A love tale worthy of Lifetime

Since Valentine?s Day is nearly upon us?that?s right, me, start ordering those mylar balloons now, before you forget!?I can?t help but think back to my first foray into that crazy little thing.

It?s a tale of love and loss. Of enchantment and betrayal. Of firsts and lasts. And it all happened in 1999.

(If any Lifetime Original Movie executives happen to be reading this, I?m open to talks about contracts.)

Rehearsals for the third-grade musical, ?The Carni?val of the Animals,? were just beginning and I had been cast as an elephant. I was still fairly new to the school and still making friends when I found out that my dancing partner was Becky.

We spent the following weeks practicing our dance, complete with elephant trunks and pillow-stuffed gray tunics, me in a floppy blue bow tie and her in a pink tutu. And, as is inevitable with any two artists collaborating closely in tandem, we eventually took our cootie shots and became girlfriend and boyfriend.

The night of the performance quickly arrived and a small but appreciative camera-wielding audience took its seat. The curtain opened, the lights came up and the show began.

When our part came, Becky and I did our choreography with the grace of any love-struck pachyderm. I can still remember those enchanting lyrics: ?When you are big, no one ever asks you to dance. You try to move so carefully, but no one ever wants to take a chance.?

It was love, I tell you!

At least it was for me. When cornered by her friends, Becky denied our relationship.

It was over. I was crushed. And my third-grade year limped to its bitter end, wounded and abandoned.

(I should mention, however, that Becky and I did eventually mend our friendship, and in the following years we shared many adventures, most of which involved Igloo snow cones and minor acts of trespassing.)

The carefree joys of summer heal young hearts, however, so by the time fourth grade began I was on the mend.

This was good, because my new best friend, Ben, and I were two very eligible fourth-grade bachelors. Just picture a nerdy string bean and a dork wearing round glasses and an ?If I only had a brain? scarecrow T-shirt.

Obviously, we found love very quickly. To protect their identities, I?ll call them ?A? and ?S,? because their names were Ashley and Steph.

For my part, this might have been a slight act of cold revenge, since Steph was Becky?s best friend. I only mention that because it would make a good plot twist in my Lifetime Original Movie.

Things were going quite well until the fateful day that we all decided to get married on the playground. It was to be a double wedding, which was a fairly progressive move for Hillsboro Elemen?tary School.

The ceremony was beautiful: the girls held wood-chip bouquets, and I believe our good friend Josiah was the officiant. The service did not end with any kissing?that would have been gross.

We hugged instead, which was apparently against the rules because as soon as we went inside Steph and I were cornered in the hall by the teacher who had been on recess duty.

This was one of the more traumatic moments in my life: As the teacher loomed over us, her hands against the wall, I tried desperately to melt into the cinder blocks behind me. We were scolded for a reason that was never totally clear and then released back to class, both embarrassed and slightly miffed that Ben and Ashley hadn?t shared the same fate.

Steph and I grew apart after that. But looking back, I?m not sure why. Maybe the hallway reprimand drove a dagger into our love.

Though, now that I think about it, I also failed to send her a mylar balloon that next Valentine?s Day.