Math Didn’t Stick… But Carlos, Luke and Kirk Did

Lena

I’ll be honest, sometimes my expectations are a little ridiculous. Like how I check my mail with the serious hope that a love letter from a secret admirer will be awaiting me. In truth if normal people actually received a random note of love professions from an anonymous person, most people would assume they were being stalked by some crazed loon who wanted to cut their hair off and wear it, probably along with their skin. I however, believe differently. I am of the Jane Eyre persuasion that a well placed letter of undying love would be welcomed joyously. And okay, fine maybe it shouldn’t be anonymous because yeah, that might be weird, just sign your name man, but I do like the idea of secret admirers. But maybe it’s because I never had one in the fourth grade when that sort of thing was going around with cooties.

Besides expecting love letters in my mailbox, I also have high expectations when it comes to love. I wouldn’t say they are unreal or that I expect a knight on a white horse to ride up to my door, though I mean, come on, that’d be seriously awesome. Natalie Portman got to land Thor, that lucky wretch. I want some time-travel, world-saving, sword-wielding, scantily-clad Chris Hemsworth to land in my backyard. And okay, I actually do feel like I should point out that in no way is Chris Hemsworth normally my type. I don’t care all that much about bulging muscles and blonde hair almost never revs my engine, but that accent and that whole defend his kingdom bit, well it’s just sexy okay? So I’ll forgive the lack of beard and flannel but alas I digress.

It’s just that I had a realization the other day. As I  was helping out in the first-grade classroom where I used to work assisting the little munchkins with rudimentary math: 4-3, 7-6, 9-7… I thought back to when I was in first grade. I tried to recall if I could remember being taught basic addition and subtraction. I couldn’t recall.

What I could recall, however, with sparkling clarity was my crush who wore a white leather jacket. I think it had fringe and maybe some red birds swooping between the shoulder blades. He always hung it on the back of his chair and I stared longingly at it, wishing I was his girl and that he’d drape that fine piece of fashion over my shoulders, proclaiming to the world that I was his. I think his name was Carlos. And he was Hispanic. Oh those dark locks and that white leather. Carlos, you made it hard for a girl to remember silly math with you around.

I ended up with a different boyfriend in the class who had an obsession with the Phantom of the Opera and would never shut up about it. Ah, my first gay boyfriend, every girl needs at least one in life.

Okay, so maybe second grade I would recall some math? Hmmm, having a hard time locating the numbers, but I remembered how much fun I had in the reading corner and also my crush Timothy Driver. He also had lustrous dark locks (told you I’m not really into blondes) and was already popular as when I tried to befriend him he clearly knew his station was above mine and wanted nothing to do with me and my unruly curls and propensity for reading.

So odd that I couldn’t remember learning basic addition and subtraction but I remember Carlos and Timothy… what about third grade? Any math there? Nope. But I did have another crush on a Timothy but this one was red-headed. Red-headed Timothy actually was my friend and would play with me on the playground with my other friend… gosh, I cannot remember her name though… I’m starting to see a pattern here. Well let’s say her name was Rachel. One day I felt like Red-headed Timothy and Rachel were having too much fun with each other and not giving me enough attention.

Did I show them? Oh boy did I show them. I ran away from school. I just up and left the playground and walked across the street to the apartment complex where I knew my aunt lived. She wasn’t home, so I sat on her stairs in front of her door for awhile mulling over how boys were stupid and a total let-down. And then I walked back to school, where I was promptly told to march myself to the principal’s office. So apparently school is like jail and you’re not allowed to leave the grounds without serious consequences. Gosh, how was I to know? I had just wanted to send Red-headed Timothy a message. Don’t pay attention to me, and I will make the biggest spectacle you’ve ever seen, making it impossible for you to ignore me! 

As memory served, math clearly wasn’t on my mind as a young lass. Not even one problem survived when having to compete for space with my childhood crushes.

I knew the fourth grade was a bust for math because that was the year I discovered writing as my calling in life. I became consumed with writing stories and penning author’s bio’s. I don’t even recall having a serious crush that year. Writing was my new boyfriend and that was all I cared about. I mean sure, Alan was a hoot but he knew it, so that was a bit of a turn-off, I didn’t need anyone competing with me for attention. And Luke was really cute (for a blonde) but he was also the smelly kid so there was no dealing with that. And then William who sat next to me and happened to be blind but could play the piano and sang Billy Joel at our school concerts, really had me considering throwing all caution to the wind to start wooing a blind man, but I just didn’t have the time. Not with my newfound love, writing.

After doing a full-on mental assessment of my entire schooling career I found that while math was unremarkable to me in every way (shocker, I hate math) I could clearly pinpoint every crush from every grade and something that stood out about that crush, along with books I read or writing assignments I enjoyed. What this so obviously encapsulates is my two great loves: romance and the written word. Which clearly have been with me as far back as I can remember. I vaguely recall having crushes even in preschool, though what I remember more about preschool was really enjoying nap-time. Also nothing has changed much there.

Sure I loved love so much that by the time sixth grade rolled around and I still didn’t have a boyfriend I made one up, grabbing the name Kirk from Star Trek. I thought that the name Kirk was so obscure that it would have to be believable. Wrong, the fact that no one has ever had the name Kirk, ever, except for Captain Kirk and the fact that Imaginary Boyfriend Kirk attended a different school, led all my incredibly sweet and kind friends to just politely play along while raising suspicious eyebrows at my insistence on having a boyfriend, even if unreal and horribly named Kirk.

And yes I loved writing so much that when LeAnn Rimes had her hit single, “Blue” at fourteen, I began scrambling to start my book, so I could be the next child prodigy in the writing world. As a youngster, while making up boyfriends and practicing kissing on oranges and trees (laugh now but I’m a damn fine kisser thanks to those willing participants) I also dabbled in writing short stories, mostly angsty romances but I really kicked it up a notch thanks to LeAnn and began trying to type my novel at my babysitting job after the kids went to sleep. I still have all forty some pages typed out and stored in a manilla envelope with Top Secret written all over it. I may not have gotten my novel done or picked up by fourteen, but my commitment in even typing out forty pages is still slightly impressive to me even now.

These two constants in my life, my love of love and getting my book deal permeate my very existence. So all right, maybe math didn’t make a big impression, but that’s just not my cup of coffee, ya know? And maybe my future love will have to suffer through my hideous want for attention (I blame my nine younger siblings on why I didn’t get enough as a child) and maybe I’ll run away again when I don’t get it? Who’s to say? But he will also get quality kisses, more romance than a Danielle Steel novel and if he’s really swell, he’ll probably get a book dedication too.

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