Growing up in the suburbs of Adelaide, my very first crush was a boy named Rodger. It was my 5th birthday and my first day of school.
He had turned 5, twenty-six days earlier. He was smaller than most of the other kids, me included, but he had the cutest little upturned nose and bright green laughing eyes.
In this new environment, away from my family, I felt safe with him. We became friends but as we grew and made other friends our interests saw us hanging around other people. We were still friends though and would often chat or I’d join in a game of lunch time footy. Our school was small so everyone in our grade was friends with each other, but it was Rodger that I was always drawn to.
Just before we turned thirteen, it was time to move on to high school. My mother felt I was too much of a Tom boy. I was always hanging around the boys and playing football and basketball and at home, I had 4 older brothers. She said I was being too submerged in male influences and as a result sent me to an all-girls school.
All of my friends went to a co-ed school just around the corner and I was devastated. I said goodbye to them on the last day of year 7 and shed too many tears to count. Amongst those friends was Rodger. I knew if I was to ever see any of these people again it would be as adults. My mother worked a lot and we were never allowed to have friends over or go to visit others. So, the chances of keeping in touch were slim.
It took a lot to settle in to my new, all-girls high school. No one played sport or had fun. They sat around and talked about hair and perfume and a bunch of things I had no interest in. I was lonely and I hated it. It took me a few months but finally I met some friends and thoughts of my primary school days slipped away, into the past where they belonged.
I grew up, went to university, got married, had children, got divorced and lived life. Not necessarily in that order. One morning I woke up to a notification from Facebook on my phone, letting me know a girl I went to primary school with, had added me to a class of 1986 Facebook group.
I hadn’t really had contact with anyone from Primary school for nearly 25 years. But I remembered them all as vividly as that last day of school. I opened up the group and scrolled through the posts. All the old gang were there. Well… all the girls were at least.
I said hello and promptly got caught up in a cloud of memories as I chatted with girls (that had now become women) about our antics many years before. I wasted hours in that group on the first day. One of the posts was asking who we had a crush on in Primary School. Before I could stop myself, my fingers flew across the keys and I replied, Rodger.
A few hours later a notification lit up my phone. I stared down at it and saw it was from Rodger. What? I went in and had a look. He’d replied to my crush comment and said ‘oh shucks.’ I was a bit embarrassed but never the less we started chatting. We got along like we’d known each other a life time and in some respects, we had.
It didn’t take long to realise we had the same pathetic sense of humour. We chatted and laughed for days. Finally we exchanged phone numbers and talked on the phone before bed and it soon became my favourite part of the day. One day we decided to meet up. He only lived about three minutes away from me after all. We met at a local pub in the middle of the day.
Each man that walked in had me wondering if it was him. Then a man with gorgeous green eyes and the same snub nose strolled in and a smile lit up his face. He hadn’t changed a bit. We sat together and chatted for hours. I even went to work with him that night to keep him company. He was a barman and Mondays were slow.
I found out he’d never been married, never had children and had recently returned to his childhood home to help out his mother. He confessed that he felt he’d be alone forever. I hated knowing such a funny, vibrant, kind hearted man was lonely. He deserved better. I immediately went into match maker mode. Who did I know? Who could I pair him up with? I introduced him to all my single friends but none of them were a match.
One night I was preparing for bed when my phone went off alerting me to a text. I fell onto my bed and scooped up my phone, a huge smile on my face, knowing it was Rodger. Only it wasn’t. It was someone else and I acknowledged the disappointment swirling around my stomach. What was that about? Oh? The penny dropped. I didn’t want to give this nice guy away. I wanted to keep him for myself. And I did.
We got married less than two years after meeting again. We now have two gorgeous boys and he has taken on the father role to my older children. He is the best dad and an amazing husband. I love to tease him about the fact I loved him since I was 5 but because he’s not as smart as me, it took him an extra thirty years to work it out. He is not only my husband, but my best friend, my biggest cheerleader and the co-owner of our childhood memories. A childhood we lived together.
We started our journey together and we’ll end it together. Just not yet. There are still many laughs to be had and love to give.
Adelaide author Suzie Jay grew up within walking distance from the beach, dreaming of life as a famous author or Johnny Farnham’s back-up singer. After a stint as a teacher and stay at home mum, she decided to make her dream a reality, writing romance- not singing, because she can’t hold a tune. She didn’t give up on Johnny all together and in her spare time sings along to 80’s hits, bakes and binges on Netflix with her own knight in shining armour- who’s more likely to wear tattered footy jumpers than chainmail.