First Love


I first saw her when I was 13 and in the seventh grade; she was about the prettiest thing I had ever seen, and her name was Mary Alma Sanders. Our teacher, Mrs. Burrough, had placed two chairs at the front of the room, facing the class, to be used to place anyone who had misbehaved. Having qualified, I was sitting in one of them facing the class. I happened to look at Alma, and she returned my look with the loveliest, heartwarming smile I had ever experienced. A few minutes later I looked at her again, and again was rewarded with that same smile. After this happened a few times I was in love, fully convinced that I had found the women I would love forever.

 Unfortunately, I was so shy that I could not bring myself to talk to her yet, so days passed before anything developed. Then one day Mary Jane, a friend of Alma’s, passed me a note. (A not allowed act) The note was a simple question,  I wrote my answer and handed the note back to Mary Jane just as Mrs. Burrough turned and looked straight at me. “Bring it to me,” she ordered Mary Jane. Upon receiving the note, Mrs Burrough opened it and began reading it to the class, “What do you think of Alma?” was the simple question posed by Mary Jane. And then came my answer, “I love her but its all in vain.” , which was immediately followed by a roar of laughter from the class.

 Mrs Burrough could have tied me to a post and horsewhipped me. She could have tied me up by the feet and poured water up my nose. She could have slapped me in the face. But nothing, in my imagination, could have been more horrible than what she had done. For days, my buddies repeated my answer to me and snickered. I was a complete disgrace to the male race. Nevertheless, Miss Burrough saved me a lot of time and produced instant sweethearts, Alma and me, for about a year. From that moment on, every time I glanced at Alma, she returned that instant smile, and ecstasy flowed instantly throughout my entire body; for the first time in my life, I was experiencing romantic love.

 My relationship with Alma evolved very little beyond that (by today’s standards). We swapped rings, and I carried a photo of her in my pocket, and got a taste of the ecstasy just by looking at the photo. I began to sit with her in the movies. My first major advance began during the movie, “And God Created Woman”, starring Bridget Bardot. All of Alma’s friends were urging me to hold hands with her. Oh, how I wanted to, and oh how my shyness wouldn’t let me. Fortunately, her friends persisted; I gave in and took her hand. I was so caught up in holding Alma’s hand I almost missed seeing Bridget Bardot’s incredible exposed-ass scene, which was amazing and shocking at the time.  I will never forget when that scene came on the screen, Billy Thomas, who was sitting in front of us leaned over his seat and started pounding on the seat in front of him. We had never seen anything like that before in the movies.

 Young love is so vulnerable to the requirements of parents. Alma’s family moved to Unionville, which placed her in a different high school. I imagine this was the better of the many ways I could have lost her. The next time I saw her was two years later at a basketball game between her school and mine. She was a cheerleader. I regret that I did not have the courage even to approach her and say hello again. I sat in my seat and pined for her across the court. To this day I regret the shyness I felt as a child and the many things it protected me from.





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