Tag Archives: your first crush

Daily Prompt Challenge: The 14-Year-Old Guat

4 Nov

Dear 14-year-old Guat,

“Be O.K. with having a bad hair day. The ‘bad hair’ is usually not about the hair, but about the way we look or the way we feel.”

You were smart and strong at this age. You didn’t worry so much about bad hair days. You were sort of ahead of your time and I don’t know where you got it from, but it’s awesome that you had it.

Keep listening to that little voice inside you, the one that tells you that bad hair days can be fixed with Aquanet hairspray or baseball caps. You’re absolutely right, it’s not the end of the world.

And, if you run into someone who likes you even when you’re having a bad hair day, like Rafa, definitely hang out with him. He doesn’t care that you’re a tomboy. He doesn’t care that you don’t wear make-up. He doesn’t care that you don’t wear pink. He thinks it’s cool that you like The Lakers and The Dodgers. He thinks it’s cool that you play sports. He’ll laugh at your jokes. He thinks you’re funny. He likes your sense of humor. He gets who you are and likes you as is.

Say yes when he asks to walk you to the bus stop. I know you’ll be nervous, but don’t look down, smile when he holds your hand. The butterflies mean you like him. Say yes when he asks to take you to the dance. Don’t say you’ll think about it, just say yes, right away. Time is important. You know you want to go.

Hang out with him for the next four months. You’ll be sad if you don’t. He’ll send you notes in class. He’ll eat lunch with you everyday. He’ll make you laugh. He’ll be your friend. He’ll tell his cousin Francisco to stop being such a jackass and to leave you alone during sixth period.

He’ll take you to Thrifty’s for an ice cream cone and know that you’ll pick chocolate every time, but he won’t care.

Hang out with him for the next four months, not just two. Hang out and keep talking about sports. Keep talking about your dreams when you grow up. Listen to his Fernando Valenzuela stories. Buy him some Corn Nuts. Let him hug you as many times as he wants to when he says good-bye. Smile every time he holds your hand, even on bad-hair days. It’ll be worth it.

You see, he’ll end up getting sick. Really sick. He’ll get something called Leukemia and you won’t ever see him again. It’ll be your first lesson with cancer. And it’ll suck, because you’ll miss him. So write him as many notes as you want to. He’ll keep them in his sock drawer, next to his baseball cards. They’ll probably make him smile when he’s not feeling very well. He’d like to think that you like him too, even when he’s having bad hair days because he has no hair at all.

Always be kind.

The Guat.


Challenge provided by Word Press Daily Prompt.

Celebrating 100 Days With a Blast From the Past

13 Apr

 Reaching 100. This is a milestone.


100 posts. Most television shows that reach 100 episodes host a party with a nice catered spread and balloons. Talk shows have people like Madonna or Prince give a performance.


I have Framboise and a great story.

What kind?

The Junior High School love kind … it’s the best kind. It involves notes, lockers, passing bells, hairspray, dances, and love songs like  I Need Love, Spring Love, A Groovy Kind of Love,  Heaven, and In Your Eyes.

In looking through photographs for this week’s photo challenge I thought about the different Jake Ryan’s in my life. I also remembered something a friend asked me a long time ago.

Have you ever loooooooooved someone soooooooo much… I mean so much that it was like too much?

Uh … No.

But then I remembered Virgil Junior High and my first crush.   

So in honor of my 100th post I thought I’d share an excerpt of  a short story I wrote a while back about my first crush. This is the excerpt …

…  I closed the bedroom door and turned the hallway light on. All the family photo albums with the 70s’ covers that were in our so-called library (Uncle Ericks’s old textbooks and reading books, as well as Spanish encyclopedias up to the letter P) were slumped over. No matter how many times I fixed them they’d still fall, with old faded Polaroids and papers sticking out.

image via jpop.com

I turned around and admired the Menudo poster taped to the door of my miniature closet. I looked into Charlie’s eyes and for some reason, knew he was looking back. He was the cutest. He always put a smile on my face, and it wasn’t because he was wearing tight black leather pants and a red sleeveless t-shirt with rhinestones. It was the way he smiled. It was the way he looked at me through the poster, like I was the only one he sang “Subete A Mi Moto,” to.

 I looked for something to wear. I didn’t care, really. It was just school. Jeans, a t-shirt, and Vans. Nothing too fancy. A ponytail or hairclip and a little bit of gel. Got my backpack and was out the door.

I was about halfway to school when I noticed a boy across the street staring at me. I looked up and stared back. He smiled. I smiled back, put my head down, and kept walking. I looked up again and he was still staring at me. He made me nervous. Not like the gangsters-in-the-alley nervous. A different kind – the kind I get when I’m at the top of a roller coaster, at its highest point, right before it comes swooshing down. It was that kind of nervous.

“Aren’t you in orchestra?”

I looked at him, and then looked to my left and right. I pointed at myself with a confused look on my face.

