story + photos / Gina Tron
First grade was the year of my first “boyfriend.” His name was Luke and he was a nice boy that came from an even nicer family. I’d often go to his house to play. We’d play an interactive learning game on their living room television that was a sort of preface to videogames.
We were like best friends I guess. I could be myself with him, which was basically the worst ADHD case of all time. I’d have fits of laughter and want to go upstairs to his brother’s room because I could see that there was a Kermit The Frog doll in there.
Because Luke had stern parents, his 6 year old girlfriend going upstairs was off limits. I found it funny that I wasn’t allowed upstairs and I wanted to play with the frog doll. I would try to run up the stairs and he would always have to pull me down. I would laugh so hard my stomach hurt. “What’s wrong with you?”
I would talk about him incessantly. To my mom, every night before bed I would babble. I loved that kid. They say that that age is much too young to experience real love but I beg to differ. It obviously was not sexual in nature and I was just so happy to know that he existed and existed within my world. My mom and his mom were friends and one time we drove over to drop something off or I don’t know what. But Luke came to the door and he was wearing his PJs and it made me giddy, like as if I experienced an intimate moment with him or something.
One day in the playground, a friend of mine came over and asked me if I liked Luke. “I don’t know,” I said shyly. I guess she registered this as “I don’t. No.”
So she relayed the message. He didn’t take the news well. He came over throwing rocks at me and screaming that he hated me.
When my mom picked me up from school that day, I was still in tears. “He hates me.” It took hours before I could even speak about what happened. I had never experienced anything resembling a heart break before.
“Oh honey, he didn’t mean it. He likes you.”
Probably. What else could inspire such rage? And how does a 6 year old fix an awkward social situation like that? Oh yeah, they don’t. They just continue on like nothing happened, like with most relationships. Next thing you know I’m at his house playing pre-video game videogames again.
We got a little distant as the next few years went on but apparently he still cared forme on some level. And apparently that enraged me for some reason.
3rd grade recess: I was playing some stupid game and I fell down. I wasn’t hurt or anything but I didn’t feel like getting up. It felt good to lay on the ground. Next thing I know there’s about 15 people around me asking me if I’m okay. I found it funny so I kept laying there. Maybe I just wanted the attention.
Then a line got crossed where me laying there got real awkward. I couldn’t very well just get up and say, “Everything is fine, guys! Just kidding!” I’d look like a liar and a fake if I did that. So, to avoid being perceived as a liar, I lied. I faked that my stomach hurt, and that I was sick.
“Should we get a nurse? “
Out of the crowd, one person came very close to me to check on me. It was Luke. I don’t know why I did what I did next. Was it revenge for 1st grade? Or did he just make me giddy? I felt the urge to get hysterical with laughter as he kneeled over me in concern. I got giddy. I kicked him in the stomach. He fell back. There is something about seeing people in such a vulnerable state that is both amusing and disgusting. You kind of want to injure somebody that is in a weak state such as this. It reminds me how unsexy as animals are; how all of us could just trip over a fucking
crack in the sidewalk at any moment and twist their ankle. Humans are so damn fragile. Unlike the other mammals of the animal kingdom that can fall from multiple stories and be just fine.
At first he laughed. He got up and brushed the grass off his pants. People looked weirded out. Then Luke came towards me again and I kicked him, harder. This time he didn’t find it so funny. “What’s your problem?” he asked.
And that all was basically a preface for how I would handle many romantic, and platonic relationships for years to come.