The year was 1996.
We were in the same play group at school.
I was young and naive but I knew that boys had cooties and that was enough for me. I would stand by the jungle gym and stare at the other girls who giggled every time he smiled at them. Maybe they don't know, I thought to myself... One morning, as I stood innocently in the quad, staring into a bag of chips trying to see which tazo I had gotten, he ran up behind me and snatched them out of my hands.
I was horrified. I didn't care about the chips. He could have them. No one liked that ridiculous chutney flavour any way. But my tazo! It was still buried deep in the bag, waiting to be discovered and that cooties-infested boy would get his grubby little hands all over it. I stood there, panicked, trying to find my voice.
He danced around, laughing and shouting to his silly friends. Eventually (I think the teary eyes scared him), he decided to give them back and skipped back to the play ground. I decided then and there, as I watched his stupid green t-shirt disappear amongst the children, that I would hate him forever.
For the next few months, he would find a new way to torment me every day. Some days I would anticipate his attack and go hurtling back up the field into the girls' bathroom. Other days, I was not so lucky. But after a while, I found myself laughing as I ran away from him. What was this madness?! I thought. I can't be having... fun... can I? Not with my mortal enemy! :O
Alas, I didn't have to deal with the question for much longer as the next year, we moved into grade school and I forgot all about him.
Many years passed and one day, when I was about fifteen or sixteen, I saw him again. I, of course, recognised his smug little face immediately. And I was about to skilfully extract myself before he recognised me, when he shouted, "Oh my god!"
I felt the blood rush into my face. He stared at me for a moment and then, his face lit up. He babbled excitedly for a few minutes before he said, "I used to really like you, you know, still kind of do".
Suddenly I was five years old again and he had just stolen my bag of chips. As I stood there, my mouth struggling to form any coherent language, I realised I was standing in front of my first crush. It was an odd sensation. Sort of like the feeling you get when you first succeed at doing a cartwheel - a little nervous, a little scared, but mostly excited.
I smiled back. He is kind of cute, I thought... ;)
Image courtesy of vrkmphoto.com