What got me first was his nose. The first time I saw his large, bony beak of a nose across the gym at the Catholic Community Center, I knew he was the one for me. He went to another Catholic school in our diocese, so I could easily love him from afar at the myriad sporting events and dances that we went to together. And, I made sure that he never knew that I existed by vehemently refusing every opportunity I might have had to be introduced to him. Because, for one thing, he was an 8th grader, which made him infinitely more sophisticated than my 7th grade self. Another for another, he was "going with" a girl who my friends and I referred to as Frizz Head (in the nicest possible way that such as term could be used, of course). I'm not even sure I remember her actual name, but my disgust for her is still quite vivid in my mind.
As I grew older and we both went to different high schools, my love for Frank waned, but my old feelings could easily be conjured back in a moment's notice. For instance, I realized that he was a member of his school's track team, and, as I was on the track team as well, I would see him regularly at meets. At one meet in particular, I confided my long standing crush to a mutual friend. He insisted that we meet, and, just like when I was in 7th grade, I passionately voiced my resistance.
"Why not? That's crazy! Oh, there he is now! Hey, Frank...."
By the time he turned back to me, I was long gone, sprinting away at a speed much faster than I had ever run in an actual race. Thankfully, I only appeared as a red, retreating blur to Frank that day.
The funny thing is that while Frank had no idea that I even existed, I knew almost everything about him, thanks to my dear friend Maresa who went to school with him and kept me up to date on him throughout the years. And as time went on, my crush on Frank became like an old joke, and then was nearly forgotten.
one fateful summer night nearly ten years from the time I had first laid eyes upon Frank, there he was. It was the summer after I graduated from college, and I was out a bar with friends, when I looked up only to see the one and only Frank across the room. He was clearly older, but there was no mistaking the nose. Immediately, my heart began to pound and I could barely get a clear sentence out to tell my friends. But when I recovered, I started to laugh when I thought of all the times I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Frank, and yet never did because of fear or embarrassment or whatever. And, being much more confident than my 7th grade self, I decided to go talk to him.
And I did. And whatever horrible thing that I had feared would happen didn't. In fact, he actually asked me for my number and promised to call me. And he did.
Now this is the part of the story where you might feel like you are in a Nicolas Sparks book where a girl is reunited with her childhood crush only to find true love and happiness.
But, of course, it didn't happen like that.
Oh, we did go out and have a great time on our first date. But, I had failed to mention to him the long-standing crush I had had on him. And, while he was meeting me for the first time, I was just finally talking to someone I had known for ten years. I guess I just didn't want to come across as some sort of crazy stalker. The irony is that with each date or phone conversation we had where I failed to bring this up, I started to feel like I was some sort of crazy stalker.
Whenever he would tell me something about his junior high or high school years, I had to pretend like I didn't know about it. Or, once when we were out we saw a friend of mine who knew of my Frank-loving history. When I saw the surprise in his eyes, I had to convey by threatening looks that he should not bring up the funny coincidence that I was actually with Frank.
It was a little tiring, and the window of opportunity for me to tell Frank about my crush diminished by the day.
In the end, if it had been a true love connection I probably would have been compelled to tell him. But, I never did. The relationship didn't last, but at least I could finally say I got some up close and personal time with that nose. Did I mention I loved that nose?