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  • Writer's pictureSean

Modern Love Story

One Thursday afternoon my writing teacher gave my class comrades and I ten minutes to write about our first crush. Go. I’m sure many of us had the same reaction. Racking our brains to remember who that might be, and then once arriving at the individual, weighing if the crush is worthy of 10 minutes, or by then perhaps nine, of dedicated writing. After all, what is a crush? Is it catching the smell of hair passing by? The noticing of a beautiful girl in the far corner of the gym, or the bullying flirtation by an elementary school girl? Perhaps it's more than the first time we catch feelings for someone we barely know. I looked far back in the past to find myself having my first kiss well before kindergarten. Somewhat coerced, and yet nonetheless, I crushed on the girl. Is this to be considered my first crush? Perhaps its a Mexican classmate with whom I flirted in our dual language class for years, before she mysteriously disappeared, returning back to her home country. I wouldn’t learn until many years later that this was the result of deportation, and not of a voluntary repatriation. Is my first crush the first girl with whom I started a relationship with? The kind with roses and love letters? Because although I realize writing makes a gorgeous painting of tragedy, I had no intention of spending those… now eight minutes reliving the avalanche that befell me with that one. So I turned to the fourth grade. Not my ‘first crush’ but by far the most memorable, and long enduring. Until the end of high school, whenever I saw her my heart returned to the days of childhood when it would dance at the sight of her. This is what I wrote of her when my teacher gave us the prompt.

Prompt First Crush: 10 minutes.

Dear Kim,

Kim oh Kim. The name of my first crush and first girlfriend, although you’re two separate people. In the fifth grade you came into Spanish class as a native Spanish speaker, instantly cool and liked by all. My favorite time was when we danced. We were learning salsa, our classmates, urged us and embarrassed us to dance with each other. After all, it was only natural that we make a couple, we were both the shortest kids in class! I think being the fastest kid in gym helped my case. It was like instantly winning the popularity lottery. You of course, were dazzling. I loved your big brown eyes, I could’ve gotten lost in them if you’d let me. I can still remember your cute dimples, the way you laughed and bullied me at every opportunity. I have to confess, when the music was playing and our hips were swaying, I was not going to dance with you. I had no intention to give into the coercion and peer pressure of the boys, who on my side of the classroom nagged me to grab your hand, and shoved me in your direction. But when I saw you across the room, in the exact same predicament and blushing about as hard as I was, I dared to hope. When you offered your hand outstretched, and your shy smile hit me like a laser beam, I melted. I gave in, and I’m so glad I did. Touching your fingertips sent an electric shock, accompanied by elation imposing a semi-permanent smile on my lips. I didn’t expect you to come forward like that, and then I became intoxicated. If I took a breathalyzer I’d be sent to jail, high as I was. For the first ten minutes we danced with our classmates encircled around us, I swear I was in a movie. Everyone melted away into a continuous stream of blurred fans as we danced and danced. I’m sure if I saw you today, my heart would still flutter.

After the ten minutes we were allocated our teacher asked for volunteers to share what we wrote. Elated by the thought of this past crush, and reinvigorated by the crush’s renaissance, I rose my virtual hand. I read my brief piece and some of my classmates called for a movie to be made! They thought it was just the cutest thing. theirs was an inspiring reaction, and one that led me to find her on Instagram. When I did I explained the prompt and shared what I wrote with her. She was ultimately quite receptive of my random DM, and accepted my impulsive invitation to a drink around a fire.

We were given another prompt a week later, about what makes us smile.

Prompt What makes you smile: 10 minutes

I poked the fire and took a sip of my angry orchard. Suddenly the tree’s leaves lit up as your car climbed the hill that makes up my driveway. I thought of last week, how [professor] Carrie asked us to write about our first crush. Since then I shared my writing with you, I got your snapchat and we’ve talked a lot. Now here you come. In the flesh to drink some cider with me by the fire. Once you stepped out of the car I couldn’t help myself. Over a decade has passed but you and I are still the same. I smiled thinking about it, how crazy this all was. A fistbump later I popped off the bottle’s cap and we were talking about elementary school and high school. You graduated a year early because you hated our classmates. I laughed at that because you said you envied that you heard my name a lot in high school. I envied you for skipping senior year. Overrated if you ask me. A few bottles later and all we could do was smile. At the past, at the beautiful night, at each other…

My classmate’s astonished faces made it all worth it! They demanded details, and to know when we were to have or next meeting, which they by now were calling date. For the second rendezvous we went for artisanal pizza and stargazed on the beach. This final idyllic chapter of the story of my first crush ended, as many things do, with the revelation of our differing views on religion. As it turns out, you can go to church four times a week and refuse to love thy neighbor. It was not the first time atheism thwarted love, and I doubt it will be the last!

Thank you for reading. Do you have a modern love story to share?

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