Young Love

April 30, 2010
By , Hubertus, WI
It’s the first day of first grade and Kate has her shoulders hunched over and her head to the ground. Her pink, princess backpack sits on her back as she quickly walks into the classroom. Her classmates start to gather on a big red carpet in the back of the room and Kate decides to join them. She sits on the edge of the carpet towards the back and picks at her glittery, purple nail polish. All the kids yell and scream while the teacher reads the book “My Little Blue Pony” to the class.

“The pony opens his big mouth and chomps on the grass,” Mrs. Conrad says.

“Chomp, Chomp, Chomp,” scream all the kids.

Jesse walks into the room with a big smile on his face and throws down his backpack and joins the rest of the kids. He starts to look for his friend Max but when he turns his head the first thing he sees is Kate sitting by herself on the back of the big red carpet.

“I’m Jesse.” He says as he scoots over to her and pokes her side.

“Hi, I’m Kate. Are you going to sit with me?” Kate asks.

“Of course I am, you’re the prettiest girl in class.” Jesse says. Kate smiles and they listen to the rest of the story Mrs. Conrad’s reading.

The next few days Jesse was Kate’s best friend in the class, they passed secret notes to each other and shared their snacks with one another. Jesse is placed on an “in-room” suspension from recess for the next three days for fighting on the playground. He assured Mrs. Conrad he “only socked Toby Gillman in the nose because he shoved Kate off the swing,” but she had to give him a punishment for hurting someone else in her class, as well as Tony getting the same punishment for hurting Kate. He watched Kate out of the window on the playground for the next three days as she played in the sand by herself.

“Somebody has a crush, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.” Tony starts to sing.

“Do not! She’s just my friend, my really good friend,” Jesse exclaims.

It’s the big day of Kate’s recital as her and her friends sit in the backstage bedlam wearing their tutus and leotards scurrying around shrieking and giggling. Kate hits every move perfectly and after her performance she waits backstage for her parents. Jesse and his parents walk over to Kate and hands her a pink rose wrapped in tissue.

“I liked… I mean, you are real good at dancing. I never even fell asleep!”

Kate giggles, “A rose? For me? Thanks.” Kate shouts. “Daddy look at what Jesse brought me a rose.”

“I saw it on television… you know, the part about giving an actress a bouquet of roses after the final curtain, I picked it out myself.”

It’s the last day of school and Jesse passes a note to Kate. Jesse passes the note to the three people between Kate and him to give it to her. They all giggle as they pass it to the next person. Jeremy taps Kate on the shoulder and gives the note to Kate. It reads, “Dear Kate, I will miss you very much all summer. I will right you OK? My mom said it is all right with her if your mom says I can. Will you miss me too? P.s. Can I be your boyfriend? Jesse.” Kate smiles and crinkles up the paper as she stuffs it into her little skirt pocket.

The next day at school she hands a note to Jesse. “Dear Jesse, Yes, I will miss you. I would like to write you. In July I’m going to dance camp! See you next year! P.s. My mom says I have to wait longer before I can have a real boyfriend. But thank you for asking. If I could have a boyfriend, I would pick you!”

The summer is almost over and Jesse still hasn’t stopped talking about Kate to his mom. His mom promises to call Kate’s mom sometime today and then Jesse and Kate can rearrange a play date. After taking out the garbage while Jesse gets the mail, Jesse runs inside and hugs his mom.

“Mom, please call her now!” He sits on her foot as his mom starts to laugh and picks up the phone.

“Hello, Jackie speaking.” Kate’s mom says, picking up the phone.

“Hello, my name is Ann, I’m Jesse’s mom.”

“Hi, it’s so nice to hear from you, Kate talks about Jesse all the time, how is he doing?”

“He’s great, but he keeps talking about Kate too and I think we could get together soon and have coffee while they play together if that would be alright with you of course.”

“That sounds perfect. Kate and I are available Thursday if you and Jesse are too!” Jackie suggests.

“Thursday works for me, I can meet you at Kettle Kling Park.”

“We will see you then.”

Ann ends with, Goodbye, as she listens to Jesse yelling in the background.

“Yes! I have a date!” Jesse yells through the house.

It’s Thursday as Jesse walks in front of his mom to Kettle Kling Park wearing a stripped polo shirt and jeans. He took two showers in the morning and tried on four different outfits before he found the right one to wear. Ann and Jesse sit on the swings at the park. Jesse has big eyes that scan the park waiting for Kate to walk up any second with her mom. They sit for ten minutes until someone pokes him in the back.

“It’s you!” Jesse says swinging his head around to see Kate.

“You’re it.” Kate says running for the slide.

“Hey, that’s not fair!”

Jesse and Kate play games in the park for two hours while Ann and Jackie sit on the park tables and watch them. Finally Kate and Jesse lay in the grass and pretend to make grass angels.

“I think it’s time for supper, don’t you think Jesse?” Ann questions.

“Mom, just a little longer?”

“Ten minutes.”

