She didn't like me "That Way." Not that it mattered to me. From 7th grade through the first half of my freshman year, I carried the torch for this girl. And the truth is, that while I could have counted the many ways I loved her, there were important things about her that I think I kind of missed. She was--and is--very funny. She has this kind of quirky, weird sense of humor--like a Far Side cartoon come to life. She is one of the kindest people I know. Despite being quick to tell you how tough she was, she was a gentle soul. She was a very good friend to me. I don't know that I really appreciated that at the time; I was so consumed with wishin' and hopin' and prayin' that somehow, miraculously she would discover she loved me, in "That Way", too. It's hard to really appreciate someone that you idolize. I think I could have been a better friend to her if I hadn't been in love with her. Certainly now that I no longer love her in "That Way", I am far more appreciative of the place she had in my life.
But I was a middle school boy. I don't think I had the ability at the time to feel anything other than what I did. To my eyes she was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. And that caused me to miss a lot.
And now? She's out there in the world, happy, if Facebook is any indication. And I am too. She's found someone to share her life with, as I have. And in the end, I think that's the most important love anyway. Not the first love, but the last.