Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Certain Red-Headed Boy

One of the questions posed to me at the launch party on Monday was about Cameron, the hero in A Side of Faith.

Cameron, you see, has red hair.

It isn't a common trait you see on heroes in romance novels. I'm not sure why not, but it just isn't.

I picked his color of hair for a really good reason though.

You see, I have guilt. You know something that you said/did years and years ago that you can never undo but you will forever have it ingrained in your head that you said it?

Yeah, something like that.

I was in the 7th grade....

YES, I still feel guilty about something I did in the 7th grade. Don't judge.

Anyway...

I had this friend. We'll call her "M."

M and I were bestest of friends. We ate lunch together, we talked in the halls together, we passed notes in class to each other, we shared secrets of what boys we liked. Real 7th grade stuff, ya know.

Well, I was also cursed (er, I mean, blessed...) with two older sisters. You need to understand, I was not what anyone would label "cool" or "popular" or even pretty back then. I was basically a nerd with glasses and a overly large gap between her teeth (and hair my mom insisted on cutting insanely short.)

But my sisters? Yeah, I totally labeled them as such. They knew EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and I hung on (most) of their words of wisdom as gospel truth.

Oh... I was so very, very naive....

(love you, sisters...)

My sisters taught me a few very important lessons regarding boys. They swear they don't remember this, but it is to this day ingrained in my head.

1.) Never date a boy shorter than you.
2.) Never date a boy younger than you.
3.) Never date a boy with red hair, because they are, the whole lot of them, ugly.
4.) A boy should always hold your hand from the front, otherwise they are a sissy. (or something like that...)

*ahem*

So, those were the rules.

I thought these rules were universally known truths that everyone on the planet should be aware of.

Granted, I did feel bad for all red-haired boys... and wondered if they just stayed single for the rest of their lives or something. But hey, my sisters were experts...right?

Okay, so back to the 7th grade. M and I were in the lunch line chatting one day, and she leans over and whispers into my ear, "Krista, I like a boy."

My ears perked up. I wasn't super boy crazy by this point, but the whole idea of it was starting to get interesting. "Really??? Who???"

For the sake of this public blog, we'll call the boy "L."

When she whispered his name to me, my back straightened and my eyebrows knit together. "L? You like L? But... he has red hair. You can't like a boy with red hair!" I was honestly shocked. Had she not had someone super knowledgeable to tell her this universal truth, perhaps?

Oh, but obviously she hadn't.

(inserting note: You have to realize how horrible this was of me. "L" was one of the nicest boys in school, I believe was a Christian, and all around good guy. I'd have probably been his friend had we known each other any more than just in passing. I just didn't think he was "crushable" material...)

Back to M: The moment the words escaped my mouth, fire burst from her eyes as her giddy grin morphed into a ferocious scowl. She stomped her foot, twirled around, jutted her chin into the air........

And never.

To this day.

Spoke to me again.

Except for one moment in the cafeteria where she called me the "B" word as I walked away a few weeks later.

I realized my error very quickly. I apologized. I cried. I wrote notes begging for forgiveness. I was in best-friend mourning.

Every time I would see her (which was daily since we had social studies together...) she would look the other way.

At my heart I have always been a people pleaser. So to know I couldn't fix this, that I hurt my friend so badly, was excruciating.

So much that I begged my mom to send me to a private school the following year, which she did.

On one hand, I so wish I could take back those words. But ya know what? I met some amazing friends at my new school, and had some AWESOME experiences, so I wouldn't change the direction my life took.

I still would take back those words, though.

So when I was dreaming of Cameron, trying to figure out his story, I got this picture of a redheaded boy in my head.

And I KNEW that my heroine was going to snub him for his hair. I didn't know why. I didn't know how. But my little story was a way to apologize once and for all for my meanness. And to teach my 7th grade self a wee little lesson:

Don't judge a boy by his hair color.

And don't diss a friend's choice of a crush.

Neither will end well!

(But... it might just give you interesting inspiration for a story someday :-))


Okay, so I spilled my story. Do you have a moment from your childhood you wish you could take back? Or a certain crush you regretted? Or a certain "feature" you swore you'd never accept in a boy? 

4 comments:

Riete said...

Funnily enough I learned the same "rules" in my teens. So maybe they were more or less universally known, however untrue they are.

My "moment" was in primary school. I was not one of the most popular girls in class and neither was my friend J, a lovely girl who had a terrible stutter. To my eternal shame I one day sided with the popular group and teased her about that stutter. I will never forget the look she gave me when she walked away crying. It was the end of a friendship.
Later that year we moved to another town on the other side of the country so I never saw her again. But yes, I still feel bad about it.

If only we knew then what we know now ... sigh ...

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Yep. I've heard those rules too! (I still tend to believe the one about the hand-holding!) :P

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry about your friend...you've never reconnected with her?

Krista Phillips said...

LOL, I knew the "taller" and "older" were a little more "recommended" (poor short boys...) But the red-headed part has only been told to me by my sisters, LOL

Oh goodness, I have a similar story, Riete. I am ashamed every time I think about. I was "friends" with a little girl from a very not-nice neighborhood. She was dirty, didn't take lots of baths, and was held back in kindergarten.

But then one of my other friends came and told me if I kept being friends with the dirty little girl, then no one was going to be my friend.

I told that sweet little girl, the one who needed a friend so very much, that I would be her "secret" friend.

I am so ashamed. I wish I could go back and stick my tongue out at those popular kids and just hug that little girl. I wish SO badly I could do that :-(

Krista Phillips said...

LOL, the hand holding one I agree with too!

And my hubby is over 4 years my senior... but we are exactly to the inch the same height, LOL. At least he wasn't "shorter"..... :-)

No, I never did. I found her on Facebook a few years ago and clicked "friend" cause I thought it would be funny to reconnect, but she declined. I should write a message.... but I'm too chicken!!!