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11-09-03 - 9:45 p.m.

Another fabulous character sketch or romp down the path of nostalgia.


My first memory of moving here in fifth grade begins with Brett, my next door neighbor. He had messy soft brown hair and the look of a pouting puppy, you know the drill. We used to play improv games together. We joined the swim team, we played sharks and minnows, and we pretended to smoke. We spoke in British accents and I tried clumsily to adopt his love for Les Miserables. I fell hard in that ten-year-old kind of way. I typed out Valentine’s notes that I thought were anonymous. In truth or dare, he often got dared to kiss me, but never did. Acting came naturally to him. I remember the summer his voice changed. He had sung like an angel before that.

In seventh grade, Davida (his mother) accused my mother of child molestation. It was silly, a product of my mother’s friendliness and a small resentment over a mistake of hers. Davida cited for evidence a day my mom called Brett and invited him over. The day she was referring to had been the day I’d had mouth surgery and was unable to talk, which we’d spent watching movies. Davida never involved the police, but her accusation caused much pain to both my mother and I. I remember coming home after drama class to find my mother in tears. It was one of those pivotal childhood moments, I think. At that age, I had a different definition of devestation. It became a very Romeo-and-Julietesque affair in my mind.

I continued my crush on Brett from a distance, although he was no longer allowed in our house. Then one day he came over to our house at a party, and the first thing he asked was where I got my dress. He pranced. He gestured. He wore my high-heeled shoes. He shrieked with delight. He was the most flamboyant person I had ever seen. It all clicked into place. I’m not sure why I thought all those years that he had a crush on me. Perhaps it was his personality that confused us; he seemed to be flirtatious with everyone. He touched. He poked. He hugged. He feigned tears or joy. Somewhere along the line, his gayness was something that we all talked about. We weren’t sure we weren’t kidding. After all, who did we know that was actually gay?

We grew apart, mainly due to his mother’s accusation. I brought it up to him once, but he never believed me. His mother had never told him why he was not to come here, only that he was not. Brett and my mother used to get along well. Now he was afraid to wave. I couldn’t really call his house. So we went our separate ways. I went to a magnet high school. When I eventually transferred to my “home school”, I was a grade ahead of him, and he had become a complete stranger. He was a Catholic, and from what I hear he went through several girlfriends quite chastely -- in fact, possibly without ever kissing them.

I was strangely pleased when I recently learned from Nash that Brett came out senior year. My first childhood “love” was flamingly and flamboyantly gay. I never thought he’d come to terms with it, though I knew even then

. A part of me always cares for that boy, in memory, the one with whom I have audio tapes of TLC duets. He is the subject of numerous childish unrequited love poems, which foresight dictated I destroy. Brett was the first boy my parents joked I would marry, but he never would ask me to dance. Now that I think of it, I wonder who his true love was.

 

 

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