O.K., Late bloomers, let’s hear it: when was your first girl crush?
Mine was 7th grade. Sarah R. Tall and lanky, with a big a splash of freckles across perfectly angled cheekbones. Dirty blond hair just grazing her collar. Emerald green eyes. Smile to die for. Every time I saw her, my heart did a back flip. Which was really confusing. Was this how all best friends felt about each other? Did she feel this way about me?
Best moment ever: she invited me over the Saturday before my birthday. She opened the door with a huge grin. My heart did a triple axle. It was a beautiful fall day—normally we’d be headed downtown to wander aimlessly in and out of stores before parking ourselves at Burger King for hours, nursing giant Diet Cokes and sharing an order of large greasy fries. Instead, she made me wait in their family room while she ran up to her bedroom. Fine by me. I was in love with her whole family— a crew of five athletic, freckle-faced girls with warm, welcoming, seemlingly happily married parents at the helm. In other words, the polar opposite of the sad little state of affairs I went home to every night.
She ran downstairs, holding something behind her back. With a flourish, she pulled out a rectangular piece of wood: "Happy Birthday!" I admit, I had a moment. Really? This is your gift? But then I looked down at what was in my hands. It was a solid maple plaque, carefully stained and sanded by hand. A piece of parchment, burned at the edges, had been lacquered on top. And on the parchment, in Sarah's loopy script, was a poem about friendship—ending with the one the word I had been longing to hear: love.
I don’t remember the poem. I don’t remember the rest of the afternoon. I don't remember what else I did to celebrate my birthday that year. But I will always remember the hug we gave each other after our eyes met.
It took me many years to experience that kind of hug again. But it was well worth the wait.
So, LBLs, how about you?