Paul. Let me take you back to 6th grade at my elementary school. We didn't have a junior high at that point in time. I was in a combined 6th/7th grade class at Richmond Street Elementary School. Paul was in 7th grade. He was my first and so far only thunderbolt.

Of course, I'd had crushes on guys before. There were the requisite celebrity puppy love things with the Fonz, Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, the list goes on. Fellow kids-wise, there was Mike and Robert in 3rd grade (at different times, mind you). In 4th grade I liked this red-headed boy but I'll be damned if I can remember his name. 5th grade was Jason. All of them ephemeral whiffs of hormones gone wild.

Then there was Paul. I remember passing out Christmas cards that year and making sure I gave him the nicest one. Silly things we do with our adolescent crushes.

There were a bunch of us who used to hang out after school playing tag in the park at the library across the street. I was inordinately pleased by the fact that he would pay attention to me while we were all chasing each other around. In retrospect, he was simply a nice boy playing a game with his friends but it meant so much to me at the time.

Next school year rolled around and Paul was off to the high school (part of a 4-year experimental thing that had our high school hosting grades 8-12 - my class was the last one to do that). I soon stopped obsessing about Paul and moved on to a long-legged guy named Jim who played basketball.

Again, another school year rolled around and here I was over at the high school. I can vividly recall sitting in my first year Spanish class one day and hearing someone mention Paul's name as being in another one of the 1st year Spanish classes and having aced a test. My ears pricked up just like a cat who has heard the can opener. Paul. My thunderbolt - all over again. He was not to be the only recipient of my adoration that year, however. Another boy named Eric, who was in my Social Studies class, and Bruce Springsteen were also chosen ones.

Moving right along to junior year of school. I'd had other crushes during my 9th and 10th grade years but Paul had always been there. A constant on my romantic radar. Junior year I'm in Spanish 3. Guess who I ended up sitting behind? That's right. For the first time, I began speaking to Paul. Getting to know him. It was heaven. My crush turned into full-blown like. Was I courageous to do anything about it? Hell no! Besides, he ended up going out with my friend JoAnn for the rest of his time in high school. Figures, huh?

He graduated that year and there was no more Paul in my life. I moved on, had boyfriends. Sex. All those wonderful things people do. Paul's always been there, though. In the back of my mind, swimming through my subconscious. He'd pop up now and then when I'd see something we'd talked about or he'd wander through my dreams. On one prophetic occasion, I dreamt that he told me to stop thinking about him. I didn't obsess about him or try to find him with any great degree of effort. He's just always been with me.

I've seen him once since high school. At his 10-year reunion. I was working at a real estate agency at the time and was in a superficial phase. I ended up being mildly bitchy and not having the guts to talk to him. Still kicking myself for that to this day.

The point to this little story? Some months ago, my best friend (who was in high school with me and has endured the Paul obsession with me) saw his name at Holy shit! Yep, that was my reaction. I finally managed to scrape up the cash to pay for the Gold membership thing and did further scraping to come up with enough nerve to send him a "hey how's it going?" e-mail last night. I heard back from him this morning. He's got a girlfriend and 2 kids. Am I disappointed? Yeah, a bit. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. Here's the thing though. When I first found out he was within reach via this e-mail deal, I decided that should I not be fortunate enough to experience a romantic epiphany type situation, I'd be fine with having him in my life as a friend than not at all. Maybe that's all Paul and I are meant to have. Who knows? All I know for sure is that way back when, he was an amazing guy who I liked a lot. Worst case scenario at this point, I've renewed a friendship. Works for me! We can use all the friends we can get in this world. It's been a freeing experience. I feel like I can finally tell my subconscious to take dream Paul's advice and stop thinking about him as he used to be.
Labels: 0 comments | edit post