Making A Pact, And Keeping It
Wednesday - November 09, 2005
When I was in the fourth grade, I had a crush on a boy at my school. I honestly can’t remember his name, but I remember two things: He was an older man (a sixth-grader) and he was tall (at least to this fourth-grader.)
My friend Jenny and I giggled every time he and his friends would walk by us at recess. Jenny also had a crush on another boy in that same group.
We were too shy (and inexperienced) to really know what to do with our feelings of puppy love, so instead we’d spend hours on the phone at night, imagining what it would be like when we married these boys, and we’d scrawl our first names with their last names all over our school binder.
Of course, it was rather obvious to the rest of our small school that Jenny and I were smitten with these boys. We really made no secret of it, I suppose.
But we were still too scared to “make a move” to officially let our feelings be known.
Sometimes, bravery needs a backup, so Jenny and I made a pact. I would say hello to my boy crush one day at lunch (the sixth-graders served lunch to the rest of the school, so I knew I’d have to see him in line). Not just that, but I would also say one sentence to him in addition to the “hi.” That part was unspecific; I could say whatever came to my mind.
As pacts go, Jenny was required to do the same to her crush. We figured if we got rejected, we’d be rejected together. And there’s some comfort in that.
So on a Friday at lunchtime, I made my move. I went to the cafeteria and nervously held my plate out as I walked through the lunch line. The first sixth-grader slopped some mashed potatoes on my plate, then I shuffled to the next person who was waiting to scoop the main dish (I can’t remember what it was) on top of the potatoes. Veggies came next ... it was corn, I think.
At the end of the line was my knight, armed with a pair of silver tongs standing in front of the cookie bin.
Summoning all my courage, I squeaked out, “Hi” as I nervously stared at my plate.
“Hi,” he said. “Cookie?” “Yes, please,” I replied, still staring at my lunch.
My crush then placed three cookies on my plate.
Three cookies???!!! I thought to myself. Three???!!! They’re only supposed to give us two!!
I got all flustered and looked up at my crush, who was so cool just standing there - as suave as a sixth-grader can be, leaning up against a plastic cookie bin - and he was smiling a big ol’ smile just for me.
“Oh my gosh! He likes me!” My brain was screaming.
But I composed myself enough to say, (as suave as a fourth-grader can, holding a plate of potatoes and corn) “Thanks for the cookies! See you later!”
With that I sauntered away. Jenny lived up to her end of the pact as well the following Friday. I believe her sentence was, “Are you using that beach mat?” during our weekly school outdoor picnic lunch.
I don’t think our crushes materialized into much. In fact, the next week, Jenny got tired of the sixth-grader and opted for a boy more in our age bracket - another fourth-grader.
But my elementary school pact with Jenny was the first of many pacts I’ve made in my life.
Sometimes we all need a little encouragement to get to our desired goals, especially if those goals seem like a challenge we may not be able to rise to alone.
There was that time four years ago, when three girlfriends and I made a pact to diet and exercise for two months. It actually worked really well because none of us wanted to be the chubby one left over at the end of the journey.
There’s my yearly pact with my high school friend Kalani, to draw up New Year’s resolutions (over the phone since he lives on the Mainland), and check up on each other’s progress during the year. We both keep copies of each other’s goals.
There was also a time when a friend was struggling with new-found singledom and I happened to be single at the same time. So we agreed on a pact that we must not jump into a relationship with the next boy who happened by our doorstep. We had to meet and date three quality boys before settling into another commitment.
Of course, we can always make a pact with ourselves as well, like the one I made most recently to finish my master’s degree that has been in the works for the better part of the millennium.
But a pact with a friend is more likely to yield the desired outcome because your friend will hold you to it or give you hassles if you don’t keep up your end. That’s what friends are for, after all. They sympathize, they push you, they don’t let you get away with anything. They’re willing to make pacts so you don’t have to face the tough road alone.
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