It happened at a basketball game my seventh grade year.
I don’t know about your school, but at the K-8 school I attended, Friday night basketball games were the social event of the week. All the cool kids came and hung out at the far end of the bleachers, as far away from the doors and the adults as it was humanly possible to get.
Those of us who weren’t so cool came and hung around the fringes of the cool kids, hoping to pick up some of their coolness would rub off on us.
Having recently discovered boys, I’d developed a crush on a boy who attended a different school – our cross-town rival to be exact.
This particular Friday night the cross-town rivals faced each other in my school’s gym. As I sat hunched on the bleachers about half-way up I was painfully aware of my crush sitting in the very top row of bleachers – a place reserved for the coolest of the cool.
I had about as much chance of sitting up there as an ice cube has in the Sahara Desert.
I have no idea what my adolescent brain was thinking, but I’d passed him a note: “Just who is Bobbie anyway?”
I’d heard that Bobbie was his girlfriend but I knew it couldn’t be true. I knew that he really liked ME; he just didn’t know it yet. When he figured it out he’d tell everyone that I was his girlfriend, and we’d live happily ever after. Amen.
Suddenly he was standing right in front of me. OMG, he’s right in front of me.. in front of ME! I jumped back, causing the comb in my back pocket to jam into my right cheek – ow!
My crush leaned down and put one hand on my knee. OMG, my he’s touching me… he’s touching ME!
My seventh-grade imagination had created numerous scenarios in which he declared his undying love for me. Of course, in each I was smooth, calm, collected, and incredibly cool.
In real life I felt nauseous and my heart pounded as I looked into his perfect light blue eyes, then at his perfect feathered-back blonde hair, then at the perfect booger…
Wait – a booger?
Oh yeah, a booger.
Hanging just inside his left nostril.
My crush was crushed.
Who can be in love with a guy who walks around with a booger in his nose?
My note was in his other hand… “What is this supposed to mean?” he asked.
The questions I’d wanted him to answer flew around inside my head, Is she your girlfriend? Do you like her? Do you like me?
I couldn’t take my eyes off that booger. “I don’t know.”
He looked at me for a moment, probably figuring I was a total nut case, then straightened and went back to his coolest-of-the-cool friends at the top of the bleachers.
Face burning, I stayed in my place in the middle of the bleachers. It may not have been the coolest place to sit and I may not have been the coolest of seventh graders, but at least I didn’t have a booger in my nose.
Photo by sxc.