On Liking A Girl
Ever think about the difference between the person you like now and the first person you ever liked?
THE FIRST GIRL I LIKED
Her name started with an “R” and she was the only girl I liked the entire year of second grade. When I told my Pop about her, he just looked at me and said, “I’m gonna tell you this once. When you really like a girl, you can’t eat. You can’t sleep.” In other words, be careful. But I wasn’t.
I didn’t care.
She was pretty, with no makeup on, cause she probably wasn’t allowed to have any. No body to speak of because we’re in second grade. Who has a body in second grade?. And her hair was always pulled back. Never really done. So really, it was all about the girl’s face, which was the complexion of the Cocoa Puffs I would eat every morning. Except her skin was shiny and my Cocoa Puffs weren’t.
We had the same class, and in that class, the students sat in groups of four. Her group was sitting at the table behind me, off to my left-hand side.
So what I used to do is get to class early and leave a picture I drew. I couldn’t even draw and I still can’t to this day, but I think I was just trying to make something nice for her since my allowance wasn’t enough to buy anything. Except for candy. But what kind of child buys candy and saves it for the next day?
I would scribble “From Jozen” on the pictures, put them face down on her desk and leave them there for her to see. When recess would come, she’d come up to me and say, “I saw the picture you left for me. I liked it.” And I’d say, “What picture? I didn’t leave a picture.” Then, I’d run, grab a basketball and go play a game of 25.
Eventually, I copped to all the pictures I drew for the girl who’s name started with an “R”. Eventually, she said she liked me. Eventually, we held hands once. And eventually, one of the other girls who sat at the same table as the girl who’s name started with an “R” tapped me on my shoulder and when I turned around, she pointed to the girl who’s name started with an “R” and when I looked at her, she mouthed the words.
“I. Don’t. Like. You.”
For a while, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat.
THE GIRL I LIKE NOW
I’d like to think that being with one person for the rest of my life is a testament to my maturation as an adult, but really, anytime I have ever liked one woman and one woman only, I’m acting like my second grade self.
So I don’t draw pictures anymore.
Instead, I just walk up to her and say, “What’s up?” If she likes me too, she says, “Hi” and smiles. She has a great body. She has a great face. Her hair is done. Most of the time. She is waaaaaaaaaay smarter than a second grader.
Sometimes we like each other for a long time. But sometimes we like each other for one night. And she never mouths the words, “I. Don’t. Like. You.” Now, she texts them to me, or sends them to me in an email. Or, my favorite: Tells me straight up to my face, loud enough for anyone within earshot to hear.
Good thing I don’t like her as much as the girl who’s name started with an “R”, which is not to say I like her less. It’s just that, well, speaking honestly, I’m not in second grade anymore.
I grew up. The naivete is gone. When I was young, in second grade, I only liked one girl. Now, I like a lot of girls, sometimes just one at a time. Sometimes at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing like the moment when you like someone. But now I’m careful like my Pop’s told me to be. There have just been too many nights where the only thing I want to eat is a sleeping pill so I can get to bed and not think about some woman who’s name starts with some letter.
So now when I like a girl, I eat. I sleep.