31 Days, 31 People
Day 03: PETE

My family moved to a tiny town in rural Nevada mid-school year when I was in fifth grade. Small towns are tight-knit communities with lots of good people and small talk. I have no idea how many kids were in my new fifth-grade class but my high school graduating class was 36 or 38 students including kids from two other towns, so grade school had to have been a good deal smaller.

Starting at a new school in a new place can be pretty daunting. I learned on my first day that fifth graders were not allowed to sit at the sixth-grade lunch table, even if you were new and scared and the only person you knew was your sixth-grade cousin.

Even later in the year, a newer kid joined our little class. I remember Pete. He was super cute and I got nervous and flustered when he’d smile or stand too close. He had giant eyes and perfect olive skin. (Yes, I had an idea of what “perfect skin” was to me in fifth grade. As a skinny, ultra pale girl constantly teased about my freckle-attacked face, it was an awareness.) He was funny and silly, and the girls adored Pete. He was the kid that was way too cute for a girl like me.

At the very end of sixth grade our class went on this big field trip, Pete asked me “out”. The thought of “will you go out with me” makes me giggle. We held hands. That summer he came to my house a few times, we watched movies. And I remember his mom was one of the sweetest ladies in the world. Our going-out was cute and innocent.

I have no memory at all of why or when or how we broke up, good ol’ sixth-grade romance. I only remember that Pete’s like for me gave me a little spark of confidence, which I’d been sorely lacking in. I’m grateful to Pete for that. Even the smallest amounts of confidence can change everything for a kid. I am still working on the whole confidence thing, but I believe a positive leap forward started with Pete.

I’m friends with Pete on Facebook now — I have no idea if you’ll see this Pete but thank you for seeing ‘me’ way back then.

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