Even at the age where we still spelled our name incorrectly and couldn’t go to the bathroom without asking permission, we were learning lessons about love that hold true today.
Whilst enrolled in the second grade, I embarked on the task of making a new friend. I serendipitously selected the tan, cute boy named Chris Lambright. As we were walking down the green stairs to the cafeteria one day, he asked, “Audrey, why are you so nice to me?” With each step, I huffed, “Because…. I want…to be…your friend.” And he said, “Ok.” Score.
Lesson: 1) Friends first, Lovers later
A few days later, I was meandering from the playground’s Redwood Forest back to the square where my class lined up at the end of recess. Chris came up behind me and started walking with me. Little did I know, I was about to have my first DTR.
“Audrey, you can’t be my girlfriend anymore. I’m dating Sierra and Christine, and it’s just too many to handle,” he said.
I said, “Ok.”
I said “Ok” because I was unaware that we were dating. As such, I was fine with our relationship remaining unchanged in my mind, though I had just been unceremoniously kicked off the girlfriend team in his. It wasn’t until I told my two friends Megan and Emily what had happened that I learned Chris was a jerk. I don’t think Chris and I were friends after that.
Lessons: 2) Be on the same page, 3) Polygamy is not OK
I entered into the third grade a single gal. But soon, I caught the attention of a kindred spirit, a ginger boy named Cody. He was a new kid, which meant he was gawked at like a lion at the zoo, or a homeschooler outside. He was a novelty, with so much potential of being cool.
One day, a girl came up to me and said, “Cody has been calling you his wife.”
Not cool, Cody. Plus, he had blue hair at the time, which was not helping his case. Or his face. Naturally, we did not become friends because he was weird.
Aftermath: Four years later in middle school, we had our first conversation.
Cody: Remember when I called you my wife in elementary school?
Lessons: 4) If you’re overzealous (or creepy), you will scare him/her away 5) Boys named Cody are always trouble
I soon learned that surprising actions like Cody’s aren’t always creepy. The key is that the boy must be cute.
During story time, the class sat at the feet of Mrs. Potok and she read us a fantastic tale, usually about caterpillars and metamorphosis. One day, I was sitting awkwardly with my arm straight to my side, palm resting on the carpet face up, and my fingers pointing backward. Perhaps adorable Carson took this as an invitation, because he grabbed it. Story time soon became my favorite time of day.
…Until Mrs. Potok called my parents.
Lesson: 6) PDA will get you into trouble
However, our relationship pressed forward undeterred. Soon, though, it would be (unnecessarily) tested.
One of our classmates had a birthday. As per elementary school tradition, they brought chocolate cupcakes for the class (I don’t know why we stopped doing this when we graduated to middle school). Carson and I sat at the same table. When the student came up to Carson to give him a cupcake, he said, “No thanks; I don’t like chocolate.” When the boy offered me one as well, I responded, “I don’t like chocolate either.”
I lied. Chocolate is awesome. I had to watch in silent misery as everyone enjoyed their cupcakes while all I had was a stupid pseudo-boyfriend.
Lesson: 7) Don’t change yourself to have more in common with a boy, because you won’t actually have more in common…
I wish I could say the lying stopped there, but it didn’t.
During recess one day, Carson and I were sitting on a log talking about animals.
“Do you have any pets?” Carson asked.
“I have a dog,” I responded easily. Then, I had an idea. “And…,” I began. My voice trailed off. I turned my body slightly away from him and looked up wistfully at the sky.
“What’s the matter?” He asked, concerned, as he scooted closer.
I kept my eyes wide open to try and prompt tears to fall, and I replied in the best choked up voice that I could, “I had a cat named Sebastian. I used to go to the laundry room where he was hiding and pick up his hind legs and pretend he was a wheelbarrow. He hated it. He got kidney disease and we had to put him down.”
Cue comfort from Carson.
Lessons: 8) Don’t be needy or do something solely for the sake of getting attention. 9) Refrain from lying and fake crying, especially over a cat you didn’t like in the first place.
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