First Love and First Heartbreak All In One Summer
I was five and Karl was six.
I knew he liked me because he would find daddy long-leg spiders, and dangling them in front of my face by one of their long legs, he’d chase me around the playground.
I thought he was the cat’s pajamas in Kindergarten.
He lived, with his parents, in the apartment next to ours. An apartment that until just before the end of the school year had housed my parents and me. Now, with summer approaching, it was just my mom and me.
Amidst the chaos that divorce brings Karl was a constant in my life.
All blue-eyed and blonde, he was the cutest boy I knew. Granted, at five I’d not known many and was beginning to show the lack of trust in the male of species that would dog me for many years.
We played on the apartment’s vast common areas, and swam in the pool all summer.
One night Karl kissed me on the cheek as we sat on the front stoop staring at the fireflies we’d managed to capture and put into Mason jars.
I was over the moon.
By August, I was certain Karl was the “one”. I knew we’d grow up, marry, and have a bunch of kids.
And, we’d never divorce.
It was not to be, though.
Just before school started, I heard Karl’s mom tell my mom that he and his family were going to move. When I asked her where they were going, she looked at me and said, “Ohio, honey.”
At five I had little grasp of geography, but I knew that I lived in Missouri so if they went to Ohio we’d be separated by a lot of miles. My globe confirmed my suspicions.
On moving day Karl and I stood silently, side by side, as we watched young men in uniforms load up an enormous truck with furniture and boxes, and his parents bringing suitcases and hanging clothes to load into the family’s station wagon.
When the last of their things was loaded into the car Karl got into the back seat. He hadn’t said a word to me, but as the car started up the hill he turned around and sadly waved goodbye.
That evening I sat on the stoop; the remnants of the day fading in the distance. It was so quiet, and I missed my friend.
Daydreaming, I imagined Karl as the white knight in my favorite fairy tale. I thought one day he’d come riding over the hill, and carry me off on his trusty steed.
Finally, it was completely dark and my mother called me inside. I stood up and climbed the stairs, looking back once to see if my fairy tale had come true.
I kept up my vigil for a few more nights, but eventually learned that sometimes endings are just that…endings, and I never saw Karl again.