I can clearly remember my first day of school.  I was six years old, having skipped the training period of pre-school, and gone straight to kindergarten.  I was dressed in my little blue and white shirt, and little white striped blue shorts, and I carried a small green canvas backpack.  I was scared senseless, but even then, I was happier leaving where ever it was my parents were at, in favor of being elsewhere, anywhere.  My memory is foggy until the point where I walked into the classroom for the first time.

Little balloons were tied behind each small wooden chair, and each one had a childs name drawn in black marker on it.  I looked around, trying to find my name, and there it was, barely fitting on the small balloon.  Juan Manuel.  I clearly remember the other children staring at it, wondering why I had a name so big, and so unlike theirs.  Even then, I felt awkward and useless.  Not long after that, I became John.  Bear in mind, it was not of my own volition.

 What was the point of all of that Tobas?  Isn’t this story about Danielle number one?

Yes dear reader, it certainly is, but the reasons I behaved the way I did are squarely rooted in the discomfort I felt from the very first day I set foot in a classroom.

Now, let us fast forward a few years to the fourth grade, where the story begins.

Mrs. Trencher.  The white haired old bat had my brother, and my sister before I set foot in her domain, so I was judged before I had a chance to even make a fool of myself by calling her mom, in spanish no less.  I did not share a class with Danielle number one, but I, like everyone else in the grade, knew she had a boyfriend, a young man by the name of Greg.  Like most relationships at ten years old, it lasted very little time, but seemed like forever.  Then came the day a friend told me they had broken up, and added the tittilating fact that I was the clear reason for it.

My quasi-mongoloidian ten year old brain could not wrap itself around this notion, and I asked why.  It was then that he spoke three words that managed to thrill and frighten me more than anything else in school had up until that point, “She likes you”.  Greg was a friend of mine, I remember feeling terrible, I certainly did not want there to be a problem, and besides, I didn’t make her like me, that was her fault.  But as it turns out, Greg had no hard feelings, and even egged me on to ask her out.  Which of course, feeling mortified and extremely insecure, I did not.  Not to mention, I had a crush of my own, the very pretty, and much taller than me, Jean Torti.  Reader, please note the fact that not only was Danielle number one very pretty, in retrospect, I realize I had my head up my ass in the taste department as well, as she was definitely prettier than the heartless Torti girl.  From that point on, in the fourth grade, the rest of my elementary school career became the ballad of her unrequited love, and the ballad of my unrequited love for Jean Torti. 

I really got the hint on valentines day that year.  Although clearly, I did not get that hint as well as I should have. 

I related both the heartbreaks, mine and hers in an earlier myspace blog, but I will re-tell hers, since it is relevent to how this all turns out.

We sat in gym class one day, indian style, talking about different things when the topic of a dance came up.  Danielle one was mentioned in reference to Greg  (we are now in the sixth grade mind you).  One of the other kids remarks that the gym teacher shouldn’t say that, since I will get jealous.  Of course, he turns to me, and asks why.  I mumble that I have no idea.  So, then he commits the ultimate form of child sacrifice, he asks the dreaded crush, or be crushed question,  “So, do you like her?”  Every single student freezes and turns around, the entire gym is bathed in silence, and the only sound is my urinary valve slowly losing control.  Slowly I mumble again, “Uh, no, no”.

Her face shattered like sugar glass at a stuntman convention.  I knew right then and there I had completely and utterly humiliated her, and the worst part was, it wasn’t true at all, I did like her.  I was just embarrassed and scared.

(Side Note:  At this point, Danielle number three had transferred into our elementary school, so whether or not she remembers, she was privy to this, I cannot help but wonder if I had gathered the courage to date Danielle one then, I could have avoided the pitfall of dating Danielle three in the future, so, until I figure out how to get back and smack my little egg head back to sense, it is all just pure speculation)

It was all downhill from that point on, it was as if the gods of pre-pubescent shenanigans abandoned me as a lost cause.  No other girl liked me for many, many years.  As a matter of fact, the next time I would even come close to touching anything on a female was well into highschool.  Danielle one began dating a bully boy, by the name of Bobby Guido.  No, that is not a fake name, it was really Bobby Guido.  He disliked me very much, this was due largely to the fact that he liked Danielle one, and Danielle one was known as the girl who liked me.  He pushed me one day, and I fell back, humiliated.  I wish i could say I got up and punched him, or even pushed him back, but none of that is true.  I just took it, and continued to feel insecure.  Later on in life, I would learn that she only dated him so he would leave me alone, she would call herself his girlfriend, but not see him or kiss him.  It did not help. 

What did help however, was my older sister learning of this bullying, and walking down to the schoolyard to pick me up one day.  She asked me who this Bobby boy was, I pointed to the spiky haired, earring sporting miscreant.  She promptly threw him against a fence and threatened his life and manhood.  Yes, I let my sister beat up a bully for me.  Hey, at that point she was much bigger and stronger than me, and it worked.

Danielle one ultimately ended up going to the same middle school I attended, and then went north to the rival high school, along with Danielle three.  I saw little of her after that, and as it stands now, I have not seen her in well over a decade.  Would I like to see her?  Of course I would, I never properly thanked her for trying to save me from the Christmas story reject.  (For those of you familiar with “A Christmas Story”, this kid was the dark haired, spitting image of the bully boy Ralphie eventually pounds the shit out of).

That was the first girl who ever “liked” me.  And, I liked her back too, when I wasn’t too busy barking up the wrong tree.  What did I do?  I crushed her mercilessly.  And she stopped dating the silly boy who really liked her in the first place, all to take a shot with me, insult to injury.

It changed everything.

So, where ever you are, sorry Danielle Shy, I really did like you, I was just a big stupid coward, and if I could, I would go back and tell the truth, not just for you, but for me as well.

One down, two to go!

(pic descriptions below, enjoy!)

Pic 1 – This is the most crucial part of the valentine, notice the arrows and commentary.

Pic 2 – The back of the card, help teddy bear find a heart!  How ironic, I never did that maze maybe I should have.

Pic 3 – This is the front of it, it had two nifty front flaps.

Pic 4 – On the left, we have Danielle one, looking spunky and cute, On the right, we have Danielle three, looking cute, but ominous.  Yes, my first crush, and first wife not only went to the same schools, they were next to each other in the yearbook.  Oh life, how you like to slap me in the face with your large and ironic member!

Live it, Love it, (and try not to kick yourself too hard)