Beauty in Imperfection
I know this might sound crazy, and maybe it is a little bit, but after a host of relationships over the course of my life I’ve come to realize that the most precious moments in every relationship I’ve ever been in were always when things went…. Horribly wrong.
Now I know like most people I’m not the most attractive person out there (Although I wish I was sometimes), but somehow life has managed to bring me a few people who have found me endearing for some reason. Maybe it’s my loyalty, or my trustworthiness, or … well depending on who you ask it could be a different answer from everyone, but the things I find myself missing the most about the relationships I’ve been in were what most people would consider “Epic Fails”.
Take the time I had my first crush. I was in first grade and we’ll call her Carrie for the sake of privacy. Carrie was the kind of first grader who showed the new kids around the school lunchroom, and played with them at recess. Every holiday she was the one who made sure everyone got a Valentine’s Day card and a Christmas Card. If she saw a kid crying, she’d go comfort them with half a bologna sandwich and a few cheese doodles… just unbelievably nice to everyone for no reason. Every time she said hi to me…. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I did to deserve that smile… let’s face it… even at 6 I was awkward and borderline anti-social. But I felt like the world was full of possibilities when she was around. I think there may have even been a day I thought I could fly… that was the day she asked if I would sit with her at lunch.
Anyway, she was just being nice, naturally, because it was her way. But when your whole world only has one nice person in it other than yourself… you tend to get attached… and so I did.
We were given an assignment to pick an animal we would like to be and why for open house, (You know, that night they do in kindergarten where you get to show off for all the parents who visit the school to see what everyone’s doing and accomplished that year?) Well, I decided to write about Carrie share to all the parents how much I appreciated her…
I’ll never forget the excitement I had when the big day came, and everyone was dressed all nice for open house, and parents went by each piece of poster paper reading what everyone in our class wanted to be and why… and Carrie’s dad stopped by a curious piece of work and after studying it, called Carrie’s mother over to read out loud “ If I could be any animal I wanted I’d be a paradise bird so I could carry Carrie to a deserted island and spend the rest of my life with her…” after which Carrie’s mother had a look of amused understanding, but Carrie’s father had a look of disapproval I don’t think a chisel could’ve changed….
Calling Carrie over to them both from her involvement with the cookies on the refreshment table and some other kids from our class, I watched as excitement quickly began to turn to fear, and realization sunk in that Carrie had no idea what I’d written about her… no one but our teacher had seen our work before hanging the pieces around the room that afternoon after school had been let out. Embarrassment first creeped, and the flooded into Carrie’s face as her father read my words to her and he inquired who was this boy who planned to kidnap her….
I’m pretty sure she must’ve pointed my way, but I didn’t stick around to find out. Tears already starting to fall uncontrollably from my eyes, I ran like the dickens out of the classroom, out of our kindergarten building, and into the forest around the school as fast as my little legs could carry me…
I’m not sure how long it was… but sometime later I managed to work up the courage to come back… I knew my parents were probably wondering what was going on… and I didn’t want to get in trouble… and the closer I got to the school the more resolute I was in my decision to face the consequences of my words. I all but stormed through the front doors and headed for my class ready to say something powerful and poignant from the heart of a 6 year old…
When I saw Carrie’s father, and his head turned in my direction, and our eyes met…. I walked right up to him, with him towering over me, and said something I’ve never said the same way since… “Mr. Johnson, I’m not the only one who loves Carrie, our whole class does, but not the same way I do. She’s special and I just want you to know even if you’re mad at me, I’d give my life to protect her smile without a second thought. I wouldn’t dream of kidnapping her…. I just want to protect her so she always has that smile and nobody can take it from her…”
Mr. Johnson’s face never changed from what I can remember… but my vision was blurry… I do remember him saying he was sorry he took it that way… and he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings… but it was Carrie’s Mom who said that was very sweet of me.
I found Carrie about 10 years later… and even though we spent most of kindergarten and half of first grade together on the playground or eating lunch at recess… it was that day that she remembered more vividly than all the others… It’s the day her sister and her parents still talk about….
To me it was the only day in my memory that I’ve truly been a coward…. But to Carrie, it’s the first day anyone ever tried to be her prince charming… or slay a dragon to rescue her from her tower….