When An Untouchable Has A Crush

When we were growing up, our first crush was so important. And now, just thinking about him makes me want to laugh, but in an affectionate way.

I went to a small Lutheran school affiliated with five churches in St. Louis, and the school had a pretty rigid caste system that felt as strong as India’s caste system. And I was a dalit. If people even talked to me, they were tainted by association.

I had a few friends of the other untouchables, but not anyone I would tell about my crush, Scott Dallman. We went to both school and church together, so I could see him practically every day. He was tall and kind of quiet and he didn’t make fun of me like other people did.

Like all the girls did with their crushes, I wrote our names in a heart in my hymn book (each student had their own). I know people saw it and word got out that I liked him, and that was one more thing they teased me about, and I think even him a little bit. He always just shrugged and rolled his eyes about it, and I kept the heart in my hymn book. Looking at it made my heart beat fast.

At our church, my mom and his parents were really good friends and we would go camping together with several other church families.  Those weekends were so much fun because, out there, the caste system stopped mattering. We were friends. We swam and laughed and I pretended to be adventurers with him, his brothers, and the other kids with us, and the social strata of elementary school was suspended.

Then, when we saw each other in school again, still walking in the glow of weekend fun, we would greet each other in the morning, but by lunch, we were back in our places, although maybe a little less rigidly than before.

As it happens, our parents are still friends and still get together. I actually went to his wedding! He married another girl we went to the small Lutheran school with, Molly.  She had a beautiful voice, and she was really nice. At the reception, I went to talk to both of them and I told them how much I had liked him. “Really?!” he asked, completely surprised and Molly laughed. Last I heard, they have two kids.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.”

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