When I was in my first year at school I had my first crush.
He looked like Robert Redford.
I cannot imagine how I, as a five year old, could imagine that one of my fellow pipsqueak school buddies could somehow resemble Robert Redford.
I suppose Mr Redford was the Brad Pitt of 1969. He was in every women’s magazine, his handsome face smiling from the cover enticing housewives to buy it and take him home.
This boy in my class, the one I fancied, was called Richard. Richard was a close enough sound to Robert. He had blonde hair, parted on the side in a floppy and casual kind of way. We sat near each other, cross legged, slate boards on laps and chalk in hand.
I am assuming I knew enough of what my feelings were to know that I really wanted to impress him somehow.
One thing for sure, my black bread sandwiches with liverwurst or stinky cheese would never do the job. Nor would my pudding bowl hair cut, compliments of my mother, somehow make him want to play with me at snack time. Cannot neglect to mention the heavy, hand knitted, nordic cardigan my grandmother knitted me and that my mother made me wear to school.
I needed something more than that and I remember so clearly coming up with a way to make myself attractive.
Do you remember the Hollywood glamour photos of Marlene Dietrich and Ava Gardner? Their heavy lidded eyes and smouldering looks. I wanted that look.
So, one day in class I settled myself down onto the mat and carefully applied big globs of saliva to my eyelashes to make them droop down in that movie star way. In my mind I imagined that I had dark eyes peeping from beneath shimmery and sexy eyelashes.
Richard (Robert) sat next to me as usual and I recall so clearly turning towards him and looking at him in what I thought was a Hollywood gaze.
He looked back at me with a frown.
“Er, yuck, you’ve got spit on your eyes”, he said, and moved away.
I never tried that beauty trick again.
When I was about nine years old, Richard came up to me and told me he loved me. By then his floppy hair made him look like a girl and he had a very scrawny little body.
I patted him on his head and just said thanks.
That was about all I could offer by that stage. I had moved on and my eyes were on someone who was in the next grade up.
I wonder where Richard is now and if he ever remembers that woggy girl with the spit on her eyes who sat next to him in prep.