Annie and the Prostitute

This is a story about how I learned about prostitutes.

My first kiss happened in kindergarten.

I was standing in line (single-file, of course) after recess, and the girl I had a crush on was in front of me. I blew an air kiss at her (she wasn’t looking) and wondered if it counted as my first kiss. I considered taking it back, because I wasn’t sure I’d end up marrying her, but I figured as long as no one saw it, I could give it to someone else in the future instead.

That someone else came along in the form of Annie Gil in fourth grade. Annie was skinny and blonde and she knew everything about the whole world. She was a runner–she could run farther and longer than anyone else at recess.

I like to think that we were in love.

Annie and I traveled in different social circles for most of the day. She was pretty and popular, and I was this guy (see photo). But every day at lunch, I’d have 30 minutes of pure bliss starting the moment that Annie sat across from me at that cafeteria table.

With the few other kids that sat nearby, we talked about all the things that seemed so important back then. (Conversation often feels like work now; how was it so easy when we were young?) On one unassuming day, the topic of prostitutes came up.

Of course, I had no idea what a prostitute was. Literally no idea. When no one at my table would tell me what it meant, I told them I’d ask the lunch lady.

The lady looked surprised but saw that I was sincerely inquiring the meaning of the word.  She answered slowly, ignoring the giggles from my table companions.  “Well,” she began.  “A…a prostitute is a someone, usually a woman, who uses her body to make money.”

Thus I learned that a prostitute was a woman who worked in a factory and needed to use her hands on the job.

Annie and I went our separate ways that summer, and when we returned, things were never the same. I wondered if we there was ever anything between us–puppy love plays tricks on the mind.

We ended up going to the same middle school. On one of the last days of eight grade, the two of us headed for different high schools, Annie and I traded yearbooks to sign. I think I wrote something nonchalant, trying to be cool.

In mine, Annie had written, “Remember fourth grade? Too bad things change.”

There’s really nothing in this world like young love. Especially if you learn about prostitutes along the way.

I'm the one in all red with the stopwatch.