Have you ever known someone who’s first and last name flowed so well together that you always used both names? I knew someone like that when I was 9 years old. His name was so cool that I wish I could share it with you, but given the story I’m about to tell, I’ll allow him a little bit of dignity through anonymity. You just never know who will read these silly posts of mine.
Robert R—- was a boy who lived in my neighborhood. I’m not even sure where, to be honest. I just know that I would run into him on my block. Come to think of it, I never even saw him at my school, so that’s a bit of a mystery in and of itself. I will concede that at that age my head was in the clouds most of the time.
I think Robert R—- was 10 or 11, and a lot bigger than I was. He was what I most likely would have described at that time as a royal pain in the butt. He was the kind of boy (like pretty much all boys that age per my experience) who liked to tease and pick on people and play tricks and all that foolishness that I just wasn’t into. (Come to think of it, I’m still not into it to this day.) Anyway, I used to cringe when I saw him coming, because I knew every encounter with him was going to be mortifying or irritating.
One summer day, I was walking down the street by myself, probably on my way to climb up a tree and read in peace as per usual, and he walked up to me and told me he loved me.
I wasn’t even thinking of boys at that age. I really wasn’t. I kind of thought of them as tiny humans like me, only more aggressive and rather clueless about the things that I viewed as important, like books. So this declaration of love had me in shock. The very idea of somebody even thinking about me in that way was as so out of left field that I’d have probably been less flabbergasted if my mother had informed me that I was a clone.
But I knew Robert R—-. Surely this was some kind of cruel and potentially humiliating joke. My response was, therefore, immediate.”No you don’t.”
So he said he loved me even louder. (Heaven knows why. There was nobody else around.) So I denied it again.
It was very confusing, because he was a tease, but he had this really sincere look on his face at that moment. It was the only time I ever encountered him when he wasn’t performing for an audience. It was almost as if he were someone else entirely, and I just couldn’t trust him.
I didn’t know what love even looked like at the time. Frankly, I’m still sometimes unable to place it. Maybe he was serious. Maybe I was his first crush or something.
Either way, I was horrified. He’d say it louder and then I’d deny it louder, and the situation kept escalating. Finally, I put my hands on my hips, stomped my foot, and bellowed, “You’re a liar, Robert R—-!”
Then I ran away.
Shortly after that, we moved from Connecticut to Florida, and I never saw him again. But I can still hear his voice in my head from that summer day long ago. “Barbara, I love you!”
I can also hear my own bellowing, freaked-out voice. If he truly was being sincere, I hope I didn’t emotionally damage him for life. Don’t you just hate unfinished stories? Me too.
I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that? http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5