X is for… X-traordinary lengths

One year, I developed an intense pre-teen crush on a boy in my class. Unlike my first, five year old crush, I didn’t try to seduce him with a pencil case (here for those who missed that post and are curious). No, I was in fact so shy and awkward that I couldn’t even make eye contact with him, let alone speak to him or reply intelligently to anything he said.

At the time, it seemed obvious that the best way to deal with this awkward situation was to make sure he didn’t find out that I liked him. (I mean can you imagine the embarrassment if he found out!?!) I played it cool. More than cool – I played it ice cold: I went to extraordinary length to ignore him. It wasn’t just that I didn’t seek him out, I ignored his questions, gave him cold looks when I did manage to overcome my excruciating embarrassment and look him in the eye, and was just as aloof and distant as I could manage.

Of course during that entire time I pined like the love sick teenage puppy I was – it was all-round unpleasant.

It wasn’t until years later that I learnt that the poor boy had also harboured a crush on me. My act was so convincing that he felt sure not only that I wasn’t interested in him, but that I actively disliked him. Of course he never suggested we sit together at the cafeteria, or hold hands.

We each pined in our corner, separately miserable, until time eventually did its thing and we forgot about each other.

Taking playing it cool to such extraordinary lengths was one of the dumber things I did on entering adolescence.


L is for… Love

*The theme for my A to Z is Childhood Stories. Some are real, some are embellished, some are downright fictional but are based on the kind of things I imagined when I was younger.*

Today’s letter is L for love, or first love to be precise. The subtitle to this story could be Seduction by Pencil Case.

My very first crush was when I was five. His name was Monsieur Charbonel, and he was my teacher. I don’t actually know his first name (teachers don’t really have first names when you’re young, do they?) and I don’t really remember what he looked like, other than he had dark hair. Very handsome dark hair, mind you.

One afternoon, when we were reaching the end of class, I finished my project a bit before everyone else. The class was noisy as everyone talked.

I put all my pencils in my pencil case, I closed my workbook, and I sat quietly with my arms crossed on my desk. This wasn’t completely innocent – I did it to impress Monsieur Charbonel.

And impress him it did.

He told the class to take example on me because I was behaving so well. I did my best not to grin from ear to ear in what was my very first attempt at playing it cool, but inside I was deliriously happy. I was on cloud nine hundred and ninety-nine.

It was my very first little love story.