I want to talk for a minute about unrequited love.
Frankly, this seems about as long overdue as the latte I drove all the way to the Starbucks by the connector to retrieve because Junior fell asleep in his carseat and my life has been indelibly altered and not in a good way since the Wilton curbside pickup went away.
This gives me a lot of time to think about all kinds of important life stuff, like why they call it duck sauce … is it made from real ducks? Or where a “gaggle” of geese came from, quite literally … why oh why do these poor poultry insist on trying to cross Route 7 at the worst possible hour?
It’s like Make Way for Ducklings, except they’re geese — a lot of them — and because I have nothing but time on my hands apparently and feathery friends blocking my path, I will tell you a story.
This is not a story like Make Way for Ducklings because, seriously, who can even begin to compare to the plight of a couple homeless Bostonites trying to bring up their brood of eight. Hardcore man. My life is a walk in the park in comparison especially since I’m not a duck or married to Brody Mallard.
When I was a junior in high school, I had a crush on a senior a-la Fatal Attraction-meets-Alicia Silverstone’s-character-in-that-movie-The Crush. For purposes of this article, we’ll call him Brody.
Brody was short and kinda stocky with these intensely piercing bluish/greenish eyes (think Scott Wolf, “Party of Five” days) and was really into (if memory serves me) lacrosse, which I had neither the interest nor desire to watch or participate in but feigned an excessive amount of enthusiasm for because there was nothing I wanted more than to be “Mrs. Brody Duck” … I mean Mallard. Sorry, moving on …
I was crazy in lust with this lacrosse-playing lug head and he was crazy in love with this other girl, whose name is eluding me right now but whose very big … aspirations had Brody somewhat distracted and possibly mistaking me for a houseplant. Not that this deterred me … in fact the more he ran, the more I chased until finally he left for college with no forwarding address and a casual, “Have a great summer, Lexi,” over his shoulder. I cried. A lot.
My girls are (both) at the age when not only do they think about boys, but have unfortunately inherited their mother’s excessive amount of enthusiasm, not for lacrosse but for boys like Brody.
I’m fortunate (maybe). My daughters tell me everything (or most things). This has proven to be both a blessing, a curse and sometimes a severe migraine-inducing confessional depending on the level of Brody-esque brooding (think everything from foraged pencils with Brody bite marks to an unhealthy amount of Instagram stalking). I get it.
The hard part, and I’m never sure how to handle this exactly, is that the majority of the time, these little lacrosse-loving affairs are kinda one-sided, in the sense that (like the real Brody), the boy doesn’t know she exists, nor is he aware she’s been collecting his pencils or writing his initials and circling them with hearts (apparently this never gets old, which neither does asking your 40-year-old mother for love advice. Can I just say, I’m soooooo the wrong person for the job…).
“Why don’t you try asking him for a pencil?” I suggest later, forgetting she already has maybe a dozen of them in a shrine in her room next to a lock of his hair (not really, but close).
I’m not judging, truly. I mean, it’s 23 years later and I’m apparently still not altogether over ole’ bluish/greenish eyes, who I’ve found alive and well and living in Napa Valley. I hand the phone over so my daughters can get a good look at him, the younger of whom seems underwhelmingly unimpressed. She shrugs. “He’s okay I guess if you like that type.”
My older daughter sips her latte. “Mom…”
“Didn’t you graduate high school in ’99?”
I nod, not really paying attention, thinking what great wine Brody’s likely drinking out in sunny California with his wife of (I’m confident) big aspirations. “It says he’s an alum of (insert not the name of the poor man’s private school my parents shelled out for here) and he graduated in 1997.”
“That’s impossible. That would make him two years older than me and…” I grab the phone. “That’s not Brody.”
My younger daughter laughs. “No shit, Sherlock.”
Here’s how the tale ends…
I quickly abandon all hope or interest in looking for Brody, and what started as a little voyeuristic venture to appease my two overly curious daughters quickly loses its luster. Until one night… many, many days later, many many hours on the cusp of what is sure to be another sleepless sonata of cat meowing and husband snoring and toddler teething, I google him, and find…
Reverend Brody Mallard.
No wine. No wife. No Napa Valley or full head of hair. No hair at all really to speak of and I had to think, was I somehow responsible? Was I, Lexi Kirschner, somehow effectively instrumental in not only turning him off me, but off all women? I felt so confused, so strangely powerful, so…
“What are you doing?” Jon asks, standing in the doorway, looking exhausted and “unfortunate with forwarding address”.
I click back to Google Docs. “Nothing. Just writing …”
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.