Lynn Taylor was a bitch. Shy, backward, socially inept, remarkably insecure eighth-grade me did not know that is what she was, I just thought she was mean and cruel. I was madly in love with her. I thought she did not know it. She really was aware I followed her every move with puppy dog devoted eyes, girls are aware at a much younger age than boys. She just did not care. She found it amusing and probably pathetic.
I first realized I could not live another day without kissing Lynn when I was in the fifth grade. I woke one day and girls were no longer just classmates with long hair and dresses. I stared at her picture on my bulletin board every morning and every night, often sighing my abiding love. She ignored me. When she wasn't teasing or humiliating me.
By the time we reached Junior High my crush was unbearable. Lynn deigned to go steady with only the popular boys -- the jocks, which in small town Indiana in the early 1970's meant basketball players. Oh, some of us competed in other sports, but we were just playing at games of no consequence. Basketball was King. Moreover, each of those boys always had perfect hair, parted in the middle and feathered down the sides. Me, my thick wavy hair would barely take a comb. A part was a fanciful dream.
Many a day I stood in front of the mirror, depressed over my hair, my lack of height, the deficiency of muscles. I did push ups and sit ups by the dozens, but always I looked just like the skinny guy in the ad on the back cover of Mad Magazine who got sand kicked in his face. I wasn't the proverbial 90 pound weakling. I would have had to gain about 15 pounds to get there.
Some days I would tell myself she was mean to me because she liked me. Just because I was socially inept did not mean I was not able to rationalize. Then I would consider that not once had Lynn had her friend Dani to tell my buddy Jeff that she liked me. I would get all depressed until I further rationalized that I had not told Jeff I liked Lynn! Maybe she did secretly love me! There was hope! Why did Junior High relationships have to be so complicated? Couldn't she see me riding my bike past her house?
Lynn would catch me at my locker and tell me what a great time she had at the eighth grade and sometimes high school parties she attended. Of course I had not been invited. She told me about making out with her boyfriend of the week, which was never me. She gave me a flirty "Too bad you missed it", and then she always flipped back her Farrah Fawcett cut blond hair, laughed a cruel laugh and slipped on down the hall. That was the Monday routine. The rest of the week went downhill from there.
One morning before first period English, I remember it as a few weeks before Halloween, Lynn walked up to Nancy Tompkins and announced so all could hear "Nancy, did you know that little pervert", pointing at me, "stares at your boobs all day?" I thought I would die. Not because it wasn't true, Nancy sat one row over and one seat up and I had a perfect view of the swell of her 13 year-old breasts when she leaned forward to write on her desk, but what boy wants their perversions shared with the whole class?
I decided In that moment Lynn Taylor was no longer worthy of my love.
That really pissed her off.