Heartbreak Hotel


February 22, 2000

I love the simplicity of today's date: 2/22/00. One of those all even days.

When I was in the first grade I was in love with a boy named Jeffrey Randall. The school year wore on and it was February. I thought of nothing but Jeffrey, morning, noon, and night. Valentine's Day was coming. Oh boy. I hoped with all my heart that he would give me something special.

The morning of February 14th my mother sent me packing to school with my bundle of cards. One for every single person in my class. Imagine my thrill when I arrived and there was a really big envelope on my desk. I was aflutter. I opened it. It was a handmade Valentine. From Jeffrey. But the wrong Jeffrey. This one was from Jeffrey Bernstein.

Jeffrey Bernstein, who I went through five years at P.S. 179 with, was unpopular. He wore black plastic frames on his glasses. He was kind of geeky.

I hid the Valentine in my notebook. I never even said thank you.

Shame on me.

The summers of my youth were spent at a bungalow colony in upstate New York. Bungalow colonies are a distinctly New York Jewish phenomenon.

The summer between second and third grade Jeffrey Fisher asked me to be his steady girlfriend. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a rainy afternoon. He came to our bungalow. He asked me to come outside so he could talk to me. We went behind the house, standing under a huge black umbrella that he had to have borrowed from his parents. The umbrella was enormous. He had a little box in his hand. As he thrust it at me he asked me to be his steady. I said, "No." I don't know why. I liked him. I think I wasn't ready for that kind of commitment.

I hope he got over it.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. Sort of.

My daughter, who will be four in about three weeks, is smitten. Head over heels in crazy love. With a boy in her class who is two years older than she is. A boy who doesn't give her the time of day. A boy who is the subject of all her latest drawings. Usually a girl (the one with the long hair--Zoe) is standing next to the boy (the one with the short hair-- Him). Usually they are holding hands.

She told me last night that she wants Him to kiss her. Earlier this weekend she told me that if He calls I should come get her. She's obsessed with this boy who practically doesn't know she's alive. She asks every day if He can come to her birthday party. This morning she wondered if she wore a particular dress if I thought He'd notice her.

It's breaking my heart.

On the other hand, I found out that she got a time out at school last week for kissing a different boy.

Lordy, lordy, are my hands going to be full in a few short years. I guess the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Until next time...

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