When I was in the 3rd grade I asked my mom to buy me a set of Return of the Jedi pencils. I liked the whole Star Wars trilogy. I saw the entertainment value in the R2-D2 and C-3PO dynamic and was excited by Ewoks on Speeder Bikes in the forest. But that is not why I asked for the pencils. I wanted them so that Spots and Specs, the boy in my class that I was crushing on since second grade, would ask me if he could borrow them. It's not like I was pretending to be interested in something I wasn't. I always appreciated playing with toys geared towards boys and liked sporting the basic look of varied shades of blue play clothes as much as I liked small purses, dresses, ribbons in my hair, and wearing apple shaped sunglasses while shopping in Plaza Sweet for Smurf miniatures. I did know though, that if I wanted him to look my way a little more it wouldn't be because of my hair clip of the day, or because of my scented eraser collection. These pencils, I was certain, featuring X-wing fighters, Imperial Guards, Gammorean Guards, and Luke Skywalker would do the trick. I knew it somehow in my eight year old gut. Boy was I right. Worked. Like. A. Charm.
We had brief friendly exchanges from our seats, talking diagonally across rows or while lined up at the door, boys in one line, girls in the other. I remember when he came to school one winter with the ends of his stitches hanging down from his forehead during those days when a kid still got sewn up after after getting rammed into the head by someone else's sled. I felt so bad for him but he was a trooper, telling us about it as a matter of fact but only after being asked, not offering to tell the story just to get attention. I liked that he was smart and that he wore glasses with a vest over his long sleeved uniform shirt. I liked that he smiled at me one day when the teacher wasn't looking and pulled off his clip on tie, but put it right back on before she turned around. It was my first time to ever see a tie that wasn't real like my father's. I liked that he laughed when he saw I was in awe. I liked the freckles that ran down the side of his face, to the back of his neck. Like looking into a hypnotic spiral I was mesmerized when I first noticed them, just starting at those dots.