“Yeah, you. You play the violin or something. You’re in strings right?”

“Yeah. The cello.”

“Yeah you come out, while I go in. I’m in winds. I play the trumpet.”


“Don’t you know Gero and Manuel?”

“Yeah. I’ve known them for a long time. They live in my building. It’s just a couple blocks down.”

He stopped walking. I stopped walking. He crossed the street and stood there in front of me. I got more roller-coaster butterflies. He had nice big brown eyes and smooth skin. His lips looked soft. They didn’t have those dry lines that parted other guys’ lips. His hair was brown and combed to the right side. It was short in the back and long in front almost touching his long eyelashes. He wore white Nikes with the blue swoosh and jeans with a green LaTigre shirt.

“I’m Rafael. But everyone calls me Lito.”

“Hey. My name is—”

“Yeah. I know who you are …”

We looked at each other and smiled. We began walking. For some reason, the walk to school was a lot faster that morning. We talked all the way there. He had no brothers or sisters, liked Funyuns, Cheetos and Dr. Pepper, played Atari with his cousin, went to Beverly Elementary, liked baseball, liked Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers, hated the Atlanta Braves, liked Magic Johnson and had Mr. Bass for 5thperiod P.E.

I wanted to keep talking, but we had already gotten to school.

“All right. Maybe I’ll see you in between third and fourth period.”

“Yeah. That’d be nice.” He said. “Maybe. See ya.”

“Yeah. See ya.”

I walked to class, not really thinking about learning anything. The whole day was like that. I wanted to get to third period and have it finish so I could run into him. I wanted to feel nervous again.

Third period came and went. I packed up my cello and walked out of the auditorium. I searched the faces of those coming in and saw him. I slicked my hair back and walked in his direction. He saw me. He almost tripped and bumped into somebody. His face turned red. I smiled. He smiled. We locked eyes and said hello without saying anything. He took out a folded piece of paper from his front pocket and handed it to me. He smiled and went inside the auditorium with the rest of the crowd. I put the paper in my pocket and rushed to class before the tardy bell rang.

Once I got to fourth period I unfolded the note and this is what it said:

 It was nice walking to school with you. I’ll be walking to school at 7:20 tomorrow morning.


I put the note in my pocket and daydreamed the rest of the period.

I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and got right out of bed. I heard Chumpis through our bedroom window singing “Lala Means I Love You.” I stumbled out of the bottom bunk bed and walked to the bathroom. It was locked. My sister was in the bathroom.

“Leila! Leila! C’mon I gotta pee.”

“Do you wanna kill me, because you almost did. Why do you knock like that? I almost poked my eye out, stupid!”

“Don’t call me stupid. You’re stupid, stupid!”

 “You’re stupid.”


 “Shut up.”

 “No, you shut up.”

 “A la gran puchica! Both of you shut up!”

 “Dad! She almost poked my eye out.”

 “Do you still have both eyeballs?”


 “All right, then.”

 “You heard that Leila. Shut up and let me in.”

“Five minutes.”

“All right. Five minutes!”

I closed the bedroom door and sat on the green carpet in front of my miniature closet, looking at my Menudo poster. Charlie seemed different that morning. He was still smiling, but he wasn’t as cute.

I opened the closet door and tried to decide what to wear. I looked at all my clothes for a moment, and then decided on the burgundy corduroy pants and navy blue blouse.

“Leila. C’mon I don’t want to be late. Leila!”

She opened the door.

“I was gonna open the door already. You didn’t have to pound on it. I was already done.”

“What’s that miracle?”

“Shut up.”

“All right, let me through. I gotta take a shower. I can’t be late.”

Leila walked out of the bathroom and left. I quickly took a shower and got dressed. I was combing my hair when there was a knock on the door.


“Gero and Manuel are outside waiting.” Dad said.

“Oh … Um … what time is it?”

 “About 7:15.”

 “Is it 7:15 exactly?”

“Something like that.”

“I need to know.”

“It’s 7:13.”

“Oh … um … I’m not ready yet.”

“Well go tell them. I’m going back to sleep.”

I walked to the living room window and pulled back the beige curtains. I told them I wasn’t ready, to go ahead without me. They left and I went back into the bathroom.

I finished fixing my hair and added a little gel and Aquanet. Leila’s Wet-N-Wild Frosty Chocolate lipstick was on top of the hamper. I picked it up and put some on, smacking my lips together a couple of times like I’d seen some models do in the commercials. I looked at myself to make sure there were no Crest or Lady Speedstick stains on my clothes and walked out of the bathroom. Our Sanyo digital clock read 7:18 a.m. I picked up my bag and left.

I walked up the street feeling the roller-coaster butterflies. I walked three blocks and there he was on the corner, wearing a red LaTigre shirt and blue jeans, looking like he was waiting for a bus with no bus stop on that corner.