Isn’t it amazing that with all the technology that we posses, we use it for gratifying our own selfish needs. Don’t get me wrong, being selfish is not entirely too bad. If we didn’t take the time to seek what we want then who are we? Or what would we become?
As humans, we seek relationships–for better or worse–and as humans we differ on who we pick. Have you ever heard a person snicker about who their friends are dating? I sure have, and I am also sure people have snickered about many of the relationship choices I have made. But my friends have never seen Kelley Brooks.
Kelley was the hottest girl in High School, and was the lust of many a school boy. I met her during the summer of ’84. I was new to the neighborhood, and was playing outside with my brother and sister. For some reason, something caught my eye. I looked up, and there she was. “Hi”, she said with a smile. I was so shy at that time, in my life. My instinct was to run, but she said hi. Just when I thought of something to say my brother and sister jumped in. We talked, went for a walk and we connected that day–and for many days after.
Two weeks later was the start of the school year. The dreaded “first day of school”. I started seventh grade, and it was different. Before the move, I lived in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I attended Baldwin Elementary School. Pawtucket was an ethnically diverse community, and so was Baldwin Elementary School. Of all my years, I never paid any attention to my skin color. I was simply a sample of everyone else. This changed when I moved to Lincoln–in the summer of 1984.
Kelley accepted me, and so did her sister Colleen and her friend Tara. I’m not dumb. I knew that the suburbs of Lincoln, Rhode Island was full of “white folk”, but I was a bit optimistic about the other parts of Lincoln and the kids in the High School. The true test for me was when I went to the bus stop. My mother dropped me off in our crappy car. She also dressed me up in some preppy attire. I was so embarrassed, but isn’t every teenager?
As I stepped out of my moms car, I saw the 10-13 kids at the bus stop. I decided to stand by myself–away from them–uncomfortably waiting for the bus to arrive. It did, and I was the last one to step on. The bus was so crowded and I was so afraid of where to sit. I tried to not show my nervousness, and I looked over to one girl and I recognized her! No, it was not Kelley, but it was Carrie. Carrie and I went to Baldwin Elementary in Pawtucket. Apparently we moved at the same time. I was relieved to know I had a friend. The bus went up the hill, and made a stop. Kelley was at that stop, and she boarded the bus. She sat in front of me, and made me so happy.
Kelley would always go out of her way to say hi to me. She would sit with me at lunch. She would come over my house after school. In fact, one day she came over we spent it in my basement. My basement, at that time, was unfinished. It had a bed in the corner, though. Kelley ran to the bed and invited me to lay on it. I did, and when I did she jumped up to shut off the light–then climbed back into the bed. Like an idiot, I jumped up to turn on the light. She jumped up to turn off the light..etc..etc.
I was 12 years old, and I didn’t fully understand “girls”. That wouldn’t hit me until I was 14 years old.
My seventh grade year was a blast. Kelley was so beautiful, but this story took a tragic end. You see, after months of attention, I was annoyed by Kelley. I remember turning to a classmate one day when Kelley waved to me. I told him I wish she would stop, and she did. Poof! Just like that she stopped giving me attention. She stopped coming over to my house. She stopped talking to me. It wasn’t her fault, she was simply doing something that I wished for, but I had too much pride to tell her how much I loved her.
Year after year, we shared the same home room. We shared the same classes, often sitting next to each other. And it was year after year that we did not utter a word to each other. Day after day, year after year we did not say one thing to each other–not even share a glance. Although, there were times I glanced over to her. The look she gave appeared cold. I am still convinced that for all those years she thought I was gay.
She was a cheerleader, and dated the typical jock. Maybe, I never had a shot with her. Maybe, It was all in my head. Not only did I stop talking to Kelley, but I also stopped talking to her sister Colleen and her friend Tara. I did, however, break my silence once. Kelley’s brother was killed by a drunk driver in the late ’80’s, and I stopped over their house to express my condolences–Colleen answered the door. She was thankful for my visit, at least she appeared to be. But, I remained silent after that–again.
It has been many years after, and I often reflect back to that one day when I told that kid I wished Kelley would stop being nice to me. I often harp back to what an idiot I was on the bed with Kelley.
She is married with kids now. She is also living in Georgia, and I know this because she is on Facebook. Maybe some day I will have the courage to say hi…probably not.