Snow White and I each believed that someday our prince would come. SW’s came and gallantly galloped off with her; mine just galloped off.
It didn’t take long before I became consumed with another new crush. To be honest, I was a serial crusher in pursuit of crushees. So many boys, and only one me.
Mom and Dad’s friends, the Shermans, had two sons. Phillip was a year older than me, and Gary a couple years younger. I never paid much attention to them, except as kids to play with, until one evening while playing hide-and-seek-tag at their house.
A huge spotlight lit the side-yard, creating spooky shadows. Phillip was it.
“Ready or not, here I come,” he called.
He found me and chased me around his yard. I impressed him with how fast my skinny legs could run. When he began to get close, I zig-zagged, not like a graceful gazelle chased by a hungry lion, more like Bugs Bunny evading Elmer Fudd’s shotgun. Phillip finally cornered me against Dad’s car. He placed an arm on each side, penning me in.
“Tag, you’re it,” he said.
A shiver ran through me. Holy crap! I stood still as he ran away. After a few seconds I shook it off and took after my new quarry. Ready or not (he wasn’t), Phillip joined Tommy, multiple Lennys, and Allen as an unwilling object of my affection.
When describing Phillip’s attributes to Mom, I pointed out that Sleeping Beauty’s prince is also named Phillip. It would have been nice if my Phillip rode a horse, lived in a castle, and fought dragons. Mine had reddish hair and freckles, but did not look a bit like Howdy-Doody.
Fast forward: Twenty years later, Mom mentioned that while I pined for Phillip, his younger brother, Gary had a crush on me. At the time, I considered Gary little more than a baby; the same feeling Phillip had for me.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” I asked.
Mom made a noncommittal shrug. I realized her lack of reporting was because she knew Gary would’ve instantly become my new focus, baby or not.
Chasing young boyfriends continued to be a lot like tag; they ran away and played hard to get.
Lesson learned: Wear good sneakers so you can run faster.
Now it’s your turn: What neighborhood games did you play in the dark?
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