Meeting Natrell at the Christmas Dance was indeed, a gift for me. I had hit the jackpot! It was now the Spring Semester and we were back at school. Natrell and I communicated through notes and during games of Tag at recess. He was a 4th grader, so our recess time was not spent completely together, but we had time to stare, giggle, and send messages through our friends to each other. Never any real conversations, but he and all of the 3rd and 4th graders knew he was my boyfriend. This little 3rd grader was “dating” the cutest boy in the 4th grade.
At this particular school, we had Before School Activities and After School Activities that students could sign up for. This was to ease the stress of parents that were unable to pick their child up at 3:30 after school and/or couldn’t drop their child right off before school started at 8:30, due to work schedules. They were fun activities to sign up for like Dance, Gymnastics, Chess Club, Board Games, Knitting, Art, Book Club, etc. It was at one of these after school activities where all my plans would come to an end, for I forgot my mother was a teacher at my school.
One day after school, my afternoon activity class went outside to the playground. Although it was a beautiful brisk spring day, I was a little sad. Many of the 4th grade girls were attempting to take my boyfriend from me. LaTasha, my best friend and messenger was gone, and my other friends were inside with their afternoon activity classes or home. I was outside watching the many girls send their messengers to Natrell and his friends. Of course he enjoyed the attention, but I was growing a bit nervous about it all. I noticed the Student Teacher from my class was out side too, so I ran over to talk to her.
She was Miss Jones. She was going to college to become a teacher. She noticed that I seemed really sad and asked me what was wrong. I explained to her that all the 4th grade girls were trying to take my boyfriend from me. She tried to assure me that everything would be okay and that I had nothing to worry about. After hugging and thanking her, I ran off to play and noticed my mommy walking onto the playground. She had a long black trench coat on, but I was too young to notice the obvious omen that was steadily approaching me. Here we go:
Me: Hey mommy!
Mommy: Hey sweetie, how was your day?
Me: It was good. I got a 100 on my Spelling Test!
Mommy: Good baby! Are you ready to go? Go get your jacket.
As I was about to go and get my jacket, I see Miss Jones walking over. Again, I didn’t foresee my immediate doom.
Miss Jones: Hi Mrs. Young, how are you? Did Katherine tell you about her boyfriend problem?
Mommy: I’m doing fine…her what problems?
Eyes enlarging…Transformation 33%
Miss Jones: Her boyfriend problems. She said that she was sad because the girls were trying to take her boyfriend from her.
Turning to look at me…Transformation 65% *eyes blazing and shoulders rearing back*
Mrs. Young: What boyfriend? You gotta boyfriend? *stares at me with a crazed look as Miss Jones quickly walks away from a potential crime scene*
Me: *Staring at the dry ground, knowing soon I could possibly melt into a puddle of chocolate under Medusa’s, I mean mommy’s gaze.*
Mrs. Young: I’m going to ask you one more time. You have a boyfriend?
Transformation…77% *black trench turning into wings; teeth sharpening*
Me: Yes ma’am.
Mrs. Young: Where is he? *looking around hungrily while licking her lips at the kids playing on the playground*
Me: Over there. *I point to where he is.*
Mrs. Young: Ahhh, naw. I’m bout ta nip this in the bud right now. Go get him. I need to talk to him. *The gnashing of teeth can now be heard.*
Transformation into unknown Bird Box creature…COMPLETE…
*The creature, now pacing and eagerly awaiting its prey*
Me: *Walking over to Natrell, knowing that the Doom was here. * Natrell, my mommy wants to talk to you.
Me: I don’t know. She said she wants to meet you.
We walk in silence. I don’t look at him, he doesn’t look at me. We reach it. *The sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth can be heard to know that hell had indeed come to earth.*
Mrs. Young: Hello…are you Natrell?
Natrell: *Nodding* Yes ma’am.
*Was that a growl?*
Mrs. Young: *Pointing at me with long yellow claws* You see this little girl right here? She can’t have no boyfriend. She’s not allowed to have a boyfriend, so today is the last day of this.
With the same effort that Jane Goodall used when trying to understand the communication and ways of Chimpanzees in the wilds of Africa, I attempted to decipher the screaming and clawing of the raving winged chimpanzee that my mother had transformed into. I was soon able to make out human words through the monkey chatter of her telling Natrell that we are too young to be trying to date. Of her asking where were we going to go anyway, since we were dating and how were we getting there. Then finalizing that this would be the end to our relationship. We could be friends, but nothing more.
I could hear the 4th grade girls eaves dropping and laughing and plotting behind me. They had always been plotting to put an end to our playground union. How dare Miss Jones expose me and my relationship problems to my mom? I came to her in confidence, how could she…*interrupted*
Mrs. Young: Little girl, are you listening? Do you understand what I am saying?
Me: *Nodding* Yes Ma’am
Mrs. Young: Do you understand me young man?
Transformation Deactivated…78% Complete
Natrell: Yes ma’am. *Turns and runs away without a second look at us.*
Mrs. Young: Young lady…now you know you are not allowed to have a boyfriend. Do you understand me? You know God is always going to tell me when you’re doing something you shouldn’t.
Me: *Looking down at the dry dusty ground.* Yes ma’am.
Mommy: Alright. Now go get your jacket so we can go.
That was the last day that Natrell ever looked at me or spoke to me. He eventually moved soon after that, so my humiliation didn’t last long. Looking back, my mother really was calm with Natrell and even with me. It wasn’t his fault and I was just a little kid right? It’s all funny now looking back, how one question could change what was meant to be.
Thank you for reading PART II of What Boyfriend. If you haven’t, please read What Boyfriend? Part I
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Valentine’s Week Series Day 2
Photo: Personal Archive