Of Love and Christmas Lights

My first love was a boy named Theo. We were best friends as children and I loved him before I even knew what the word meant.

But that’s not who this story is about.

No, this story is about a much, much later love. Jesse. Jesse was a boy I shared a class with in Middle School who I was absolutely obsessed with. He was blonde, which goes against my type, but somehow I still adored him.

Back in the day (and even now, I suppose) I always discussed things with my Dad, so of course he knew about my love of Jesse. Dad and I would sit together every Wednesday night in front of ‘Gilmore Girls’ and I would gush poetically about Jesse while my Dad would ask sensible questions like “Well, did you actually talk to him today?” and “How can you possibly be in love with someone you are afraid to talk to?”

(Sensible questions are the worst.)

My Dad and I talked about everything from the quick and witty exchanges Jesse and I had in my head, to the actual stilted and awkward conversations we shared in class where I stared intensely in what I thought back then was my best “flirtatious face” but have since realized makes me look a bit like Charles Manson. These were great times.

Still, I loved these talks with my Dad as they instilled a confidence in me that always lasted until the moment I came face to face with Jesse in the hallway.

When Christmas Break came about I was both relieved for the break from school and also despondent at my lack of Jesse time. I’m sure I whined about this a fair bit in the way that 14 year old girls always whine. But at least there were plenty of distractions over the holidays.

After the first week my whining died down a bit and on Boxing Day I went to my best friend’s annual Boxing Day Party which was delightful and distracting and at the end of the day my Dad came and picked me up.

He was in a jolly mood and suggested we drive around to look at the Christmas Lights in the area and I agreed excitedly, always happy to have Daddy-Daughter time.

I chatted away to my Dad about the party, completely self-absorbed and lost so much in my own head that I didn’t notice the way he intently looked at street names and actually drove in the opposite direction of some of the best light displays.

And then he stopped the car.

“Dad?” I asked curiously, mid-monologue.

“This is his house!” My Dad exclaimed excitedly.

Dread settled deep in my belly as I realized my colossal mistake. I had told Dad Jesse’s last name which he had then looked up in the phonebook.

“Oh God.” I slunk deeply into the seat and begged my Dad to drive away before anyone saw us. It was one thing to stare creepily at someone in school, but to park outside their house? Now that was a weird reputation I would never recover from.

“No, no, I’ve got it all worked out.” My Dad then proceeded to explain his plan to me. I was to go and knock on the door, pretending complete surprise when Jesse opened it. I would tell him that we had been driving around looking at Christmas lights and I had to use the washroom and this was the first house we had stopped at. He would let me inside, believing the encounter to be fate, and we would live happily ever after with lots of babies.

You see, dear reader, I come by my crazy naturally.

I hissed at my Dad, literally hissed at him and after another minute of sitting parked outside my love’s house we drove off, my Dad calling me a wuss and me calling him nuts.

Still, I suppose my Dad gets points for trying.

For the sake of full disclosure: Jesse never did find out we parked outside his house, and we never did get together. Apparently it’s hard to date a girl who stammers every time she looks at you.