Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Crush Reckoning

I had forgotten she was once a crush till I saw her that Christmas evening. 
Old crushes were meant to look like a bad dream having snapped out of your obsession for so long. It was different with her.
She was as beautiful as that first day I saw her in Sunday school. I'm not sure. It must have been Sunday school where her mom taught us bible stories. She attended the private school where richer families sent their kids.
She had a simple scarf on, tied loosely.
Flashes of memory flooded my consciousness like water through a broken dam. Few seconds before, I didn’t even remember she was on that notorious list of girls I kissed in my fantasies. Now there I was, recalling the day mother needed a volunteer to take festival meat to the Johnsons.
I had volunteered. A little eager now, I remember. They lived on the other end town. I remember walking into their house and forgetting I was there to deliver a festival meat. She must have known I was in love. For she also stopped in her tracks. I’m unsure if we knew what love was. But she knew I felt something our young minds couldn’t give a name. Something beautiful and bright fluttered in our stomachs. But we didn’t know they were butterflies.
She stood across the hall in her onesie, fresh out of the bath. She was the most beautiful girl to walk the face of the earth right then. Later in the day, she would wear the special festival dress all mothers made for their boys and girls.
It was hard to say “good morning.” I was stuck. And my saliva was drying in my mouth. Her dad - who played the big wooden piano for the church - finally stepped out from a side room. He saw the tray on my outstretched hands and got the signal.
“Mummy told you to bring this to us?” he asked. He collected the tray without waiting for an answer and removed the raw meat. “Tell her 'thank you' for me,” he said stuffing some money into my hand along with the now empty tray.
I wasn’t sure what happened next. Perhaps I went across the hall, stood closer and asked her to be my wife. I wasn’t sure how that would have gone down. Of course, I was too weak at the knees to find out. I’m surprised I remember these. He went back to his little electric piano, I think, and fingered the opening chords of a hymn.
Old crushes were meant to look like a bad dream having snapped out of the fantasy for so long. It was different with her.