My first crush became the real thing more than a decade after it began.
Like being in a sudden time warp, I had the opportunity to celebrate this particular New Year’s Eve with a guy I’d had a crush on when I was barely into puberty. My parents were friends with his parents. And even though he was fourteen years older than me, I enjoyed being near him at family functions - his parents were Aunt Betty and Uncle Carl to me - pseudo relatives. When I was twelve I tagged along with my parents to attend his Jack and Jill wedding shower, given by my pretend relatives. I sat directly across from the future Mr. and Mrs. and gazed at Billy’s hand, rested upon his fiancee’s thigh. Thick veins protruded beneath tanned skin. A youthful yearning sent ripples through my body. Physically attractive with a handsome face and killer smile, he seemed the closest I would ever get to knowing a perfect person. I didn’t forget him through the years.
We had a glorious evening together that New Year’s Eve. He was a single dad by then. I was the one who had invited him to my friends’ New Year’s Eve party after hearing from my Aunt Betty that Bill (no longer Billy) was spending it alone. He hadn’t changed much even though more than a decade had passed between us. Except for some wrinkles he appeared at first as the same perfect person I had my crush on in my prepubescent years. I was the one changed - to a young woman.
Of course not one of us is perfect, and most of us are far from it, and I was about to learn one of life’s lessons.
We left the party after midnight and went to his suburban house, not far from the home where he grew up.
It was here he felt comfortable enough to take off his mask and I saw him then as a vulnerable, stand up guy trying his best to get through a difficult situation and start a new life. I respected him. But I was a young woman out to enjoy that stage of my life without children or stepchildren. He was approaching middle age, hoping to get back to enjoying his. We didn’t see one another again.
Recently, while in a reverent mood, I looked him up on the internet. I was about to write a short story of my experience with Bill and hoped to discuss it with him beforehand. There I discovered his obituary from only a couple of years ago. Life had continued on for Bill, until it didn’t. As it will for me, until it doesn’t. But there will always be that moment when I had the opportunity to begin a brand new year with my unforgettable first crush.