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Posted by TerryS ( on December 22, 2000 at 12:11:00:


They say you never forget your first love.
I know I'll never forget mine.
She was tall (which was important to me, because
I was tall). She was beautiful (intense eyes, great
hair, killer smile). She was athletic (best darn
dodge ball player I ever saw). And she was exotic (I
wasn't exactly sure where Canada was, but it was a
foreign country, eh?).
She was also my fourth-grade teacher, which made
our relationship forbidden -- and exciting.
And we did have a relationship, make no mistake
about it. I could see it in her eyes when she picked
me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. I could feel it
when our hands "accidentally" touched while
simultaneously reaching for the same Elmer's Glue
bottle. I could sense it in the way she always seemed
to call on me when I knew the answer. Folks said Miss
Green was passionate about teaching. But I knew
better. She was passionate about me.
It didn't matter that I was 9 and she was 20 or
40 or 90 or whatever (when you're 9, adult ages are
relative. They'll all just... old -- even the cute
ones). It was the era of "The Graduate," and society
was abuzz with older women, younger men and
coo-coo-ca-choo. Whatever that was.
And so halfway through the school year I decided
it was time to quit being childish. One of us needed
to be brave and daring. I could see that Miss Green
was in an awkward position. It would be up to me to
make the first move. But it would have to be the
right move -- bold, but not obvious -- direct, but not
impertinent -- fearless, but not reckless.
At last I came upon the perfect way to declare my
love. Each week we were issued light blue lunch
tickets, which Miss Green kept until lunch time. It
was her job to make sure they were properly filled out
and maintained. One day she passed them out early,
and I took advantage of the opportunity to draw an
elaborate design on the back. The centerpiece of the
design was a heart with the initials "J.W. + M.G."
(for "Miss Green" -- teachers didn't have first names,
did they?) etched on it. I was never much of an
artist, but this was good work -- elegant without
being ostentatious.
I was confident that it communicated our mutual
feelings. I anxiously awaited her response. I didn't
have to wait long. When the bell rang for afternoon
recess, Miss Green asked me to remain in class. My
friends looked at me sympathetically as they rushed
for the door. They assumed I was in trouble, and
probably couldn't understand why I was smiling. Nor
could they have understood the pounding of my heart,
the trembling of my hands or the heaviness of my
When the last of my classmates had left, Miss
Green walked toward my desk slowly. Her eyes were
focused on mine. There was earnestness there, and
just a trace of... what was it?... passion?
Suddenly I was afraid. I wasn't ready for this.
She stood in front of me, her hands on her hips. She
leaned toward me and slowly, deliberately placed
something on my desk. It was my lunch ticket.
"Joe," she said firmly, pointing to my
design,"this is inappropriate. You know that."
She was right, of course. The relationship never
would have worked. Between the age thing and the
Canadian thing, it didn't have a chance.
I was grateful she found some silly, obscure rule
about not drawing on lunch tickets to hide behind. It
made it easier to put it behind us and move on.
Not too long ago, I bumped into her. She's a
grandmother now, but still lovely. And there's still
that incredible, passionate fire in her eyes. She
introduced me to her husband.
I could tell he didn't know about "us," poor
fool. But I know.
And deep in her heart, she knows, too.

-- Joseph Walker

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