dougy-buns was a grade younger, a foot shorter than me. a freckle-faced, perminantly blushing blond. a decent point guard. a tenor in the pop choir.
love had been a little bit hard on me. my motive for liking dougy-buns was likely two-fold: a) i wanted a boyfriend candidate who would need no coaxing to like me in return. someone who would realize that my status as an eighth grader was reason enough; b) i hoped i was unearthing the NEXT BIG COOL THING before it was the NEXT BIG COOL THING, which would deem me a sort of NEXT BIG COOL THING roullette master.
my friends were not impressed with who i had decided to like. none of dougy-buns' friends were connected to mine; actually, no one of knew him at all.
"you are not allowed to like dougy-buns," fannie told me, my resale value clearly at stake. "just get it out of your head right now."
"but --" i persisted. showed the beginnings of a life as a petulant teen.
"don't even look at him," she said.
my friends kept a tally sheet on neva's desk. i was allowed to look at dougy-buns no more than 15 times through the course of the day: while passing in the halls, in the cafeteria, during pop choir, before basketball practice. hash marks carved violently into the wide ruled paper every time i looked in his direction. if i hit 16 glances, something yet-to-be-determined was going to happen. nothing yet-to-be-determined was going to keep me from slow dancing with dougy-buns during the christmas dance in the basement of pax christie. my romantic, all consuming spindly armed bear hug, his little towhead pressed against my very sharp clavical. adam's parent's -- the dj's for every dance -- dimming the lights and slowing things down with "toy soldiers" by martika.
so i looked at him 16,17, maybe even 18 times that day.
my friends were forced to live with it.
after some note passing and awkward seven minute phone calls, a double date was arranged. me and dougy-buns, fannie and dougy-buns' best friend, a seventh-grader whom i believe was actually older than us. [he may have even had his drivers' permit]. stocky with kinky black hair and dark eyes. more attractive than he technically should have been, considering half of his face was scrunched together like he had suffered a stroke, his cheek smiling, his right eye in a perma-wink.
we called him "utah jeff" because his face was shaped like the state.
we went to the movie "christmas vacation" at the barclay square theater. i remember only three things about the movie: a) chevy chase taking a digger off the roof while he is hanging christmas lights; b) little dougy-buns, feet barely touching the ground, one arm slung awkwardly over my shoulders, his hand in the natural half-claw resting postion -- centimeters from my right breast; c) the unbridled hilarity that utah jeff and fannie were experiencing via whispers and nudges and pointing at dougy-buns' dangling hand. how he was damn-near to second base, without yet being up to bat.
back at school that monday, i received a note from dougy-buns while we were passing in the hallway between classes. it was folded like a football. the first paragraph contained pleasantries; the second said: sorry i touched your tit at the movie.
a few days later we were in the gym at st. pius, waiting for the seventh grade boys to finish basketball practice so we could begin our practice. fannie wrote on the chalk board: dougy-buns touched christa's tit. everyone laughed. i dove for the eraser.
the next day at school i found out that dougy-buns' dad had been standing next to us, waiting in the red out-of-bounds paint, watching dougy-buns practice being a decent point guard.
the pax christie dance came about two weeks into our relationship. dougy-buns and i would probably finally kiss. first we ignored each other all night, then my friends cleared out the girls bathroom for us. i waited in the largest stall. they dragged dougy-buns in from off the dance floor. then they left us alone.
i looked at dougy-buns.
he looked at his feet.
i looked at my feet.
we talked about school.
i couldn't do it. i left the bathroom, he filed out soon after. i'm not sure that we ever officially broke up, or if i told him in my own football-shaped note passed in the hallway before classes. or maybe it was just understood after the failed liplock in the bathroom stall. or maybe he is just reading about it here, now.
anyway, i found this photo of dougy-buns while i was writing this post. i have no idea how old it is, but this is pretty much what he looked like as a seventh grader, minus the facial hair.