Some of you may think that Boy At The Window is mostly a dark, depressing tale of struggle and strive with bits and pieces of silver lining mixed in. That’s not true, but the context for what pushed me into the journey that I’ve taken over the years arose out of moments like the one that I described on Friday. On the positive tip, the one silver lining, the one theme from 1982 that helped me get through an otherwise soul-destroying year was my seventh-grade crush.
Not that the girl whom was the object of my infatuation ever noticed. We fought twice, and for most of the year, we exchanged barbs and insults, most of them of the ridiculously stupid variety. But after watching her ballerina performance in class one day, I was smitten with attraction. It was the first time in my life that I had a crush on anyone my own age, much less a classmate. I found myself daydreaming about kissing her in class, my heart skipping a beat before pounding in my chest. My stomach would tie itself into knots upon seeing her arrive at school with her entourage at hand.
I don’t know when my crush on her turned into a metaphor for redemption. Somewhere around the time of my witnessing my ex-stepfather’s abuse of my mother, my classmate became more than just an attractive, fierce, and abundantly gifted individual. She became the type of person I aspired to be. Someone confident, fearless, able to take on the world. Someone who could defy gravity and my otherwise emotionally enigmatic self and pull out of me passions and possibilities that I never knew existed. That’s what she became to me at twelve. I’ve hoped ever since to meet people throughout my life that reminded me of my one-crush, at least the way I saw her back then.
By the time I began to get my head kicked in, I had transferred some of my feelings and thoughts about my crush to my mother. That gave me the strength that I needed to get through the summer. I know that this transference set me up for attraction to two kinds of people (women especially) in my life — those who are passionate, purposeful, and represent “damsels in distress,” and those who are popular and could be passionate and purposeful.
After a quarter-century, I’ve come to appreciate the different (and different) kinds of folks whom have been a part of my life because of my basic need for inspiration, for passion, to be saved, most of all from my past. I stopped pining away for my favorite ballerina years ago. But there is still a twelve-year-old in me who wouldn’t mind going back in time to steal a kiss, to grab her hand and thank her for being there (even if she didn’t know she was “there”), for waking me out of my childhood slumber.