Valentine's Day was approaching and my kindergarten teacher had just announced that we would be having a Valentine's Day party.
"Okay, class. I'm going to send notes home so everyone can know what they need to bring for the party." Mrs. Lytle said.
It seemed simple enough for my five-year-old mind. Then she continued.
"Since it's Valentine's Day, I am going to pair a girl with a boy and they'll be your Valentine's date for the party."
That was when I got nervous. I looked around the room frantically at all my options. I knew who I thought was the cutest boy in the class. I would love to say his name, but for his privacy, and the possibility that he may not still be cute, I won't. So let's call him by his initials, KC.
KC was the boy in class that all the girls giggled when he got to lead the line. KC was the boy whose mom dressed him the best. KC had the cool chop. It was giving Play, from Kid n Play. It was giving Criss Cross will make you Jump Jump.
Sure, we were just in kindergarten, but KC had that IT factor. You could tell that he would only get better as grade school progressed.
There were some other okay boys in the class that I was hoping I would get paired with, and there were a couple that I prayed Mrs. Lytle wouldn't pair with me because I didn't want to get teased for getting the snotty kid or the musty boy.
Mrs. Lytle began to call names and tell us who our Valentine's date would be. I was so nervous. I mean, what was going to happen as a result of knowing that person would be our date? Was this a moment for an instant crush to build? How did this go? I knew we were all too young to have boyfriends and girlfriends, but I somehow felt this moment would be monumental. Each time a new pair was introduced to the class, there would be sniggles and giggles. It was classic Little Rascals happening before our eyes. Shoot, I had made my assessment of the boys and knew who I didn't want, but what if I was on someone's list of "don't want"?
"Reel." Mrs. Lytle called.
I froze in place. I looked around at the one friend I knew understood my nervousness because her name was typically called right after mine, which meant she was next.
"Your date is KC."
Before I could react nervously or nonchalantly, the entire class erupted in claps and a loud "ooooooooooooh!"
Mrs. Lytle called to settle the rowdy group of five-year-old students all while smiling herself. The bottom of my stomach was hot and it reminded me of what happened whenever my mom took us to Captain D's on Thursday nights after my ballet class. I wanted to cry. There was no way I was on the list of girls that KC wanted to be his Valentine's Day date. I took a breath and made myself look in his direction. He looked equally embarrassed by everyone's reaction, but he smiled at me.
At playtime, I was the IT girl. Everyone wanted to talk to me. One girl asked me, "So do you like KC?" When I didn't answer, she ran around screaming, "Brittney likes KCCCCC!"
On the day of the Valentine's Day party, KC brought me a handmade Valentine's card. We sat across from each other during the party saying nothing. He was just being nice because I was a nice quiet girl. I was sure of it. When the party ended, I half smiled awkwardly and all throughout high school, I'm pretty sure I never spoke to KC again except maybe a brief wave while exchanging classes or an "excuse me" trying to inch to the pencil sharpener.
Who did Mrs. Lytle think she was pairing me with the boy that I actually wanted to be paired with? Like, what the.
I am thirty-five years old now, and all I want to know is why at such an early age did I not believe that I could be liked by the cool boy in the class. #inthemeantime
Reference: Kriss Cross: https://youtu.be/010KyIQjkTk?si=NV1n3YVBhtau_-NU
House Party: https://youtu.be/RWyxVRdj-Gw?si=QCjI5mjt4LjalyB9