Sorry Robert

When I was 9 years old and living in Avon, Connecticut, there was this boy in the neighborhood named Robert Russo who was, frankly, the bane of my existence. He would tease me and pick on me incessantly. I tried to avoid him as much as I could.

One day I was playing in front of my house and he told me he loved me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so freaked out in my life. I mean, at the time, my own mother didn’t even say that to me. (Long story for another day.) I’m not sure anyone ever had.

So I reacted as any worldly 9 year old girl would. I crossed my arms and stomped my foot and shouted, “No you do NOT, Robert Russo! Boys don’t say that to girls they like. If you loved me, you’d say you hated me! You’re trying to trick me!”

And with that, I turned around and ran in the house. I could hear him desperately shouting after me, “Okay then! I hate you! I hate you!”

Oddly, I don’t recollect ever having seen him again. Surely I must have. But then we moved away not long after that, so who knows?

Looking back at that as an adult, I kind of feel sorry for the little guy. It must have taken some serious guts to say that to me. How was he to know that I felt so completely ugly and unlovable back then that there was no way I could believe him? (But then again, maybe he was trying to trick me. He was a little shit most of the time.)

Still, I wish I could go back and explain to him that it was not a rejection of him, but my complete and utter inability to deal with that particular emotion. Nowadays I know how rare and precious love is, and I’m not so eager to shoot it down in flames when it comes my way. Even if the feeling isn’t mutual, I can still appreciate it, and try to be kind to the giver.

Robert Russo probably doesn’t even remember me. I almost hope he doesn’t. I hope I didn’t crush him like a bug. But oh, I remember him.

Young Love


2 thoughts on “Sorry Robert

  1. Isn’t it a wonder the memories that we keep forever? What brought up this one? I remain infinitely curious about where your constant stream of ideas comes from. As I post this comment it is nearly 4am and I am on a cot in the Chicago O’Hare Airport because the first leg of our flight got cancelled in Seattle, we got booked on an alternate flight that got us in too late to connect to the puddle jumper flight and in five hours we will be on that last short flight. Today was a day of firsts that I will most likely never forget either. So many hours spent at SEA-TAC waiting to get to leave. A meditation of sorts. The agent Cathy J who rebooked us did so with lightening quick fingers as she maneuvered through the reservations screens and options. We said no to being sent to Atlanta…with a preference to spend a night in the airport. Air-conditioning at night sleeping on a Coleman cot with an oversized airplane blanket is hardly easy. Unable to sleep I went looking for your blog to read and comment on. I’m looking at dozens of dark blue lumps on cots attempting to sleep and the overhead flourescents just came on too. Time to go find some coffee. Can’t get breakfast for an hour. 4am wake up call for all!

    Adventures come in all shapes and sizes and temperatures.

    1. What a travel nightmare! I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope you make it in time for the birthday party.
      I hadn’t thought about Robert in decades, to be honest. But this past week I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to and trying to reassure my inner child about a whole host of things, and she reminded me, apparently. 🙂

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