Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
All the girls adored him.
Georgie was cocky, mischievous, wore his jeans slung on his hips without a belt, a black leather motorcycle jacket with his collar up…an irresistible mix of James Dean and John Travolta with thick, blonde, wavy hair and blue eyes that made me melt.
Georgie was the leader of the eighth grade boys. I was the new kid in seventh grade in the suburbs of Chicago.
Georgie was king of the school and everybody tried to please him, except me. I was so shy that I wouldn’t talk to him and only looked at him when he couldn’t see. The others thought my awkward standoffishness was what they called “stuck-up.”
I fantasized about Georgie but never dreamed he would notice me. I’m not sure what attracted him to me, except that I was the only girl not fawning over him. One day, his simple “hi” broke our silence as he walked me to my locker.
After that, we were “a couple,” and he escorted me to my classes regularly. Of course, I was thrilled as if my dream had come true. Georgie also started riding his motorcycle to my house, the ultimate display of affection to a girl who never had a boyfriend before.
Since Georgie liked me, the eighth grade girls’ clique called the Sub-Debs (like the Pink Ladies in Grease) invited me to their lunch table, and soon I became one of them. We wore identical yellow jackets and rolled down our bobby socks an inch at the top to look cool.
I cut my hair short in a slick DA shaped into a duck tail in the back with side curls that I taped to my cheeks at night to train them to lie plastered against my face during the day.
Though Georgie looked like a gang member from West Side Story, he was always a gentleman with me. Our relationship was innocent and delightful, just handholding and closed-mouth kissing. We never “made out.” I was still very shy, and he never tried.
I remember his asking me to “go steady” on a summer day on a bench near the park at the end of our street.
He even gave me his engraved ID bracelet to wear so everyone would know I was Georgie’s girl. After that, I gained new status in the school and became the envy of the other girls.
Other than a few sweet kisses, my first love and I only shared socializing at school and some parties at other kids’ houses, usually in the basement, the knotty-pine, paneled party room for working class families in suburban Chicago homes.
I’m not sure when Georgie and I went our separate ways. We seemed to drift apart when I went to high school. I started spending more time with student leaders and other teens that wanted to go to college.
That didn’t interest Georgie. He was street smart, savvy, and in a hurry to make money.
We no longer had much in common. He still had a following of the boys from Berger Elementary School, but was not a high-school achiever in sports, scholastics, or extra-curricular activities.
I lost track of him in our overcrowded high school of 4,000 students. The following year I was elected the first girl president of the sophomore class.
After I graduated and moved on to the University of Illinois, I came home for the summers and worked in downtown Chicago. One day I ran into Georgie on the street in my hometown.
It felt awkward. We really didn’t know what to say to each other. It had been much easier in seventh grade. We were now in very different places.
I was dressed for business and he was still in his construction coveralls. Working in the sun made him blonder, rugged, and more handsome. He was still mischievous and his confidence was disarming.
We made small talk and scanned each other. I felt sexually attracted to him at 19 and wondered what it would be like to be intimate with him. I sensed that the feeling was mutual but neither of us tried to revive our lost love.
I never saw Georgie again. I married my college sweetheart and moved to another state to teach near where my husband was attending law school.
My father later told me that Georgie married one of the quiet, pretty girls from my class who never went to college.
They seemed to be doing well: big house, cars, boat, etc. I knew Georgie was a hustler and was not surprised that he was earning big money in the construction business. He always had to be number one.
A couple years later, I heard that Georgie was in prison. His ambition had led him to his own private plane, major drug deals, and connections to cartels smuggling drugs into the country. As always, he did things in a big way and never stood for being second best at anything.
Many years have passed, but the memory of him as my first love remains tucked away in my heart forever. He made an awkward, young, skinny girl feel pretty and special. I will always be thankful that I was Georgie’s girl.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.