I was not “cool” in 7th grade (I’m still not sure that I’m “cool,” but that’s irrelevant). I was short, completely unaware of how to style myself (again, not quite sure I’ve actually mastered this one yet), somewhat shy, and desperate for male attention. So when Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid looked my way at a school dance, he had no idea what was coming.
One thing I was inexplicably completely comfortable with during this awkward phase of my life – dancing. And I mean dancing – not swaying to the music – but unapologetic, energetic, licentious dancing (I still make no qualms about making the dance floor my home for the night, as evidenced by some very flattering wedding photos). I was in the middle of one of my patented 7th grade dance moves, which may or may not have involved dropping it like it was hot before the phrase was even invented, at the “Hello Dance” at school when Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid collided into my life, and never really found his way out.
My friends and I were in our own dancing world when one of them nudged me and told me to look over my shoulder. I turned around and was confronted with Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid staring at me as he walked by. I hadn’t met him, nor do I even recall seeing him before that. We made eye contact and Redhead gave me the look – I am certain that the reason this look made such an impact on me at the time is the simple fact that no one had ever looked at me like that before. No one had ever looked at me like I was sexy, and Redhead (in his relatively innocent 12-year-old way, mind you) sure seemed to be looking at me like that’s what he was thinking.
That look did it for 7th grade me. In typical junior high school girl fashion, I decided I was unabashedly in love with Smart-Ass, and needed him to be with him (what I really wanted was to call him my “boyfriend,” which in 7th grade was nothing more than a title and maybe hand-holding here and there). All my girlfriends would try and convince Redhead that we should “date,” and tell him how much I adored him. He wasn’t interested, and I did not understand why he seemed so intrigued when he saw me at the school dance, but not later on (only years later would I see this was common pattern between men and women, seen often in nightclubs and bars). Melodrama ensued, and a few years and tears later I had finally moved on – or so I thought.
Clearly I was wrong being that with time and maturation Smart-Ass Redhead Kid turned into Smart-Ass Redheaded Man, then Smart-Ass Redheaded Boyfriend, Smart-Ass Fiancé (still Redheaded), and now Handsome (Redheaded) Husband.
While my 7th grade self (and my 7th grade ego) were a bit bruised by Redhead’s rejection, I love this story. I love knowing that my husband remembers me before I was even a woman, let alone a woman he loved. I love talking about what we were both thinking, and how Smart-Ass wasn’t really disinterested, just shy and scared (as most 12-year-old boys are). And more importantly I love knowing that for the years that I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt so strongly about Redhead, I finally found my reason. Smart-Ass Redheaded Kid is my soulmate, my lover, my best friend, my Handsome Husband – 7th grade me just knew it long before anyone else.