DOWN MEMORY LANE: MY CHILDHOOD SWEETHEART

chilhood sweetheartsI giggle openly when I reminisce on the good old days, not that I don’t love where I’m at currently, but because those particular days afford me so much pleasure; the kind I didn’t think they would back then, when it was all going down. Sometimes I burst into a loud laughter, and when I do, I kinda hold back because anyone watching me might think I’ve gone loco – God forbid! Then again I just throw all caution to the wind and give a hearty laughter the best I can. If they ask, “Man laughs at his own folly…” I think to myself.

As a kid, I didn’t think the life I had was the best, but now- a couple of years later- I realize that it was amazing in its own rights…if  I went back in time I would probably do things the same way over  again.

One of the major ‘highlights’ of my life was my relationship with my childhood sweetheart. The best part about it was the fact that as opposed to my parents, who were only so oblivious to a romance that was budding between two eight year olds, his mom knew about it and well, I must admit, she was thrilled! I know in a way it sounds twisted and somewhat pervy that a grown-up would tolerate, leave alone encourage a relationship between babies but in her defence, she adored me. At social gatherings (she was a family friend) she often joked publicly that she was my mother-in-law and in addition to that, she doted on me an awful lot. Yep, she made me feel special. Sometimes I feel she treated me with so much TLC because even though she had four kids, none of them were girls.

In case you’re trying to figure how my mom still remained in the dark regarding our relationship yet my mother-in-law hinted at it on more than one occasion, in her presence, it’s because she only took it as a joke. She thought my sweetheart’s mom was only booking me for her son in advance…if only she knew!

My memory of my first meeting with my sweetheart is so foggy, so much so that trying to remember it would drive me to an aneurism, again, God-forbid! I don’t beat myself up about it though, we were practically kids; we’d recently joined elementary school.

My sweetheart, whom I fondly called kanèl (a slight corruption of his real name), played a major part on the formative years of my lively childhood. He was the first guy who aroused romantic feelings in me. I’d just left my cradle I know, but Lord, did I love him!

If you’re wondering what activities we took part in, given the circumstances, we played house, where obviously he was the dad, I was the mom and my lovely dollies were the babies. I just laugh when I remember how we fed them dirt, and milk, which he brought from his house. Problem was when it came to cleaning them up… Anyway, it’s been a commonly known fact that kids and dirt are inseparable, save for those few homes inhabited by germaphobes.

Of the things we did, the one I remember vividly were the little love notes we wrote each other; e-mails and texts hadn’t been unveiled to the world yet. It was anything but boring. I mean, seeing his handwriting on those little notes, with those untidily scribbled words declaring his love for me, it felt like heaven! I didn’t save any copies of those letters, but I remember the two things we always included were “I love you” and “no sex”…I’m not so sure if we exactly knew what the latter was or it was just something we had decided upon, based on the conversations we’d heard repeatedly from other people that it was wrong but that notion stuck, sex was wrong.

As years passed by, we got so close, exchanged gifts…I particularly remember this Christmas; I was a preteen then, drawing so close to teenage hood…it was the first holiday we spent away from each other as he and his family had travelled to the countryside. I spared him a whole packet of nerds (some sweet tiny multi-coloured candy), which I made sure to give him the instant he got back. He was only too delighted. We exchanged a few more gifts and our usual notes; it was truly awesome!

At some point we split up after I found out he was seeing another girl, whom I shared a name with. Me and my sweetheart were neighbours, but this other girl  lived some place far but her mom ran a salon in our hood…that’s how they had met while I was away in blasted boarding school.

During that same time, when our lil’ romance was on the rocks, my big siz and her beau, who had also broken up earlier reconciled. This prompted my sweetheart and I to patch things up as he and my sister’s beau were best buddies. When we put our differences away, the first thing he gave me was a heart shaped silver locket. It was so beautiful … I loved it! Interestingly, we didn’t break up again till date- at least not formally. We’re not together anymore though; our relationship faded over time, courtesy of long distance as I was in a boarding school. It was only inevitable.

I know I loved him because all through high school, when my schoolmates were busy exchanging love letters with guys from neighbouring boy schools (I attended an all-girls catholic school), I didn’t do any of that as I was already spoken for. Love blinded me perchance, because even though I got the opportunity to interact with some exceptionally cool guys during interschool competitions, which I actively took part in, none of them managed to bump him off my heart. I had put him so high on a pedestal that no one could reach.

Funny thing is that we’re still close friends. Distance, thank Heavens, didn’t tamper with that. Once, I invited him over for a home cooked lunch, which he had initially presumed was a booty call, and while we were taking a stroll down memory lane, one of the things that came up was a possible reconciliation; get back together and all, but regardless of the fact that I was so tempted to pick up from where we’d left, I sadly realized that we would only do good as friends; we didn’t feel compatible anymore; he’d changed, I had too.

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