She was perfect. Her skin was a smooth, dark chocolate, mocha maybe, her lips a contrasting pink. Every time I saw her my heart literally skipped a beat (seriously, check with my doctor), but to her I was always just a friend. Maybe to her I was even “little brother” material because she sure enough treated me like it, even when I went out of my way to remind her that we weren’t related, that she could and should see me in a different light.
We met at church, like a lot of people do, when we were both just out of the cradle, it seemed. Perhaps that’s where the “brother” feelings originated for her. I don’t think I’ll ever really know, if she herself even knows. I hadn’t seen her as a possible love interest then either. It wasn’t love at first sight, but there was always something about her that was ethereal, transcendent even. I think I knew even when we were little kids that there was a spark there I would like to explore later. That set us apart.
It was always more than just a crush, too. Now, I’m not saying that I knew what love was way back then, but I did know that I wanted more than what friends had. I was probably around 10 when I first realized I wanted to be more than friends. I began writing about her daily in my journal, thinking about her more and more as time went by, and finding excuses to spend more time with her both in and out of church. I even joined several groups just to be near her.
But I never once told her how I felt. I think maybe I was just too shy to approach anything like that with her. Or perhaps I was just deathly afraid of rejection. Maybe I figured it was better to be a well-respected friend than to possibly mess things up if she didn’t say she felt the same. It’s always awkward after that. Or more likely I had a feeling she knew how I felt, and it would have hurt infinitely more if she had crushed my dreams like so many bugs.
Looking back on it, we had some wonderfully amazing good times. I remember one church picnic and us singing songs loudly and out of key on the bus, then taking turns being silly while trying to ride a tube on the choppy water, a game of frisbee golf, and all the watermelon we could eat. I remember staying after church one day and just talking for hours on end. I remember playing the drums together every Sunday, me with my bass drum setting the tempo for her. I remember her smile that could light up a room.
Yes, it was the first time I knew I had feelings for girls, and I’m glad to say she was my “first,” in that way, because that image of her doesn’t fade over time. We were wonderful friends, and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m glad now I didn’t tell her how I felt because it would have taken away something special. My imagination of how it would have been between us, which was amazing. And that’s all I really needed.