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Love Me, Love Me Not

May 2, 2009

Once, I had it all figured out. Then, I grew up, grew sensible, turned my back on my gut and the feelings it shoots toward my chest. I’ve dressed some scrapes across my heart like sticking a bandage over a pavement-scuffed knee. Nothing I haven’t sprung back from, but I’ve made some rather poor choices since I abandoned the decision-making tools of childhood. Remember how easy it was?

1.

Magic Eight Balls ruled grade six. One question, one shake, one hand over one’s eyes until the answer appeared. Does he love me? (shake shake) Better not tell you now. Will we get homeroom together? Outlook good.

2.

Paper fortune tellers were less reliable, but you could go best three out of four, hoping that a few more flicks of the origami pod would yield the answer you wanted. Last winter, a friend and I downed bourbon sours and tried to get to the bottom of a dilemma. We never did, but we sure did get loaded. It’s also possible we loaded our fortune teller with loaded suggestions:

11:35 is not that late; you got cooler after high school; care for another bourbon?; I am good for now; the kitten doesn’t mind if you sleep over tonight; the kitten doesn’t mind if I sleep over tonight; you look great in those jeans; you have a nice bum.

3.

I wish we could revive cereal box decoder rings–rummaging elbow-deep in Shreddies for a delicious little disk and cipher sheet. The perfect tool for cracking the code on adult situations. For instance, when he says it’s nice to see me, what does he mean? He might mean it’s nice to see me. Or, that his day isn’t the same without our morning “hello”. Maybe he’d like to ask me out but isn’t sure how and covers his desire with simple salutations. Maybe it’s nice to see me…and the postman and the grocer and the receptionist…meaning, he simply has good manners and his statement means nothing at all.

4.

Pulling daisy petals worked on the honour system. As you exhausted your blossom, it was possible to cheat, tugging a couple petals at once to dodge “he loves me not”. And, if the first flower let you down, you could pick another and try again.

Maybe that’s the beauty of being fresh and small–you truly believe a flower is trustworthy, that its petals are the currency of love. Just like you believe smiling coyly, kicking your toe at some dust, twirling a lock of hair while you speak will get you what you want. And if it doesn’t, well, you’re young enough that you probably don’t really care. You just plaster a bandage over the mess and get on with things.

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