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April 4, 2011 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Childhood Crushes

Walking down the corridor,
Try and catch your smile
Don’t you know your all I need
For a little while.
I look at you and your innocent eyes
And I’m falling deeper in love
What do I have to do to show you I’m the one…”

And I’ll stop right there. Digging this self-composed little ballad and declaration of love up is so awkward for me. It brings back unfortunate recollections of rejection, desperation and denim-on-denim catastrophes. I’m not gonna lie—this is an extract from some appalling notepad from a time I thought myself to be an unloved and troubled youth. Life was tough, love was tougher.

He was the joker, the well-liked trendsetter. He made the consumption of glue fashionable. I was a hopeless dreamer, a hopeless lover at the tender age of seven. I wasn’t alone in my desperate infatuation; in fact, my best friend was dead-set on that same boy too. She actually used to bite anyone who’d touch him—he was that cool.

I grew up side by side with this young boy; unluckily for him, our families took many trips away together and I was often at his house after school uninvited. Thrillingly, our parents constantly said how we were destined to be married. Today, he often reminds me of how he would ask me “why did the chicken cross the road?” and, without even waiting for the answer, I would laugh violently at how goddamn funny I found him. It was also my cheeky method of flirting.

I cannot count how many times I wished upon a star and coerced Mum into buying me ample Roxy and Billabong to add some edge to my look. “Why don’t you wear anything labelled?” he would ask. I can recall an immediate shopping trip, followed by vacuuming the house for a month to afford a sweet denim jacket and matching flare jeans, dark blue in colour with fluro green and blue stitching running up the seams.

What makes me laugh is how, at a young age, you feel so untouchable and so freaking capable of absolutely anything. Just like you could convince yourself that you can make someone love you by making them jealous.

I used a new guy, Ben, as my prey when we were 10. Being new, he was defenseless and vulnerable. We were in the same reading group. With much flirting over Kapai the Kiwi stories, I felt I was making my one and only adequately jealous. Eventually, news arrived that Ben was going to ask someone out. Three cheers for me. Now my true love could see what he really could have had. So, Ben approached me on a fine and sunny day…

(I’m keeping it cool—no big deal.)
“Hey, I need to ask you something.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Yes what?”
“Yes, I’ll go out with you Ben.”
Ten awkward long seconds, followed by “Oh, I wanted you to ask out your blonde friend for me, she’s pretty hot.”
What do you do?

I was overwhelmed when my true love and I were sat together in the seating plan of the class, as I knew this was the prime time to get my A-game on and act dumb and cute. However, everyday, he would move his chair to talk to another girl beside us. What a crack to the head. It’s common knowledge amongst youth that girls pay less attention to boys to keep them rolling on in—treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen. Putting this tactic into action really messed things up for me.

Finally, at the age of 12, the day came that I was asked out by my love. I, of course, said yes.
Two days and four hours later, I was dumped for completely ignoring him.


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