I was five. In kindergarten. I don’t even remember what his name was…. but I loved him.
Back in those days, all the girls and boys were segregated during playtime. Dolls on one side of the room, trucks and blocks on the other. There literally was a wall between the two worlds.
I timidly stood with all the girls, watching them race for the dolls. There was only one cute doll, and Kim always got it.
She was gorgeous. So adorable. So popular. Everyone wanted to be her friend.
So did I.
But I was intimidated by her. I always stood back and just watched her work the room. I never felt like I fit in. I was always watching. Just watching. I didn’t understand them… these girls. The flock of them all chattering, giggling and fighting over dolls.
I wanted to play with the boys. They had trucks.
One day, I fell and cut my knee. My teacher, Mrs. Trimm… oh how I loved her… she let me pick someone to walk to the nurse with me.
I pointed to Kim, thinking this was my chance to get her to notice me.
As we walked down the hall to the nurse, she didn’t say one fucking word to me. Not one.
My cheeks were stained with tears, but not because of my knee.
The next day I went to Mrs. Trimm and confessed I didn’t like dolls. I wanted to play with the boys.
She smiled, handed me a box of Legos, and I went to a table in the boy section, clutching my prize. I always suspected Mrs. Trimm didn’t like dolls either.
That’s when HE showed up. He asked if he could build something with me. I lit up!
From that day forward, he and I sat at our table and built the craziest little things we could think of. The only one I remember was a robot-looking thing on wheels with a duck bill.
No matter what I came up with, he’d either giggle and clap with pride, or take it and add something to it. There wasn’t a thing I built he didn’t have some sort of input on.
My creations were better because he was a part of them.
I was in love.
Then one day, his mother came into the classroom with cupcakes. Chocolate, scrumptious, fabulous cupcakes. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t beaming with excitement like the rest of us.
But he was different than the rest of us. A soul so deep and pure, like no one I had ever met before.
He got me.
I walked over to him. His eyes were teary. I reached out and felt the wetness on his cheek.
I kept asking what was wrong. He couldn’t speak. His silence scared me.
Finally, he spit out, “I’m moving… today is my last day here… I’m going to… m-m-miss you.”
Without thinking, I leaned in and gave him the quickest peck on the lips, then pulled back, my blue eyes full of tears.
“I miss you already.”
Five years old. My first collaborating partner, and love, left me.
An innocent love died, and a writer was born.