Maria told me she is going to marry a boy in her class. She told me he wants to marry her too.
His mother confirmed the pending nuptials. We both giggled. Especially because about three other girls have said they're going to marry this boy.
"He likes Maria though,'' his mom said.
Very sweet, of course, but I could not help but feel the dread. A crush at 5? And then I searched my memory and remembered there was a green-eyed Cuban-American boy I loved when I was 5. He was short, with wavy hair and very red lips. I think he had a very high voice.
This boy Maria plans to marry has dreamy eyes and rock star hair – the kind of hair that stylists in Hollywood get paid lots of money to create on boy-banders. It is blond and thick and it points in seven different directions when he runs his hands through it, which is often. He is the picture of cool. This also is a nice boy with great parents and he's an excellent reader. I know. I've been watching him during my weekly reading sessions in Maria's class.
"He really is adorable,'' I told my husband. "And, he's way ahead in reading. His Spanish is great, too!''
My husband harrumphed. He already imagines the hard work that lies before him, checking out young men who will come sniffing around his only daughter. I feel sorry for those boys.
And if I allow myself to get too serious about this, I feel sorry for Maria. Her heart inevitably will break. I want to put my hands around it now and keep it safe, shield her from unrequited love and potential Lotharios. I want to tell her too, in a way she'll truly hear, that some of the drama of youth will be completely forgotten one day. My latest example: Last month on Facebook (via another old friend's page), I ran into a boy I had a crush on in middle school. As I looked at his picture, I was like "Holy Cow!" I was amazed to realize I hadn't thought of that boy – now in his 40s with a wife and kids – since around 1984. Back in the early '80s, I thought him to be the most perfect specimen on the planet. Of course, he avoided me at all costs. Looking back, it's a little funny. It wasn't then.
So, it is possible my girl one day will not remember the 5-year-old rocker look-alike. I am pretty sure though, I will remember how she whispered her sweet secret to me and, like all of us, I hope against hope her heartbreaks will be minimal. And, if not, may she enjoy a fabulous, healing forgetfulness.