Tuesday, November 03, 2009

When I was in fifth grade I had a crush on another fifth grader named Erin. She had blond hair cut short, covering her ears not quite down to her neck. She was not in my class but in the one next door and I would catch glimpses of her during recess, or when our class used the computers. One day towards the end of the year, when all the fifth grade classrooms were having an open "party," I saw her dancing to the Salt n' Pepa song "Push It" and felt unsure of my affection. I actually had a crush on her since the second grade.

Soon after, in my mother's basement, I looked up her number in the phone book, finding the listing under her mother's name with the help of my friend Aric. He was more advanced than me when it came to romance, having "gone out" with multiple girls and generally, was a little more street smart. It was tense; picking up the phone, putting it back down, trying to back out, laying on the bed, hoping my mom didn't come in, pleading a little, thinking twice, doubting. Aric kept me on task.

I dialed and her mother answered. I asked for "Erin" with an E, though, having a best friend named "Aaron" with an A, I was always a little unsure how to pronounce Erin with an E, and pronounced the E with a little bit more nasally sound, as in the word "See." Whereas, normally, when pronouncing Aaron's name, I would pronounce it with an A, as in "fat." Ehir-rin vs. Air-ron. I asked: is Ehir-rin there? Her mother said yes, hold on, and in her walk to find her daughter, she jokingly proclaimed to somebody else in the room, "Is Ehir-rin here?" emphasizing the high nasally sound. I imagined a divorced mother with a single child speaking and joking with her girlfriends about the little boys calling her daughter. I imagined I was not the first to do so, and imagined a nest of women rolling their eyes at my transparent little boy-ness. When Erin came on the line, without introducing myself, I said, "You probably don't know who this is...." Aric burst out laughing and I hung up.