepped of the bus and immediately saw that there was no fort. I ran into my house and I sobbed inconsolably. It is the hardest I remember crying during that time period of my life. I am sure my mother was taken aback by my strong reaction. She tried to understand and comfort me but couldn’t. In my little mind I felt like Laura had gone away with the fort. It was our fort.
In reality it was soon after that we both went away. She graduated from high school. And our family moved and I started Jr. High elsewhere.
Sometime after graduate school I went back for the 100th anniversary of that church with my parents and I saw her again. I knew I was going to see her, and felt terribly nervous the whole time leading up to it. That bit ill feeling where you go on as normal but fear you will melt at any moment. Once again I found her to be beautiful and felt all awkward trying to talk to her. I made sure to sit near her when we all went out to eat. She was married with kids and working in another state. It didn't matter. Sometimes crushes feel the same when you meet the person years and years later.
I used to tell this story saying this must have been idolatry, attachment issues, or something I just couldn't figure out. But try as I might (for years) I can’t find the pathology or make these explanations stick or feel true. There are naturally some aspects of idealization and idolatry in a crush. There is naturally an attachment. It feels truest to say it was a crush. I was smitten, even if I didn’t know what it was or how to explain it. It just was.