Thursday, October 13, 2005

j.w.

when i was young, my parents thought they were doing me a favor by moving during summer vacation so i wouldn't have to miss any school. i didn't know anyone on the first day of fourth grade.

this snotty girl was supposed to show me around. she had a perm and some fake-tooth/denture/metal retainer thing because she was missing the incisors up front. you'd think this'd make her uncool, but everyone thought it was rad how she could take her teeth out like a grandma. i guess this girl felt sacrificing ten minutes out of her day to show me the school was akin to having the rest of her rotting teeth yanked, so basically she pointed in the direction of the bathroom and went off to flash her new hardware at people. bitch.

i was pretty lost. everyone was busy catching up with friends they hadn't seen in three months, so it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. i sat down and doodled in my snoopy spiral notebook. by the end of the day, i realized the kid sitting next to me was rolling his eyes at the same things i was and got through the spelling exercises early, too. he complimented me on my drawings and later showed me where the library was. i had a good feeling about him.

we spent a lot of class time talking. sometimes too much -- once i was forced to suffer the humilation of being moved to a carrel desk that had walls. he was softspoken and much more sly than i was, and kept leaning over and making faces at me, getting me in even more trouble. but i couldn't be mad. even at age 9, the kid had those sparkly kind of eyes that sort of crinkled when he smiled. that's what i remember liking the most. the crinkliness.

i happened to get partnered with him again many years later in high school chemistry class. it's weird, but even though we ran in completely different circles, i still caught him rolling his eyes at the teacher and it went right back to how it was back in the day, especially when we were supposed to be conducting scientific-quality experiments. we were also in the same Spanish class. every day i'd eat my lunch during ejercicios and the senora let it slide because i tutored during lunch. i carried my food in a blue Aladdin lunchbox. i know it's juvenile, but it was convenient and i love that movie. besides, obviously i wasn't that weird, because one day someone stole it. and i was pissed because they had stopped selling them by then.

right before winter vacations, the senora had us do a Secret Santa gift exchange. i can't tell you whose name i picked or what i gave them, but i do have to say that when i opened my present and saw a brand new Aladdin lunchbox, i knew that i had received the best gift in the whole class, both in quality and quantity (it probably exceeded the price cap). but it was perfect. when i asked him where he found it, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled, crinkling his eyes.

now, this is where the story gets sad.

after high school, he and i happened to go to the same university. granted, with 36,000 people on campus, i didn't really think i'd ever see him. come to think of it, i don't think i even knew he had gone there. so imagine my surprise when, on the first day of final exams after i spent the whole night pointlessly trying to learn the entire textbook, i pull on some jeans over my pajamas along with crooked, outdated glasses and a baseball cap with barely enough time to brush my teeth (i was just going to go home and sleep after the test anyway), i run into him.

'cadiz! i didn't know you went here! how are you?'

'uh, er, i'm good. you?'

'pretty good. i just had an anthropology final, but it wasn't too bad. how about you? what's new?'

'uh, well, yeah, i have spanish final. like now. gotta go. bye.'

'um, nice seeing you...?'

'yeah, later.'

ugh, how embarassing. on any other day i would have stopped and chatted with him for a good 15 minutes, but i was at the pinnacle of my hideousness and just mortified to be recognized by anyone, let alone old crinklyeyes himself. it was a dumb move. and costly. because at the end of college, i was walking down Green street and happened to look up into those eyes again. except this time they weren't so crinkly. he didn't smile. we walked right past each other, averting our eyes and hiding recognition.

10 comments:

highcontrast said...

j dub! crinklyeyes is the *perfect* name for him. i think you need to google-stalk him and repair the damage you inflicted that fateful day on the quad....

omar said...

You semi-snubbed crinkly eye guy just because of crooked glasses?

My experience has been that girls, particularly those who think they are "at the pinnacle of hideousness," look fine. However, if you did have to run to take a test, that's a legitimate excuse to cut it short.

Guyana-Gyal said...

The way you two keep meeting, you just might bump into him again. And the next time you might smile at each other.

Ale said...

dont worry- you were meant to learn a lesson- if it REALLY bothers u so much- google- him and send him an email-

Ale said...

maybe he was the one that stole ur lunch box and felt bad so he got u another one---

Gloria Glo said...

Ouch...but I love the romanticism in the comments. Nothing better than a good Big Romantic Undo. Here's hopin', 'Diz!

(P.S. 8 letters for word verification! Isn't that a little beyond the pale, blogger?!)

jazz said...

oh sad....

ever feel like you'd like to look him up now? maybe stalk him down on a networking site or soemthign?

cadiz12 said...

i don't think you understand how tattered i was; my breath was the only thing fresh about me that morning. certainly not my mind -- that final was brutal, and over. i ran when i should have stayed.

i doubt i'd look him up. i doubt i'd even talk to him in the grocery store. but maybe i'll say hello to him at the class reunion. people have seen him and said he's gotten chubby and bald, but i'm sure the eyes are the same. :)

but i won't forget how sweet he was. (unless of course he did steal the box in the first place.)

Syar said...

that is a sad story. I've had many of those, due to me desperately wanting to forget the last few years of primary school. I've forgotten many a best friend that way.

hope you do see him at the reunion, and I hope there's at least a smile and the same crinkly eyes for you.

Lou (a.k.a. rainpuddles) said...

I don't know what to say Cadiz. So I'll just say "hi"!