So Jon and I accompanied three of my nieces and nephews to Classic Skating the other night, and maybe it’s because I haven’t been skating in over 15 years, or maybe it’s because people in Utah feed their kids Malt O’Meal at every meal, but I don’t remember kids being so small. At least I don’t remember being that small, but I’ve been 5’11” since I was 14, so maybe I skipped being that small altogether.
I know for certain that Robbie Hawkins was not that small. Robbie was my first real live human boyfriend, as opposed to the entirely imaginary David Hasselhoff look-alike boyfriend, Brock, with whom I’d often play in the backyard. Brock was my imaginary boyfriend for a good decade, and he was sometimes personified in a full-length body pillow that I would spoon on Saturday mornings as I watched “Land of The Lost” and “Saved by the Bell.”
Robbie, the boyfriend of flesh and blood, was 10 years old and we were in the same 5th grade class. He always wore a maroon member’s only jacket that you could tell he wore everywhere, even to bed at night. He had great teeth, a smile so perfect that you knew he wasn’t ever going to need braces, and not needing braces was perhaps the sexiest thing a 10 year old boy could do. What made him totally unique, though, was how his face looked like it was being systematically colonized by a totalitarian regime of freckles.
We started “going together” one Saturday afternoon after we ran into each other at the local skating rink. He was there with one of his freckled cousins ï¿½apparently the freckles were totalitarian and imperialistic ï¿½ and I was there with my father, who at the time was in the middle of a brutal divorce from my mother. I spent the entire afternoon horrified that they would play that Foreigner song “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” because I didn’t want Robbie to see me or my father crying while wearing skates, I would have just died.
At school the following Monday Robbie stopped me in the hallway before class and told me very seriously, “Your father looks like a good man.” I had no idea what he meant but I knew right then that I totally wanted to go with him. And so we started going together, not particularly anywhere, sometimes near the monkey bars on the playground, sometimes by the water fountain by the boy’s restroom. We once walked all the way around the football field, and that was the farthest I would go with a boy for at least another seven years.
We never once talked on the telephone or even held hands. The only thing ever really exchanged between us were his drawings of a female superhero who was supposed to be me. Throughout the few months we went together the superhero’s boobs got bigger and bigger, a feeble attempt on his part, I suppose, to encourage my own boobs to start sprouting. Little did he know that my boobs wouldn’t take the hint for another 11 years when I would return home from a semester abroad in England 20 pounds heavier and two boobs closer to womanhood.
Sometimes I wonder about Robbie, I wonder how things turned out with Renï¿½e, the really short girl he went with after me. I wonder how their skate date went the week after he and I had to stop going together, if she fell on her face or slipped on her fat ass, that two-faced scheming whore-bitch.