Tumz, My Forever Love!
Let me tell you the story of my first major crush. I was in Primary Seven and two years away from being a teenager. We will call him 'Tumz' for lack of a less revealing name.
Tumz was my end-all and be-all. He was the boy I was going to love FOREVER! Everything I did and in all the decisions my little mind made, I had to consider him. If he was attending Saturday classes, then I too was attending Saturday classes. If he had his socks pulled all the way up all day, then that's what we were all doing.
There was a day we were to be allocated seats according to the first letter of your Last name. Since Tumz was a T, and I was an A-something, I obviously had to add a letter to my name that would bring me closer to T. Naturally. So I became Na-something instead. It didn't get me a seat right on his desk but it brought me close enough.
It got to a point where I carried a boy's bag. It was a brand whose name I cannot remember but the design was more of male than female; pshhh, as if that would stop me! When the beginning of the term came and we were doing shopping for school materials, I did everything I could, and I mean everything, until my mum had to get me that bag. Poor lady, if it was these days, she probably would have questioned my sexuality.
Getting the same bag did not go unnoticed. My girlfriends questioned me shamelessly and endlessly as to why I chose that particular bag. Some went as far as to ask if it was because of Tumz, but I denied it with everything in me. I went on to add that I couldn’t possibly be interested in Tumz as we were even cousins!(Thank God our parents had once had a brief conversation one day as we went home so no one could be sure we weren’t cousins after all).
I did everything to make Tumz notice me but the nicer I was, the more cruel he became. My turning point was one day when a popular dance group called "Obsessions" came to perform. In those days, they went around schools performing at a tiny fee (The group has since re-branded, split-up, re-united and split up again). Being who I am, I was not about to be the only one that missed out. They came in the afternoon right after lunch and since we had a free period, it was the perfect arrangement. Plus of course the fact that Tumz was going to be there too; I pictured us dancing together to a slow song the Obsessions would be miming, gazing deeply into each other’s eyes and promising to be together till death. So after about an hour of being squeezed to near-suffocation in that over-crowded main hall packed to capacity with sweaty children pushing back and forth, an hour where I was not able to even see Tumz, I decided I had had enough. I went back to class, disappointed, exhausted and filthy.
For some reason, the teacher that had given us the free period decided to pass by just as I sat at my desk. On noticing the almost empty class, he asked where everyone was. The nine or ten of us that were in class answered that everyone was in the main hall watching the Obsessions. Off went the teacher, fuming from both ears, mumbling something about how we were candidates who had no time for such play and should have known better.
To cut the long story short, all P7 pupils were called out of the main hall and each one told to line up outside their class and be ready to receive their due punishment. Guess who was at the front of the line -Tumz.
I had always liked the location of my seat in class because I could see outside directly. It always helped if you could see the teacher coming from a distance. That day however made me regret the name change that put me in that seat. As Tumz stood at the front of the line awaiting his strokes of the cane, staring directly at me, I looked on with a poker face as he made a gesture to let me know that he was going to tell (the gesture involved touching your middle finger to your thumb and moving your hand up and down as you made scary facial expressions at the person you meant to tell on). Surely Tumz was not going to tell that I had been part of the show-watchers. It wasn't my fault I somehow luckily managed to get back to class in the nick of time. After all the love I had shown him, he wouldn’t!!
Tumz did tell on me and I did get a whooping along with the rest of the 'party-animals' and that my friends, was the day I experienced my first heart-break. As I quietly rubbed my butt and cried with my head on my elbow facing down on the desk, I cried not only because of the pain of my poor behind on fire, but also because of the pain of cold betrayal.
I did not stop liking Tumz that day, but all the gestures stopped. I suffered silently with my feelings and focused on just making it out of Primary School. Tumz held a special place in my heart till the last day of class and in my heart, I SWORE I would love him forever no matter what…
I forgot all about him in less than three months when I joined secondary school and found bigger fish to fry...
I have since been down that heart-break road more times than I would have preferred, but I can assure you that I now laugh at those days. Laugh Out Loud actually. And yes, there's a moral to this story; at the time that something painful happens, it feels like the world is going to end. I know as you grow older, your problems become more serious than a primary school crush and it feels like you will never recover and nothing will ever be the same again. Nothing will ever be the same, that's true; it will be better! It will be so much better that like me, you will be telling that super painful experience as a joke. You will wonder why you were so worked up about it and you will just shrug and move on.