When I was about 5 years old, my parents took me and my little sister—who was a baby at the time—to see some of their friends out in Lockhart, Texas.
So we loaded up in our 1980’s brown and beige Winnebago—quite noble and a majestic beast it was—and made the drive.
I don’t remember the last name of this family in Lockhart, but I’m going to call them the Carls, because after meeting their 6 year old son, named Carl, that’s all that I remembered for years to come about that family. I remember him and that fateful week I learned of loves bitter aftertaste.
I was convinced that Carl was the most perfect boy I had met since my daycare stint at Small World of Learning. He had everything I was looking for: a trampoline, an adventurous spirit, and a He-Man T-shirt. I was love struck.
Well, there was another family staying with the Carls and they had a cute little blonde girl, my same age, named Chelsea.
Immediately I knew this Chelsea was going to be trouble.
Come to think of it, I think her name was actually Kelsey. Which just makes her all the more intolerable.
First of all, she had a ponytail. And don’t even get me started on my issues with ponytails.
The concept of the ponytail had always alluded me.
I got cursed by my dad’s thin hair genes (sorry Dad).
So, basically I didn’t start growing hair until, literally, I was 3 years old. At 5 I had only managed to grow a few whispy curls that stuck out in all directions like Little Orphan Annie with Male Pattern Baldness.
In fact, it was so bad, that the year before I had told my mom that all I wanted from Santa that Christmas was a ponytail. Geez, that’s a better holiday sob story than the freakin’ Gift of the Magi.
Here’s a lesson to all you parents out there; if your child is repeatedly subjected to a debate with strangers on whether she’s a boy or a girl, you had better take this as a cue to dress her in nothing but pink and frills. If ever there were a child in history that desperately needed to be dressed in girly clothes, it was me. Unfortunately, my parents liked to dress me like a 1970’s Sesame Street episode.
In my eyes, her dirty blonde, honey colored ponytail was like a fantastic piece of art, like she had inherited the Mane of Mufasa or ate a Barbie doll.
At the young age of 5 I was very well aware of the fact I was the less attractive of the two, but Carl had to be mine, and I would do everything in my power, to make him like me.
If he liked grape Kool-aid; I sure as shit was going to drink me some purple stuff that week. If he wanted to watch Thundercats; I was going to learn how to round house kick off the couch like a freakin calico.
First Carl and his brother wanted us to go treasure hunting in their yard. So, I grabbed a garden shovel and dug with all my viscosity.
I had a break in my Race for the Carl when I found a white grub worm and a penny. I thought I was well on my way to victory.
Then Carl wanted us to jump on the trampoline.
Take it down a notch Kels.
I think she was the original inspiration for The Man Show.
Finally at the end of the week, Carl and his brother wanted to play Monopoly, which I enthusiastically decided to learn. Although, when I think back, it seems like not only was I able to understand the rules of the game, but also that I enjoyed it.
Which has to be impossible, since even today I still don’t understand the rules and I know for an absolute fact it’s the most boring game on the planet only rivaled by ESPN Poker and the Quiet Game.
Finally on the very last day of our visit, Carl and I ended up in the same room eating a snack, together…alone.
And then it happened, Carl leaned over, gave me a peck, and then ran out of the room.
Just then, my mother announced it was time to get on the road and go home, but I was happy. I had done it, against all genetic odds I had won Carl. The excitement of my first innocent little kid kiss was a high that sustained me approximately for the next 15 years.
Until one fateful day, when I discovered a truth that shattered my untainted perception of Carl and all of our mother’s promises that “personality and can win over looks.”
One day, when I was in college, I was home for the holidays. A friend of mine, Chassidy, and I were going through some of my Mom’s old photos. Well, when we got to the “Party like it’s 1989” section, of the collection, I came across the pictures of that week with the Carls.
Here is what unfolded:
Me: Aw look at these cute pictures of me and the first boy I ever kissed.
Chassidy: Omg how cute!
Me: I know, it was a magical week where we shar…..Oh good God!
Suddenly I came across a picture…nay…it was more of a black hole of an instant in time which I was ignorant to its existence.
There before my eyes, 16 years later, was what could only be described as The Ultimate Betrayal of the Heart. And, no, I am NOT being over-dramatic. Not at all.
Packed away in an 4X7 Kodak print of memory was this:
That’s such bullshit.
So, I asked my mom if Carl and Kelsey were married now, but she just mumbled something about being “over dramatic,” and then she told me she thought she heard that Carl had gotten into some kind of trouble in recent years.
Hmph. Moral of the story: mess with me, and see what happens to your future. Let that be a lesson to you all.
I feel like I’m the only person who couldn’t grow her hair, did anyone else have these issues?
Who here thinks my artistic rendition of myself as a child looks like Stewie from Family Guy?