In the seventh grade, I fell in love with a cute blonde, nerdy girl. Can’t even remember her name; that’s just evidence of how fickle my heart was in adolescence. How fickle it remains today. Never spoke so much as a word to her during those days. Nothing that wasn’t classroom related. Science and English, if memory serves me. And it often doesn’t. Though, if I close my eyes I can picture her behind the lids. Plain, natural face. A gentle Jackson Pollock painting of freckles that starts at her nose and spreads out towards her cheeks. Her blonde hair, usually worn loose, falling just past her shoulders. A sense of style pulled out of a Pentecostal wardrobe, something akin to Mennonite-lite. Long, unflattering skirt of plain color. A shirt or blouse loose-fitting, also dull. Calf-high wool socks worn bunched at the ankles with worn-to-the-sole shoes that brought the outfit together.
This mental romance didn’t run deep in the cerebral cortex. Didn’t graze the forebrain. Doesn’t compare to the feeling pooling through me during sixth grade when I obsessed over the Little Redhead Girl. And looking back on my crush on her, she doesn’t fit the mold of girls I’ve fallen for since. It just existed in this lapse of space. Something for me to reminisce as an adult facing existential crises on the daily.
There were times, after seventh grade, I wondered what happened to the little blonde girl who smelled of essays and old books. It’s not as if she’s resigned to just memory. Her name available as I do own a middle school year book. Though, I wouldn’t want to learn how different our paths veered. Or worse: how similar they’d be.
There are reasons why she came to mind. Reasons I’m not going to divulge in at the moment. It’s just that on Saturday, I learn how two people who walked down different paths have managed to end up in the exact same place. How, despite our differences, we are near duplicates of each other. On this quest, I searched for someone—like Jeanna, like Jessica, like Mari, like Jenny, like Selina—who’s my equal but opposite, here I am spending my time texting and talking to a girl different yet exactly the same.
Go fucking figure.