Dear P.B. -
The truth is, you have no idea, but you’ve got me so messed up. It’s been 11 years since we were friends in the sixth grade, and I’ve still never gotten over you. I know how crazy you probably think that is, because I know how crazy I think it is as I’m here writing it, but it’s the honest-to-god truth.
I can almost effortlessly think back, and put myself in those ridiculous New Balance shoes I used to wear. I can see the sights of the elementary school, the dirty white tile floor with a solid blue line of tile on either side of the hallway. I can smell the awful mixture of glue and modeling clay, combined with the smell of excited students returning from gym class. I can even feel the sensations of having the backs of my legs against the asphalt of the blacktop.
I remember (and I’m almost sure that you don’t) that in the sixth grade, I thought that you were the most perfect girl in the world. I thought that you were the prettiest, smartest, most athletic girl in the whole elementary school. We were friends, pretty good friends really. We were good enough friends that at one point, you invited me over your house to play the game “Cootie.” When we were in the seventh grade, we pretended to be dating, because at that point, we didn’t really know what it meant to be dating.
So what did stupid young me do? I gave you a gift. I gave you my mother’s high school class ring. Why? Because I though you deserved the best, and as far as my limited mind knew, that ring was the best. And I was over the moon when you showed up at school the next day wearing the ring! (God, it was an ugly ring.)
And then, at some point, we lost touch.
Now, that’s not to say we didn’t see each other. We finished elementary school together, went through middle school together, and then even went through high school together, before we eventually went to different colleges.
I don’t know that there’s a normal or rational way to say this, but nothing has ever been the same as 10–12 year old me being completely in love with 10–12 year old you. And I say “in love” because as far as we were concerned at the time, it was love. Completely innocent, unadulterated love.
As an adult, the definition and implications of love change. The innocence is gone, and the responsibilities set in. The finances, the jobs and the crushing pressure of maturity distract us from simple enjoyment of love. You can see in the news countless stories of relationships gone wrong because of a struggle over finances or some other issue that won’t actually make a difference in the long run.
I’m writing this letter to let you know that I have never, and will never again experience the purity and truth of the childish love I once felt for you. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Once you grow up, you’re not supposed to feel that kind of love. But you. You were my one and only, true schoolyard love.
Unrelated: I've just recently become unemployed and am struggling to find new employment, so if you can afford to leave a tip for your enjoyment of this story, it would be greatly appreciated. Anything helps.