I was a really small kid, so people always thought I was a lot younger than I was – like, when I was 10 they thought I was 5. They also often thought I was a girl, I guess because I had a delicate, sort of pretty face and kept my hair kind of long. It also didn’t help that for a while I was obsessed with unicorns, so I had lots of t-shirts with unicorns on them, and the shirts were mostly pastel colors because only girls like unicorns, right?
One day when I was about 10 or 11 years old, I was wearing this sweet baby blue T-shirt with a herd of unicorns running across the chest leaving a rainbow in their wake. On the back were fuzzy white iron-on letters spelling “I LOVE UNICORNS.” I was at the grocery story by myself that day, getting a bunch of candy and plastic crap out of the gumball machines. Out of nowhere, another boy came up to me; I’m not sure if he was older, but he was definitely bigger and more physically mature. In my memory he’s 13 or maybe even 14, but he was probably closer to my age – my real age, not the age I looked. Anyway, he rolls up to me on his bike and says, “I love unicorns too.” I just stared at him, frozen, and couldn’t say anything.
Looking back, it feels as if he could have been my first boyfriend if I had the courage to talk to him. Sometimes I think he was, even if he didn’t know it, and even though I never saw him again.