Young Love


Madeline Mayo and I weren’t just in love. No, all the stars and the heavens had aligned for us. No two people had ever felt the kind of epic love we shared. Ours was a love as deep as the seas and as strong as the foundations of the earth. We were destined to be together, forever. So what if we were only 8 years old.

With adorable freckles and fiery red hair that teased her shoulders above a standard uniform of blue-jean overalls or a baseball jersey, she was a picture of loveliness. With my usual scruffy hair, YMCA soccer t-shirts, socks pulled up to my knees, and a face even then so boyish that I looked closer to 5, I was a picture of a rascal.

Every day at school recess I’d chase her, catch her, and then run away again so she could do the same to me. We’d gaze at each other in class and blush and giggle. We’d exchange notes professing our love. We’d spend hours on the phone at night… all the while in love with knowing that we shared a special love that only we could possibly understand.

We had been going out for some time. One month: a lifetime for a 3rd grader. We hadn’t kissed yet, but we were ready to take the plunge. I said I was ready at least, but secretly I was too scared to do it, but even more scared not to, look like a scaredy-cat and disappoint her.

By this time we’d been secretly rendezvousing after school. I’d wait for her until she finished baseball practice twice a week and we’d walk down to sit together in the bushes near the creek. We’d hug and hold each other and talk about what our house would look like when we got married and what we’d name our kids. I knew she wanted to kiss. But I just couldn’t do it. I was terrified and she knew it. I shook. My guts were in a swirl. I sweat and felt dizzy. Every time I even held her hand I thought I was going to faint. What could I do?

But she’d always just stare at me with her compassionate green eyes that said, “I know. You’re so cute. It’s O.K.”

But after a few weeks of creek-side meetings, I was finally ready to dive in. We spent the whole night talking about how tomorrow was the day. We were finally going to do it. We were actually going to kiss.

I convinced my mom I had to be at school for a special project so she’d drop me off early. Madeline would walk to school early as well and we’d meet in the empty lot across from the playground.

When I saw her there waiting for me I thought my body was going to explode. We said hello to each other and smiled, but then all we could do was lean against the chain-link fence, bite our lips, and stare at each other blushing. Ten minutes passed and still I couldn’t go within ten feet of her. I was almost dancing I was shaking so much. I just couldn’t do it. I’d always loved and admired her courage and spontaneity, so I should have known what would happen next. All of a sudden she jumped toward me, grabbed me by the shoulders and gave me an enormous smooch on the mouth. She even held the kiss. I felt myself explode. I was so happy, and so… relieved.

But when she pulled me in for a post-kiss hug, her waistline and legs felt wet and smooshy. She stepped back and we both looked down. I had peed on myself.

I thought I was going to die. Tears began to well up in my eyes.

“Awww, look at that,” she said smiling. “You sweetheart. I guess you DO love me.”

We remained a couple for some time after that, and to this day I thank my stars for Madeline Mayo’s love and understanding. I don’t think they get much better than her.

(photo courtesy of S-dmit/