When I was eight, my family and I moved from Brooklyn, NY, to the suburbs of NJ. New school, new friends...and my first crush. All the girls in the class were split on their affections between two boys—let's call them Cutie 1 and Cutie 2 (kind of like the Jacob and Edward battle of third grade). I saw the Cuties and could acknowledge that, yes, there was something awfully adorable about them. But I didn't care. I liked another boy. His name was David and he wore black rimmed glasses. He was good at sports, but I didn't care about that either. What I cared about was his brain. I stared in awe as he added and subtracted numbers like nobody's business. Our math teacher liked to play a game called “Mad Minute.” We all got worksheets and the goal was to see how many problems we could answer correctly in sixty seconds. David always got every one correct. And, if I had trouble he helped me. Maybe our teacher asked him to. I don't remember, but it doesn't matter. He'd explain problems to me and I'd sit with my cheek in my hand and stare at him in awe—not unlike Marcia Brady and her obsession with smarty pants Harvey Klinger.I just love a story with a happy ending :) Thank you, Margie, for sharing that with us.
One day I brought in my diary to show my girlfriends. I think I thought David would see and say, “Like, oh my gosh, I love you too! You're an awesome reader, and I have always loved girls who know their way around the alphabet.” But, if you know anything about eight-year-old boys, you know that's not what happened. Instead, he got mad and embarrassed and ripped out the page of my diary that had his name in a heart and threw it in the trash.
I moved on. The next year, I crushed on Cutie 1. No biggie if he knew since EVERYONE looooved Cutie 1. As the years went on, I chased other boys, and eventually, in 8th grade, David and I started becoming friends. (OH, and if you ask him about this story, he'll say I also crushed on HIM all those years before 8th, but um, no).
The thing that cemented our friendship was my Bat-Mitzvah. We were friendly then, but not super close. Not close enough that I was sure he'd say yes if I invited him. But, I needed more boys, and a girlfriend of mine said, “Why not invite Dave?” “You think?” I said. “I don't know if he'd come.” “He'll come,” she said. So I gave him the invite, and he smiled really big, and we talked more, hung out more. Gradually, he became one of my best friends.
Our friendship wasn't without its bumps, but one thing about us is that we let each other grow and change and accepted each other's flaws. We're both married now, with kids. He gets along great with my husband (an actuary—so I stayed true to my love of smart boys), and I always have fun talking with his wife. One day, my son will have a Bar-Mitzvah, and he and his family will come and we'll talk about how our kids will be great friends someday.
But I do think it comes down to that envelope years ago. If it wasn't for the Bat-Mitzvah invite, I don't think we would be where we are today. Or, maybe, we would, but it would have taken much longer.
Today I have a copy of Pieces of Us to give away! For a chance to win it, leave a comment telling us whether or not you've ever had a crush on your best friend.
Margie Gelbwasser is a freelance writer who has written for various magazines, including SELF, Ladies Home Journal, Women's Health, New Jersey Monthly, Girl's Life, Instructor, and Writer's Digest. Her debut novel, Inconvenient, was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teen Readers. The author received her master’s in English from William Paterson University and currently lives in New Jersey. Visit her at MargieWrites.com.