His name was Jimmy.
He was tall…with brown eyes that melted my soul every time he looked in my direction, and a lopsided grin that could make my heart skip a beat and my tummy get all fluttery….
I was all of 7 years old…in the 2nd grade…and I was totally, hopelessly, irrevocably, in love with this handsome stranger in my class.
I did everything but stand on my head and do somersaults to get his attention, to no avail, really…until it eventually dawned on me that Jimmy was a lover of sports.
To say that my passion for all things baseball-related and football-related began with a 2nd-grade crush would be too simplistic, and yet I have to wonder if you'd ALSO have to say that it's true.
I'm kinda' shallow like that.
I began reading the sports page in our local newspaper, soaking up statistics and trivia so I could saunter in to school the next day and impress Jimmy with my knowledge, while he looked at me in astonishment, stuttering, "But…but…you're a GIRL!!"
Ha. I liked to think of myself as a TOMBOY, thank you very much, as if there was something to be embarrassed about by being a girl. At recess, I hung with the boys, playing Tether Ball, Four Square, and Kickball, proving to the guys - especially Jimmy - that I was JUST as good as they were, and I was "cool". "Cool" in my own mind, at least - because looking back at some of the pictures, and seeing some of the clothes I would wear to school…I have to confess that I was FAR from cool.
I was the Nerdy Girl with Glasses.
Valentine's Day was agonizing, as I had to choose THE most perfect Valentine's card for Jimmy…it couldn't be too mushy, as to scare him away - and yet, it couldn't be too disdainful - as to give him the wrong idea. It had to be just right…conveying just a hint of the attraction I felt for him, and yet…leaving the mystery there…so he could do the pursuing, if he so desired.
Gah - so much pressure for a 7-year old.
And when I got a Valentine from HIM (which I still have, by the way - preserved forever in my 2nd-grade scrapbook!!), I studied it for clues as to his feelings…did he sign his name with just a bit more flourish than usual? Was that a sign of attraction?? Was there a hidden message in the sentiment on the card???!!
My crush on Jimmy lasted a full six years.
Yes. SIX years.
Up until 8th-grade, actually…it probably would have lasted longer if I hadn't moved away from that school district at the beginning of my 9th-grade year. You'd think that I would have eventually given up on him and taken the hint that he just wasn't that in to me, but being the ever hopeful girl that I was (and perpetually stubborn one, as well), I never gave up.
I sometimes wonder what ever happened to Jimmy.
Did he marry? Did he have a family? Was he happy?
Life goes on, and we grow up…and the Jimmys in our lives disappear forever, but the memories remain…. I wouldn't change anything for the world, as I discovered just who I was over those years, and what I could aspire to be, and how much fun reading the sports page could be.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone - and Jimmy, if you're still out there…this one's for you.