December 23 puts me in the mood to reminisce as it's rumored to be the birthday of the girl who was my first crush. This would make her about ten months older than I. I began crushing on her in the fourth grade, having moved from Queens to Nassau County, and at that time it seemed quite the age gap. For the next four years, I hardly worked up the nerve to speak to her while she rose to head cheerleader and student body president.
Somehow, though, word got around that I liked her. At the eighth grade Halloween Dance, another girl offered to get us together for a slow song. I backed out. By the Graduation Dance, I'd heard she was dating someone her own age (who'd been left back), and when she asked me to dance, I said, "No, thanks."
I'd begun to think she didn't really want to dance with me, that someone put her up to it. I wanted to be wanted for me. Besides, she was dating someone else. ("Never rub another man's rhubarb.")
The next year, a busmate tried to taunt me saying he knew her, that she'd dyed her blonde hair black and started smoking.
"Really?" I said, secretly shocked.
"Yeah. She says you danced with her once."