I remember being seven years old and in second grade, it was the twenty third of September and unusually cold and I was on the playground wearing my ratty-old blue north-face coat zippered up to my neck. I must have been quite a scene with my shaved head and scrawny figure inside an over sized coat and baggy green corduroy pants. I would trudge over the slightly wet wood chips, as it had rained the day before, and see her; the very first girl I ever had an infatuation with and her name was Jessie.
She was this pale little girl who was inexplicably beautiful with her short, red hair and massive green eyes. Her freckles amused me. And I remember on this particular day she was on the swings hollering out to some other girl who was never of much importance to me, but Jessie was everything. She was why I became a believer in love at first sight.
I walked up to her while she was on the swings and entranced by her mystique I forgot that i was in front of her as she swung forwards, planting her small feet on my small face. I do remember crying out as I felt blood trickle down my upper lip as I fell heavily to the ground, landing on my back.
Unlike most children I didn't cry, my father was an alcoholic of course and did have a tendency to beat me now and then, so I was used to the pain. But Jessie did cry out my name, "Joseph!"
I shook off the pain and sat up, wiping the blood from my face, and said, "I'm alright, just a little hurt."
I saw Jessie's face, her eyes were wide with shock, her beautiful mouth opened wide in the heat of the moment, oh how I look back on that moment and wished I had reached up and kissed her. But having been six at the time it would have made me the greatest target of bullying which considering how much I received of at home; I wouldn't have held up very well.
So my response was to stand up and brush myself off as she started to tremble a little and teared up, "I'm so sorry Joseph, I didn't mean to."
"It's fine, it's fine..." I couldn't think of much else to say, I was enthralled by her compassion and emotion, her sheer beauty was too much strain on me.
My friend Craig, the only one that actually remains my friend to this day, walked over and said, "Joe! What happened?!"
With that Jessie turned away and ran in the other direction, the reason for which was that she and Craig had a nasty habit of arguing and goading each other on. It was irritating at the time considering my feelings towards this girl, but I look back on it and chuckle a little.
I remember vaguely later on in the day Jessie being demanded by the teacher to apologise to me as she submissively obeyed and came over to me.
Just before she spoke I stopped her and I hugged her, my tiny arms enwrapping her tinier figure in a tight, intimate embrace. As I did so I whispered in her ear, "I forgive you."
Her eyes opened wide, startled at my sudden remark, but she clutched me back as she buried her adorable face into my shoulder, her green eyes closed as I felt tears soak the fabric of my shirt. This was a good day, one of very few good ones in my young life. However my romance was short lived as in second grade she moved away to Nebraska or some other state no one really cares about, so in time she faded away as an interest, but I never forgot her face or her eyes or her fiery hair. Or her last words to me, "You know that day in the playground? I saw you and I realised that I liked you... I just didn't know what to do."
To this day I cannot believe what she said was true, only that I know she said it.