Her name was Christina Jimenez. She was my 5th grade crush. Having just come from the Philippines, I was new to American public schools, but she was one of the first smiling faces that lit up my day.

When a door needed opened, I opened it for her. When I saw that she needed to sit down, I found her a chair. She always thanked me, and never thought I was creepy. It had to have been obvious I had a thing for her. Well, in 5th grade terms.

I don’t remember much about her except that 5th grade beauty: Long flowing hair, a beautiful smile, and velvet skin.

I overheard her on the playground once talking about me. “Ron is a great person.” My heart lifted.

When 5th grade ended, I was well on my way to middle-school. This time it would be 6th grade, a new school, lockers, and a different classroom for every period. It took a lot of adjusting for me and I never really got into the groove of things.

When I saw Christina again in sixth grade, she was totally different. She dressed like a gang member. She was rude to me. She wasn’t the angel I remembered.

So one day she and a couple of classmates were making fun of me. I called her out on it. “Christina, you defended me all of 5th grade. Why did you change? You were a sweet person.”

She was silent. The classmates egged her on, “Slap him! Slap him!” So she did. I immediately got my stuff, walked out of the classroom, and cried all the way home.

Perhaps it was wrong for me to call her out on something, but I felt totally alone that day. My brother couldn’t understand why I was so depressed.

I didn’t see much of Christina after that. But she will always be my 5th grade crush and my first rejection.