Running from the Dyke

For as along as I can remember I’ve liked girls. One of the big crushes, one of those ones that early in life will only get you in trouble was this girl Erin. We were both in 5th grade and there was a dance coming up at the end of the year. That dance was a big deal, everyone knew it and everyone wanted to have a date to it, but the pressure for that, and the climax of my relationship with Erin didn’t occur until March or April.

In the beginning of the year I’d thought she was ugly, she had a few pimples on her face, not big ones, and maybe not even pimples but she also had this ugly, butch hair cut, basically a crew cut, plus she’d had her growth spurt, or at least the first traces of it so she was one of the taller girls in the grade. As the year progressed Noah started to like her. The thing to keep in mind is that Noah, Dashiell and I were nigh inseparable at this point and his liking her meant he was explaining what he liked. Being very imaginative I was able to kind of, look through his eyes and all of a sudden I liked her too, luckily for Noah I’ve always been a faithful friend so I accepted that he’d liked her first.

A few weeks later he went up to her and in a very expected manner, he was turned down. Probably not because she didn’t like him, but probably because he didn’t ask her to the dance, or even on a date, instead he asked her to be his girlfriend and for an eleven year old that’s probably moving too fast. He came back and told us his trouble and how he’d never like her again. I heard that and decided that she was now fair game.

Maybe a week later, in the morning, I got up from my desk, my safety zone where I had Noah to my left, Sammy to my right, Dashiell behind me, and Alessandro in front of me and I walked over to Erin’s safe spot, where she had Mallory to one side, Jillian to another and had created a nice little niche.
“Hey Erin.”
“Oh, hi Pen.”
“How are you?”
“I’m good, how’re you?”
“Uhm, would’ja like to go to the dance with me?” I was as surprised as she was, I didn’t know I could work up the courage for this, but I figured if I’d already said it all she could do was say no, so I stood my ground and waited for an answer.

She turned to Mallory and Jillian and talked with them about what she should say, from their whispers I gathered that she didn’t want to say no, because she liked me, but Jillian; who hated me and I hated her and we’d both hated each other for most of elementary school, and not for any specific reason either, we just hated each other, didn’t want Erin to say yes. Turning back to face me, “Well I’m going with friends, but I’ll see you there?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there, maybe we’ll dance.” Faster than a bullet I was back in my seat, surrounded by my friends and I immediately told them everything that happened. Noah got annoyed at me and turned away, Sammy and I were never close so he just ignored me and both Alessandro and Dashiell listened but couldn’t help since they were never very good with advice.

When lunch came around I went to the 4th graders, among whom I had a good friend, Aaron. Never really being one to keep things to myself I went up to him and told him everything that had happened. After listening and considering all the facts Aaron decided that Erin was definitely a dyke. I didn’t know what that meant so I went straight over to Noah and Dashiell. I told them that Aaron thought Erin had to be a dyke.

Up until here I think I’d done everything right, I might have been over thinking things a little bit, but other than that I hadn’t done anything wrong. And then Divine, a kid in my class who was ironically the biggest trouble maker, came up to us and told us he was going to tell Erin that I thought she was a dyke. Well I still wasn’t sure what a dyke was but I knew from Aaron that it wasn’t good and I didn’t want Erin to think I didn’t like her so I knew I didn’t want Divine to tell her. But he did. Noah, Dashiell and I watched from where we were sitting as she started to cry and got up to walk over to me to make sure Divine wasn’t lying. I turned towards Noah and Dashiell and asked them what I should do. Dashiell said I should stay and just tell her what happened, Noah said I should run. I ran.

At the end of lunch, as my class was marched (as happened everyday) towards the staircase back to the 4th floor, I could see Erin and Ms. Kelly, our teacher, standing by the staircase entrance. I considered running again but Erin, who I considered to be one of the attractive girls in the grade now, had tears running down her face and it was obvious, by how red her face was, that she’d been crying ever since I ran away, or really ever since Divine told her that I thought she was a dyke. I was hit by a wave of guilt. I really hadn’t meant to hurt her and it was immediately obvious that I should have stayed and explained what happened. I made another mistake here though, I didn’t fess up and explain what happened, when I reached Ms. Kelly and Erin I took my punishment and just went back into the way things had been before I’d ever liked Erin.

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