Kate runs over to the bridge and picks up a pebble she finds on the ground and throws it into the stream. Jesse picks up a similar one and makes the pebble skip through the water and Kate and Jesse through one pebble after another into the stream. They watch the fish beneath them and Kate sneaks her hand underneath his.

Ann and Jesse’s dad are getting a divorce. Jesse’s mom is still going to stay in the house, but she doesn’t know for how long due the money issues she already had when she lived with his dad. Jesse lives with his dad every other weekend in Illinois and on the weekdays he lives with his mom. This year Kate and Jesse are in two different classes and they only get to play together at recess time.

“My mom and dad have been fighting for a long time but they never said anything to me about it.” Jesse cries, while he is sitting on the grass with Kate. “One day I came home and they sat me down at the kitchen table saying, “Your mommy and daddy haven’t been getting along very often…” and as she went on, I saw a suitcase out of the corner of my eye.”

“I’m sorry Jesse, I wish I could do something to help. You can live at my house!” Kate states smiling.

“I think our parents would like that very much, but thanks Kate.”

Ann can’t afford the house they have and decide to move to Mississippi to live with her sister. She doesn’t want to tell Jesse until after Kate’s surprise party that he is throwing for Kate but Ann knows he won’t like moving. Kate’s party is in two days and Jesse is running back and forth in the house trying to get things together for her party. He makes a big card for her and colors are with as many different colors he can find in his house. Jesse takes an hour in his room with a “do not disturb” sign sitting on his door handle. Ann is in the kitchen making supper, spaghetti and meatballs, Jesse’s favorite. After Jesse is done he runs out into the kitchen.

“Look at my card mom! Do you like it? Will Kate like it? Should I change anything on it?”

“Woah, slow done little guy, let me see now.” Ann says happily. “Wow, you made this beautiful card?”

“Really? Is it that great mom?” He questions.

“It’s better than great.”

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE!” Everyone yells, when Kate walks into the room.

Jesse hands her the card he made her and she blushes and gives him a hug. She opens her presents and smiles for the camera. She brought her ballerina mouse, Campy, he mom got her for her birthday to the party and showed it off to everyone. Jesse gave her her cake that had large, pink ballet slippers on the right side of the cake and pink writing that said “Have a Happy Birthday Kate”. After taking pictures with everyone standing around the cake, they light the candles and turn off the lights for Kate to blow them all out. Kate blows every one out except one, she looks up at Jesse, smiled, and then blows out the last candle.

Jesse hugs Kate for five minutes in front of his house. He has to fly to New York and doesn’t know when or if he’ll be back. They hold hands to the car while Ann is sitting in the car while Jackie stands outside talking to her, waiting for Jesse to get into the rusty red station wagon. He sits in the back seat and stares out of the back window while Kate stands in the driveway waving goodbye. Jesse starts to tear up in the window and he doesn’t turn around until they are ten minutes down the road and his mom makes him turn around and face the front of the car.

Ann and Jackie keep in touch rarely but Jesse and Kate are always interested in what the other is up too. Kate has been in ten dance academies in the past ten years that she hasn’t seen Jesse and has become so busy that after the first two years after Jesse moved she stopped keeping in touch with Jesse. After ten years she has had one boyfriend who cheated on her after four months and won’t trust anybody since. It’s her Senior year in high school and she has many friends she is always hanging out with, when she isn’t busy with dance classes.

Cleaning out a dusty box from under her bed, she finds a large card with a big heart on the front of it. She sits and remembers her elementary school crush. She puts a tack through the top of the card and sticks it to her blank wall. Her mom walks in the room every day and sees the card tacked on the wall, waiting for Kate to say something about her old friend Jesse.

Sitting at the supper table Kate rolls her fork through the spaghetti noodles with her head on her fist, “Mom, do you talk to Ann anymore?”

Jackie smiles, “Yes, yes I do.”

“Could you get Jesse’s email maybe?”

“He’s moving back to Wisconsin next summer, he wants to go to school down here, but I can get you his email address.”

Kate sits on her computer chair with her screen up that reads:, Jesse’s email. Nothing comes to her mind until twenty minutes later sitting and starring at the screen. All she types is “Hello, I’m Kate, if you remember me from elementary school that is, our moms still talk and I thought I would see how you were, Kate.” She runs inside the next day and sits on the computer to find she received a new email from Jesse.

His email reads, “I’m doing well, I’m coming back to Wisconsin for schooling and am so excited! How have you been doing? I hear you’ve been busy with dance, my mom bring up your name once in a while.”

She replies; “It’s so nice to hear from you! I’m surprised you remember who I am! I have been alright I suppose, could be better. Why are you coming all the way back her for school when you could stay in beautiful New York with big lights? I would love it in New York but I think I’m going to end up staying in Wisconsin for the rest of my life.”

He doesn’t answer her email for a few days. Kate knew it was to good to be true. Finally on a Saturday afternoon she goes online and she sees a new message from Jesse. He replies saying; “I can’t remember being so happy, I think Wisconsin is where I need to be. And better yet, that’s where you’ll be too.”

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