LOVE IS A MANY CENSORED THING

My brain was my most superlative organ, up until I fell in love the first time. I was thirteen. Not a single force on earth could stop my trembling body. I had to suffer through the entire school year before seeing this guy at my grandparent’s cottage every summer. He and his cousins occupied two cabins across the lake. You sure learn to swim in a hurry when there’s a cute bushy blonde on the other side you want to manhandle. I was either going to swim across for some great kisses, or I was going to die trying. I made that decision in fifteen feet of lake water, and have survived to tell about it.

Recently I ran across a stack of love letters from my first crush. I probably should have sued him for fraud after he told me he would love me forever and went on to marry another woman. Love seemed so eternal at the time. One year my siblings and I contracted the mumps and measles and I sat lakeside staring at his cabin. I could only see him from a distance and it was pure agony. The next year we were like animals in heat. I had practically planned our futures together, although our unworldly and callow innocence kept us from even touching each other. That Christmas, I was hoping that my true love would send me that golden ring. When I didn’t get one in the mail, my heart continued to beat despite the imaginary knife that was wedged inside it. Even though I would have liked a sleepover with this friend every single night of the week, I wasn’t exactly ready to be tied down to holy wedlock at fourteen. Not when there were men who make one common mistake when they get married. They stop playing and flirting with their wives. In all fairness, women choose chocolate over their mates every day.

The year after our viral diseases, I was a little older but not that much wiser when I was willing to pick out plate patterns after playing spin-the-bottle in his barn…as if a kiss solidified our relationship. There were about eight of us twirling the empty glass decanter along with my boyfriend’s wily wise guy of a cousin, who also had a hopeless crush on me. He thought it was love at first sight. I didn’t think it was love at tenth sight. I suspected he came from the Garden of Eden where strutting around in a bulging bathing suit slash loincloth was customary. There is no substitute for flimsy nylon, except for maybe heavy duty canvas that would completely cover his cullions. It would be a trusted favorite among girls who don’t want to see a boy’s package.

I was hesitant in playing the bottle game since he tried directing the thing straight at me. I refused to kiss him because after that, he would have wanted to play naked Twister. I had a very hard time liking the brown eyed boy who kept saying, “Just digest those butterflies baby.” It was possible that he was just missing some nutrient-rich foods in his diet that would make him less of a scoundrel such as Choline, for normal brain development. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that my tingles were reserved for his captivating cousin.

But the stalker wouldn’t go away. I would get up in the morning and stroll outside where he would be hiding around every corner. He caught me very serenely walking through lofty pine trees and came up behind me remarking, “You seem so unhappy. I’m here to change that.” A babe in the woods is susceptible to wolves and restless boys on the make. Despite all my unembellished appeals for solitude, he couldn’t help himself on another occasion when we got ice cream cones. He commented, “It must be love if your ice cream melted.” I would have preferred that my boyfriend treated me like some majestic endangered species. Not this guy. I wanted so badly to tell my shrewd pursuant, “Meet me back in these deep dark woods at midnight.” I would have shown up fully costumed in Reaper gear, ready for a castration.

After summer vacations, I went home and looked every day for the mailman to come, waiting for those love letters from my crush. One day I opened a note that read, “I miss you. Probably not near as much as you miss me, but I’m an awesome catch.” It was from the boy I despised. Every summer I would see him again and he gave me several more good reasons not to date him. He could make me cringe. He could pump blood faster than he could pump gas. His could create tidal waves when I was trying to sunbathe quietly on a floating raft. I wanted a love like Napoleon and Josephine, Richard and Liz, Morticia and Gomez, Romeo and Juliet. But I also wanted a relationship that would last longer than five days. And I surely wouldn’t commit to mutual suicide.

Years later, I was curious to know if I would be attracted to that loathsome lad at the cottage and choose him instead over my crush. Doting can go a long way. Maybe I should have accepted his fourteen marriage proposals. I went on to marry as well, but found matrimony to be very complex and psychological. One mate ends up logical, and the other a bit psycho. In my case, don’t ask me who was who.

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