Generally, I am not very open about my private life. It isn’t that I have many secrets or skeletons in my closet; I have just viewed many people who are way too open about their personal lives, especially on social websites, that I have opted to stay in the background with such things. I love to share about my loved ones and my kiddos at school: they rock my world daily. Recent developments in my private life, though, have attracted attention from a lot of people. It has caused me to giggle on a daily basis the reactions and kindness people have displayed that I feel like I must tell you the story of me and this wonderful fella in my life.
Originally from West Memphis, my parents moved my sister and me to Judsonia shortly after my kindergarten year. Wanting to be closer to my grandmother after the sudden death of my grandfather and enroll me in an elementary school without barbed wire and bars around it, we made the move, and I was enrolled in a small, country school: White County Central Elementary. Moving is such a mind blowing thing for a small child and going from a somewhat “citified” lifestyle to “pure country” can be rough, plus trying to make friends and such. I was so excited about my new school and nearly skipped to Mrs. Wyatt’s first grade classroom. Contrary to popular belief, I was actually a really tall child, so I was seated in the back. While sitting in the back, I was befriended by another tall kid. His name was Heath, and he had a mop of curly hair and a big ol’ grin. (Btw. Heath remembers our first day together. He says my smile hasn’t changed and still remains one of his absolute favorite things about me. He also says he remembers that day very well because when he saw me for the first time, he got a “very funny feeling” in his stomach; he didn’t know what it was, but he just knew I was special. It gives me chills when I think of this). We became friends and then found out we lived two houses down from one another. Missing friends I had in West Memphis, I was so happy to have a new friend and playmate. Heath came over to my house, and we would play. Being the sweet kid he was, he played my favorite game with me: Pretty Pretty Princess. We would sit on my floor and play round after round. I loved being the purple piece; he would play the blue, naturally. He would win sometimes and be such a good sport at my urging him to wear the crown and look into the mirror and say “Pretty Pretty Princess” (what can I say, folks…rules are made to be followed). One time he came over to watch one of our favorite movies at the time, Kindergarten Cop. His mom made sure that my mom knew that Heath didn’t need to watch the part where the ferret attacks the bad guy; it freaked him out, poor guy. Anyway, in the first grade, I remember him giving me love letters. One time I had a complete “Regina George” moment when we were cleaning out our desks,and I found multiple love letters from him. “Heath! Stop writing me love letters! I’m not your girlfriend!” (a bit harsh for first grade, right?)
Mrs. Wyatt's first grade class photo.
The next year my family and I moved in with my grandmother while we built our dream house in the horse pasture behind her house. That meant no more play dates with Heath; however, we still went to the same tiny school. Heath and I didn’t have another class together till 5th grade GT. We continued to be friends, and I often referred to him as “PPP”. Moving through elementary, middle school, and high school, Heath and I remained friends and shared a handful of classes together. Being one of my oldest friends, we often clung to the nostalgia of that time in our life, even though we both started hanging out with different friends and choosing different paths, so to speak. During this time, I had a few boyfriends; he had a few girlfriends. Through it all, though, we were still good friends. Our senior year of high school came, and we found ourselves hanging out more because neither of us had significant others and the idea of senior year was “this is the last time.” Some of my favorite memories stem from that year. Heath was always a sweet guy in my mind but strictly my friend. We would ride around with different friends on Friday or Saturday nights in his white Dodge Dakota (his pride and joy. Seriously, one had to wipe one’s feet in order to enter). We’d cruise down Race Street, occasionally making a Sonic run. It still blows my mind how much fun you can have in a truck with your friends, a radio, and plenty of laughter.
One sweet thing that has always stood out in my mind that Heath did involved Norah Jones. Our senior year, I was obsessed with Norah and her music. I found it calmed me through the stress of the year. Looking up her concert tours and such only made me feel at a loss because her nearest concerts were hours and hours away from me. One Saturday afternoon in the spring semester of our senior year while I was getting ready for work, I received a phone call from Heath telling me he left me something in the front seat of my car (and that I needed to start locking my car at home. Ha). This is what I found:
That sweet boy had brought the concert straight to my living room on DVD.
The story continues and a few weeks before our graduation he told me about his feelings for me and how he’d cared deeply for me since the 1st grade and was interested in taking it to the next level. I was shocked. My middle name must have been oblivious because I really didn’t see it coming. I was so depressed because here was this sweet guy confessing his feelings for me, and I did not feel the same way. I actually had a crush on his best friend! (Now how awkward is that?) I spent a few days thinking and praying about it and finally told him I didn’t feel the same way. At that point in my life, that was the hardest thing I had ever done. I cried for days over it; I even prayed to God that he would give me the feelings for Heath that he had for me. We graduated and life went on. It was hard to get past that because how do you act like everything is normal? You can’t. Most of that summer, I worked at Kanakuk, and then it was time to go to freshman orientation at Ouachita. Through new phones and losing contacts over the years, I lost contact with Heath. I didn’t see or speak to him for 8 years. He had remained in our hometown, and I had gone off to college and lived in different areas after graduation. Then that all changed about three months ago...
...to be continued...