In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.” Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?

I liked boys early. By the first grade I had my very first crush. His name was Bruce…he was blonde, and cute, and, of course,  had no clue that I existed.

And he turned out to be my brother-in-law.

Yes, almost 25 years later, I married the brother of the boy I had my first crush on…which to me is mind-blowing because Bruce was someone I had held a grudge against for years. Yeah, that first grade crush didn’t last for too long.

When I was in high school, I was very aware of my social status in the hierarchy of cliques. In short, Bruce was a popular jock, and I was a nobody. That alone could cause me to foster resentment against him. The fact the was dating Brenda, a girl I did not care for from my days on the volleyball team, did not help his case any.

One day in gym we were playing softball. I was pitching, and he stepped up to the plate. I threw one in the strike zone, which he caught in his hand, and as he hurled it back to me said, “Can’t you throw any harder than that?”

What a turd, right? That pretty much sealed the deal – I hated this guy.

My sophomore year I had to have surgery. I had an ovarian cyst, and had been cut open from hip bone to hip bone. I was not allowed to participate in gym for 6 weeks in order to allow my incision to heal. My first day back we were playing ulitmate frisbee under the guidance of a substitute, who looked just like Sam the butcher from the Brady Bunch.

I was taking it easy. However, at one point Bruce had the frisbee and I managed to corner him in the gym, my arms blocking him as he pivoted to try and find a way to throw the frisbee. Next thing I know, he leans into me, and jabs me with his elbow right in the gut….and my incision.

The area of the surgery was still pretty tender, and I went down fast and hard. I told the teacher I needed to go to the nurse, explaining that I had just had surgery and that Bruce had elbowed me hard. Yes, I was hoping to get him trouble, but this was a substitute, who really didn’t care. The incident pretty much went unoticed.

As I sat in the nurse’s office with an ice pack on my abdomen, I was seething with anger. In my eyes this was a deliberate attack. Didn’t he know that I just had surgery? Hadn’t he noticed that I hadn’t been in gym class for almost two months? Did he need to win a game of ulitmate frisbee that badly? Plus, he hadn’t even gotten in trouble! These are the thoughts that swirled through my 15 year old head as my belly throbbed. And Bruce? He was now officially an enemy.

Years later I would see Bruce from time to time. My sister’s husband played on a softball team with Bruce, and a majority of his six brothers. I’d sit in the stands and watch him will a cool eye of hatred. He’d say hi to me sometimes, and I give him a nonchalant “‘s’up” in return, not really wanting to acknowledge him at all. Part of me felt stupid about it. After all, the frisbee incident had happened years and years ago, but I just couldn’t seem to forgive and forget.

Then a few years later, I met his brother Brian, who eventually became my husband. I’ll never forget when we planned a trip down to Florida to visit Bruce for the first time, before we were married. I was so nervous! I’d told Brian about the frisbee story, and he just chuckled at it, saying it would be good for a laugh when were were down visiting Bruce.

Let me tell you, it was super surreal staying in the house of a guy I had hated so vehemently in high school. But he was really nice, and very friendly. I met his wife and his two children, we went to the beach and had a nice couple of days. During a night filled with “remember when’s” I told him the story of how he elbowed me in gym.

He had absolutely no recollection of it. At first I found that astonishing. How could he not remember the act that I had harbored such indignation towards for all these years? But then I really thought about it.

Had he known I’d had surgery? Probably not – I was totally off his radar. To him, all he was doing was playing frisbee, and trying to win. What I saw as a deliberate and mean-spirited attack was nothing more than an offensive maneuver to him;  something so insignificant that he did not store it in the old memory bank.

Funny, right? Funny how two people could view the same incident in totally different ways. Now? Out of all my husband’s brothers he’s one of my favorites. And when I think back to Bruce cockily throwing the ball back to me and asking if I could pitch any harder, I want to laugh out loud. Because if you had told me that he was going to be my brother in law one day, I might have just fainted in disbelief.

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