IE Grapevine Updates

True Story: A tale of first love and evasive action


In this hilarious narrative, Nik Gonzales writes about his first crush and how he attempted to give her something special on Valentine’s Day

“I’M IN LOVE” is what I was thinking as I left the barbecue.

I was 8 years old and I had just moved from sunny California to frigid Colorado. My grandmother’s neighbors were moving soon and decided to have one last bash at their old place.

I was doing my party move, where I stand by a group of people who are enjoying themselves and pretend I’m having a jolly good time as well. And that’s about the time she walked in.

Anna J was the first girl I ever loved, which is a nice way of saying my feelings were decidedly not reciprocated.

A few weeks after the party, I began 4th grade at my brand new school. And while it will be of no surprise to the reader, imagine my shock when I walk into the classroom and there she is.

When you’re a little kid, and you’ve never been in love before, you do really dumb things. Like buy candy grams. I swear, every week they had some excuse to sell candy grams. I didn’t buy one every week. 50 cents is a pretty penny to a little boy with no allowance and an expensive Pepsi habit. But I bought one for all the big holidays: Halloween, Arbor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

There is one that still makes my mother laugh.

Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday and there was no school that Monday. And I was done with all the “what’s your name again?” crap. So I scraped together whatever cash I could and went down to the Circle K and got her a box of chocolates, a teddy bear, and one of those little balloons on the white sticks that said “Bee Mine?” with a picture of a bumblebee that looked like it had a lazy eye and just smelled a fart.

I was so proud of myself I got a bag of gummy worms, but I didn’t have enough so I put the balloon back. I think it was a smart decision.

Back at home I was looking over my gift basket thinking it would’ve probably looked better in a basket and not the gas station bag I bought it in. I even left the receipt in case someone else had already given her that stuff, she could take it back and get something useful like a cigar lighter or a 40.

It still looked incomplete to me though, so this is what I did. I swear to God, I drew over a picture of someone being led away in cuffs that had his hands together because it’s so difficult to find a picture of people holding hands. Now it was perfect.

The next morning I gave her a note to meet me on the playground after school, forgetting that I had a whole school day until then and we had two recess periods. I avoided the playground so that there was no confusion. Finally, the bell rang.

I ran to the jungle gym as arranged. She wasn’t there. Surely she had received my message. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15. They were hours as far as I was concerned.

Then suddenly, there she was. Dragging her feet with the cutest little scowl on her face. I lit up like a Christmas tree and waved like I was about to set off for the new world.

Finally, she was right in front of me. “So what did you want to say to me?” she grumbled. I said…nothing. I swung my backpack around, unzipped it, threw the plastic bag full of crap in the air, and took off like a bat out of hell.

I jumped into my mother’s Trooper and yelled “go, go, go!” And she thought I knew something she didn’t, so she peeled out of an elementary school like armed gunmen were on our six. When we reached a safe distance, and my heart finally slowed down, I turned to my baby sister and said “Damn, I’m smooth.”

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