When I was in grade three, I fell in love. It wasn’t the type of love that made me evaluate my life or conjure up dreams of a future. I’m not even certain I looked much past the next week. But I did know that I felt something strong for her. I may have even wanted to kiss her.
Her name was Dana. She had long, blonde hair and the prettiest smile. She was a year older than me.
We were in the same class (a split-level, Grade 3-4 class). She sat up at the front, while I was somewhere in the back.
I remember looking at that long, blonde hair of hers, wondering what was going on in her mind. Was she thinking about me? Was she interested in anyone else? They were thoughts that consumed me for the days leading up to when I asked her out.
And I mean asked her out.
No, not to be my girlfriend. But to actually go out on a date with me. I asked her to come over to my house for lunch.
I had asked my mom earlier if that would be okay and she had said yes. After asking her own mother, Dana said yes, too.
Looking back on it, I have no idea why our mothers would have agreed to it. As students, we weren’t really allowed to go home for lunch. It wasn’t like Dana and I were friends, either. The first time I spoke to her was when I asked her to my home.
But, whatever the reason, she came.
I dressed up that day. Nothing too fancy. Yet more than I normally would have. A nice pair of pants and a dress shirt of some kind. I can’t remember what shoes I wore, but I’m guessing they were a pair of sneakers. I don’t remember having any other kind.
My mom picked us up from school and walked us home. I lived around ten minutes away. Then we sat down to eat.
I remember Dana being quiet. Of course, why shouldn’t she have been? She was in a stranger’s home, being fed by that stranger’s mother. We were having either grilled cheese or Kraft Dinner (I can’t remember) and grape juice.
The reason why I remember the grape juice is because, some time into our date, I spilled it all over me. I have no idea how I could have done anything so careless. But I knocked over the cup and the juice went across the table and into my lap.
Nearly dying is an understatement. I thought I had died. And I had no idea how I was going to come back to life.
My mom played it off like it was no big deal (as she did pretty much every problem that ever came her way). She wiped up the table and had me go upstairs to get changed.
Sitting on my bed, I looked at the purple stain and continued to wonder how it could have happened. When I realized that Dana would be downstairs waiting for me, I got changed and tried to stop thinking about it.
Dana seemed fine when I returned. Okay, fine isn’t the word. She hadn’t seemed fine this whole time. But she hadn’t changed. She was still quiet. She was still polite.
My mom poured me another glass of grape juice and we finished our meal. We walked back to school shortly after.
I think that was the last time I spoke to Dana (at least until high school) and my love for her soon fizzled out (probably by late that afternoon).
But I’ll always think of her as my first love. She brought up feelings in me I hadn’t felt before. She introduced me to the world of dating (though she had no idea she was on one). And thinking upon that lunch we had together always makes me smile.
Childhood is strange that way, isn’t it? The smallest of things can turn into the most monumental. That I even remember this lunch date is amazing. I’m sure if Dana were to read this she’d have no recollection that any of this ever happened.
But it was important to me and I’ll never forget it.