Caleb likes a girl.
I figured this out on my own. I could tell he liked her by the way his eyes changed when he talked about her. They get all furtive and stuff. Caleb and “Alissa” are singing together in a small group for the forthcoming third grade Christmas chorus concert. Unlike some of the other girls in his class, Alissa is well-behaved, never rolls her eyes behind the teacher’s back, and has long hair. These are all important characteristics in a potential girlfriend, according to Caleb.
The best thing about my discovery is that I have been sworn never to discuss Caleb’s secret with John. As Caleb talked animatedly of Alissa’s spectacular solar system diorama, I nodded and smiled and tried not to gush about how cute he is. I promised not to betray his confidence to his tactless father who, and these are Caleb’s words, “will tease me and ask me if I want to smooch her.”
Naturally, I had to share this with all of you.
I told Caleb of my own first crush, which is a heartbreaking tale of unrequited love that lasted from kindergarten through third grade. “Tommy” used to chase me around the school’s courtyard. Once he gave me a purple plastic bracelet because, and I remember his words exactly, “I’m never going to wear this.” Unlike Alissa, Tommy was not well behaved, and spent a lot of time in the corner. The days I was not chased around the courtyard and tackled like a football receiver because Tommy wasn’t allowed to participate in recess were the worst.
We were unfairly separated after the third grade when my family moved from the city to the suburbs.
Caleb: “Did you ever smooch?”
“No. We never smooched.”
“Does Dad know about this?”
I asked Caleb what his intentions were.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I think you’re still a little young to have a girlfriend. It’s fine to like a girl, but it’s probably best just to be friends.”
“What, are you afraid I’m going to marry her or something? Come on, mom. I’m only eight. I still have to go to college. I don’t think they allow F.B.I. agents to even get married. And Alissa wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up.”
Of course she does.
I’m left wondering how long Caleb will continue believing that a life in the Federal Bureau of Investigation equals a life of bachelorhood. Because I think I can work with that…