So I am challenging myself to get inspiration for blog titles from Bob Marley songs, hence the “no woman no cry”. I think this song is very relatable as winter is so-called cuffing season where we all seek to find a mate to cuddle with “by the fire light drinking corn meal porridge.” I had the pleasure (sarcasm) of experiencing my first American winter when my family landed in windy and cold Carbondale, IL from the paradise that is Kenya. Carbondalae was a barren ice land. No jobs, nothing to do. And to top it all off, school didn’t go so well for me because I failed to make friends due to the fact that I was a foreigner and people didn’t like that. For example, One time I remember crying because we were supposed to be writing in “cursive” in class and since I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. The kid told the teacher “she doesn’t know cursive, she’s from Africa!” My 10 year old self had never experienced such embarrassment in her life.
I only had one true friend, Kylie, who wasn’t very friendly as she was a loner and instead of playing with me, she would go play by herself. But then some teachers, I guess out of pity, introduced me to these girls who I guess were forced to talk and play with me. So obviously I didn’t like it there, after being dethroned from the queen bee status that I held in Kenya among my clique and being turned into an outcast. However, there was one good thing about Carbondale: Charlie.
Charlie was in 5tth grade and I was in 4th grade. I know Charlie isn’t a cool sounding name but he was the most popular guy in school. Gorgeous. charismatic. charming. and all the girls were in love with him. He lived like 1 house away from mine and so we got off the same bus stop. I guess he was just a friendly guy or he was attracted to the gold threads and cowrie shells in my hair like most people. Anyway, he would try to talk to me about the cars passing by: Hummers, Mustangs which I knew nothing about coming from Kenya where every foreign car is a Toyota. So i just never said anything or nodded my head and ran home to write on my hand: Mercy Loves Chuck. He would play American football with his friends and I would climb the tree in my backwards to watch while pretending to look at the street. He would play with my brother and watch the cars on the streets go by together( maybe the reason why my brother is so fascinated with cars) until he was almost like a second brother to my little brother, Juma. So it went on like this for a year until the last week before we moved to Alabama where I was jumping rope with his little sister(btw i am a mean jump roper) when he jumped in the rope and started jumping behind me. I could feel him breathing on my neck and I just got so nervous and tripped on the rope- i didn’t fall btw. So I ran back in the house out of shame. Anyway, so during the last day of Carbondale, his sister kept hinting that Chuck liked me but obviously I was a shy girl and couldn’t act on it #1 because my parents would kill me and #2 b/c of the whole Kenyan accent thing.
Anyway, so i left Carbondale without ever saying goodbye to him and when during the first year in Alabama, I would kiss his picture from the yearbook at our elementary school. I don’t know what happened to the picture but I still remember him clearly from his dimples to his irresistible smile. Last summer after finding the yearbook, I looked up my friend Kyle and found her on facebook. I sent a brief message trying to remind her who I was but no reply. Anyway, i didn’t expect one considering the fact that she has totally changed, has a lip and nose piercing, has straightened and colored her hair but even through all that, she still can’t hide her striking unforgettable face. I also tried to find Chuck but no luck-he went by several aliases back in elementary school so I wont be surprised if he doesn’t go by chuck or charlie anymore. But the funny thing is, even though I know that there is like 0.001% chance of me ever seeing him again, I still wonder WHAT IF: what if I saw him again, what if I hadn’t moved, what if I confronted him about our feelings for each other. Realistically, I know that he probably doesn’t even remember who I am but the sentimentalist in me will always cherish his memory as my first childhood crush in America.