I developed my first ever crush in 2nd grade on Alyse Katz. She was pale, and beautiful and good at times tables. Imagine sitting next to the girl you’re in love with every single day in math class and then being mean to her. How great love was.
It’s been a while since I have liked someone as much as I liked Alyse in second grade. Recently though, I have developed a grade-school crush on Kristin, my exotic neighbor who lives right down the steps from me. My crush is harmless since I know Kristin has a boyfriend, not just any boyfriend either. From the pictures I’ve seen on Facebook he’s about 6 feet 6 inches with olive skin, dark eyebrows and broad shoulders. He looks like a Greek God. How can I compete with Stavros Costmopolous? He would stuff me like a grape leaf. Stavros, whose real name is Jerry, lives in San Diego. Fortunately, I have a major proximity advantage. All I have to do is walk downstairs.
On a recent weeknight I was all set to open a nice bottle of wine, a Charles Shaw Sauvignon Blanc ( Fall 2011), but I couldn’t find the wine opener. I decided that this was my chance.
Kristin’s roommates, Marissa and Caroline, usually answer the door. No one answered when I knocked so I rang the door bell. Rather than stick her eye through the peephole, Kristin lifted the curtain to identify who was at her door—a true example of courage.
Kristin and I have shared many small moments in the last few months like the time she organized a yard sale on our front lawn to benefit one of her nursing school classmates wrongfully placed on academic probation. I helped by purchasing the 2005-2006 Los Angeles Clippers Media Guide for $2. We’ve chatted a lot on the phone, mainly about me blocking her in the driveway. Through these interactions I am offered glimpses into her studious personality, forever hitting the books for her next nursing exam.
Kristin welcomed me inside her empty house wearing pajama pants and spaghetti straps. We entered the kitchen where she handed me the wine opener with a smile that seemed to suggest I was up to no good. Should I ask if she wants to play nurse, I wondered.
“Are you stoned?” She asked.
“No, Why? Do I look stoned?” I removed my glasses so she could check my eyes.
I opened the bottle and offered her a glass.
“I have school tomorrow,” she said.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the night. Can you blame me?”
There is that tense realization that surfaces from knowing you are home alone with a beautiful girl who has a boyfiend. The cat Minerva walks into the kitchen, but you are still the only other male in the house. You stay as long as she asks you questions and as long as she wants to talk about how she spent her month off from nursing school, her chances of getting a job after she graduates in June, and being 30 years old and not wanting to live with roommates anymore. She clarifies that she likes Marissa and Caroline, but would prefer to live somewhere that has her own furniture, and art work.
“I would prefer to live somewhere that has more color.”
“You should like the white walls. It’s like you are back in the hospital.”
“That’s not a good thing.”
I wait for Kristin to shift her feet outward to signal our time is up, but her feet remain pointed towards me.
“I like visiting your house because it reminds me that this is how a home is supposed to look.”
“I’ve never seen your house.”
“It’s the same layout as your house, just not nearly as presentable. I bought a Living Social for a cleaning lady, so hopefully that helps.”
She pauses and says, “I’ll visit after she cleans the house.”
Living Social well spent…
A few weeks later a red truck is blocking our driveway. I knock on Kristin’s door to identify the culprit, and to my surprise a towering figure with a flannel shirt and handle bar mustache answers the door. Stavros!
“Hey, sorry about that.” He began. “Parking on the street was really tight and Kristen said it would be okay. Sorry again, I’ll move the truck right now.”
I wait for Stavros to pull the truck to the front of the driveway. He waves at me at which point I roll my window down.
“Cool stache by the way. Is it for Movember?”
“Yea, thanks man. We are running a 5k for cancer tomorrow.”
“Good luck,” I shouted.
“Alright—take care, bro.”
So Stavros is no longer the Odysseus archetype I imagined, but a guy named Jerry sacrificing his face for the fight against cancer. I still have a crush on Kristen, but it helps to now know the guy who would kick my ass.