Dave was the man of my elementary school dreams...but when we finally reunited, he was fat.
Did you ever want to f*ck someone's brains? I don't mean in a depraved, serial killer-type fashion. Really, it's more about ignoring his body and just being intensely, viscerally turned on by his mind.
That's how it was with Dave.
I had known him since elementary school. In his adolescence, he was moderately handsome: lanky with thick brown hair and peering charcoal eyes. My crush began in seventh grade, when I started noticing his long, slender fingers - a piano player's hands. My friends, meanwhile, joked about his "pop-up" butt: not large, but surprisingly shapely for teenage boy. I didn't realize it then, but it was a clue of things to come.
At the time, I did find him physically attractive but that was just the beginning. I gravitated most toward his brilliance. Glimpses of the innerworkings of his brain drove me to heart-pounding Technicolor fantasies of passionate kisses on the middle school all-purpose field.
Dave was a verifiable genius, asking precocious questions in every class, gently explaining difficult concepts to slower students and, perhaps most sexily of all, boasting a cynical, razor sharp wit more befitting a late-night comic than a gawky 7th-grader. His IQ exceeded 160 and why he wasn't pushed ahead into higher grades, I'm not sure. I might ask him someday.
I wanted desperately to catch his attention but he rarely gave me the time of day. He was always perfectly polite but never initiated conversations or made up excuses to be near me. Even as a green, hopeful middle school girl, I knew he just didn't care. It wasn't that he hadn't discovered his feelings for girls yet; I had it on good authority that he had his own crush: a redhead with a penchant for short skirts and thigh-high stockings.
I pushed that knowledge aside on the last day of school in eighth grade. He was headed to a magnet high school the following September and it would be, or so I thought, my last chance to see him. I declared my feelings on a page of notebook paper and gave it to a friend who happened to have a class with him at the end of the day. The friend dutifully passed him the note, which included my email address.
He never responded.
That should have been the end of the Dave affair. It wasn't.
Eight years later, I was a junior in college home on winter break. Bored out of my mind, I began looking up on AOL Instant Messenger (if you're too young to know what that is, just consider it an ancient form of Gchat) the names of random people and, lo and behold, happened upon Dave's. With nothing to lose, I sent him a message.
This time, he replied.
He never mentioned my love note and neither did I. Instead we played catch-up on all things high school and college. The conversation went swimmingly, and since we were both home from college with nothing to do, decided to meet up for lunch.
Oh, Dave. What happened?
The last eight years had treated his body poorly. His thin physique had morphed into a borderline pear shape. That thick head of hair had thinned at the top. Perhaps to compensate, he had grown a lumberjack-like beard, but it did him no favors whatsoever.
When he opened his mouth, it got worse. He complimented me on my leather jacket...which was actually just a synthetic blend raincoat. Couldn't a genius tell the difference? I blamed it on nerves. But then again, why would brilliant Dave be nervous around only moderately intelligent me?
As our lunch date went on, I began to understand. He made several sweet, albeit mildly smarmy, comments about my appearance and all I could do was blush because, good gods of turned tables, I was being hit on! Though Dave had shed his boyish good looks sometime in the last few years, he had gained a new appreciation of the fact that I was attractive, something that had managed to escape his notice long ago.
We made plans to see each other again on New Year's Eve. I knew a kiss would be involved and my feelings were mixed. The body of present-day Dave practically repulsed me. But those flashes of brilliance shone through, even in between his unfortunate come-ons.
I still felt madly attracted to that goddamn brain of his.
It ended up being more than a kiss. After stopping by a couple of parties, I took him back to my childhood bedroom and engaged in some heavy petting, shutting my eyes tightly and conjuring the memory of the middle school boy of my dreams. But the reality of the 190 or so paunchy pounds before me kept me from letting it go too far. As politely as I could, I saw him out the door before the petting progressed to penetration.
He later e-mailed me a drunken love letter, calling me beautiful and charming. If he had written it all those years earlier, I would have collapsed in unbridled happiness, right there on the shiny tiled floor outside my locker. But now? I felt flattered but not much else.
I responded kindly but did my best to telegraph that I wasn't interested. He never replied. Years passed again. It was another boring evening when I decided to find him on Facebook and request him as a friend. He accepted.
Today, we'll occasionally leave brief comments on each other's posts or perhaps, exchange birthday wishes. Our interactions have never evolved beyond that. I'm married and he's been in a committed relationship for years. I would doubt that he thinks of me at all, save for this: on a recent photo I posted of myself and a mutual friend, he left a comment saying that we were both pretty ladies. From anyone else, it would be an innocuous compliment, but from someone who once wrote you a love letter, it carries a little more emotional significance.
You still think of me sometimes, don't you, Dave? It's OK, I still think about you, too.
And I still want to f*ck your brain.