I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my first boyfriend. With apologies to those that followed – he was the best.
I was twelve when I first met him. I’d lost my father a mere four months previous, so you might not think that anything could distract me from that grief. But life has a tendency to go on.
The first time I saw him was that first day of seventh grade, Jr. High. It was typing class, and I’d just found a friend, a boy who’d been in my 6th grade class back in elementary. His name was Dylan, and he’d factor into my life for years to come. But it wasn’t his presence that stunned me, that gave my heart an electric thrill.
It was Josh. Joshua Bryan. I couldn’t tell you what attracted me to him, what started a longing in my heart that twenty years hasn’t quite been able to quench. He wasn’t tall, he wasn’t movie-star handsome. Maybe it was that slightly tousled look and air he had about him. A mischievous glint in his eye? I don’t know what it was, honestly. But from that day, that first day of seventh grade in my first typing class, my world was altered.
To my surprise, he became a part of my little band of friends in Jr. High. Not part of the core – Dylan, Amanda, Lizzie, Jon Baugh and I – but something of a satellite. We were all in band together, and were all pretty friendly with everyone, so maybe it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Josh and I got to know each other.
Seventh and eighth grades were a wonder to me. I look back at them as an innocent time. While at home I was dealing with a lot, learning to live in a family who’d lost so much, when I was with my friends I could be free of that and just have fun. And I had so much fun. I made my own little family and I loved them fiercely.
And I loved Josh, fiercely.
I asked him out twice. Once in seventh grade, once in eighth. Both times he said no, but he never rejected me in such a way that I was brutally hurt. We always maintained that easy, at-a-distance friendship. Even after he found a fantasy I’d written about him. (I just remembered this.) I’d written out what our life together would be like, complete with “Victoria K. Bryan” written in the margins. He laughed, but not in a mocking way, and though I was of course embarrassed, again I was not badly hurt.
Time would change that.
My little group of misfits entered High School together, the Big Leagues. Alone of our group, I was selected to join the Varsity Marching Band. Something of a high honor. Off I went to band camp. I made some friends there, mostly in my section (flute, no jokes). One, a certain dark-pixie named Sarah Nieves, would have a big impact on my life. But that’s another story.
I did meet and befriend another girl, a tuba player by the name of Katrina Jacobberger. She was tall and loud, broad and boisterous. She had one of those smiles that bloomed like a rose across her face, and her eyes would dance when she laughed. It was hard not to like her.
It was impossible for Josh not to fall for her.