His name was Carl. What was his mother thinking? He was a little BOY, not a construction worker.
We went to the same babysitter, and our mats lay next to each other’s in the floor. He had an olive complexion and jet black hair, and water blue eyes.
I was a round, pale girl with permed Peter Pan hair and a gap in my front teeth, but he looked at me like I was a Hollywood starlet. No one had ever made me feel so beautiful. For my sixth birthday he brought me a hard plastic doll with hair and eyes the color of his. I named her Jennifer, and I imagined that she was a glimpse into the future of what our children would look like.
I loved her.
I loved him.
We were sitting underneath the picnic table on a Wednesday afternoon, smelling the wood stain and keeping out of the sunshine, when a slight blonde girl named Joni came running around the corner. She was supposed to be dressed to play outside, and I suppose she was…but to me she looked like a model in the JCPenney catalog. Her pants were perfectly cuffed, her hair was bright and long. She had pierced ears.
I hated her instantly.
The next day, Carl moved his mat at naptime.