The Cutest Boy in the Class

First grade, Oakland, California. Kids were kids in New Zealand; we played house and oversaw menageries of stuffed animals. Here, kids were mini-adults. They asked me what my father did for a job. What kind of car we drove. Whether or not I had a boyfriend. I had a hard time getting across all this. And then one day I had a boyfriend. The playground was all a-flutter. A group of little girls rushed over to tell me the “cutest boy in the class”, who went by plain old ‘Chris’, had chosen me. This was confirmed moments later when an officious boy with a slick shoulder-length bob strolled over, informed me I’d been selected by Chris, who thought I was cute, spun like a soldier at attention, and marched back to Chris’s side. Chris made no move to approach. He simply eyed me from a distance and let his messenger scurry back and forth, as if that patch of pavement was his throne. Or, if we were back in the classroom, that desk in the corner was his throne. Wherever he was was his throne? Was I supposed to approach? Or send a message via his emissary? The giddiness of the other little girls followed me like cloud, at the table where I drew a picture, down the hall, into the playground: you’re so lucky, he’s so cute, we’re so jealous. And then the uprising began, small at first, just whispers, then outright accusations: one girl suggested to the Assistant to the Cutest Boy that I was ugly from the side. He inspected me in profile. I’ve never had a strong chin. He agreed. Moments later, he returned; I was out, and another girl–my side view’s most vocal critic–was in.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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