Spit Bubbles and Paste

Blowing spit bubbles and eating paste. Those were the things that attracted me to Brian, my first crush, the love of my dreams. What? Not discerning enough, you say? I certainly thought it was enough, enough to assure me he would be the perfect husband and future father of my children. That is, until I met Mario Lozano in high school who never failed to amaze me with the size of his crotch stuffed into very tight jeans as he made his way down the corridors at lunch hour. But I digress.

I met Brian in Grade 3. He sat behind me in class. Olive-skinned, dark-haired, extremely handsome, and smart. He would also stick straight pins through his skin, AND...AND...he would blow these amazing bubbles with his saliva. And he ate paste. All the qualifications I required in a man.

Lots of kids did the pin-through-the-skin trick, but Brian went that much farther. He would stick numerous pins through each finger, and then leave them there while he did his schoolwork. How cool is that?! He would also drum his fingers on his wooden desk, making a click-clack sound like a tap dancer on stage, which surprisingly did not irritate me, it just made him that much more attractive to me. That and the fact that he was very quiet and introspective most of the time, like a male Mona Lisa. Come to think of it, he even looked a lot like Mona Lisa, except with short hair and a sweater vest.

Back when I was in grade school, we made our paste from flour and water. None of this bottled Elmer's glue stuff for us. The teacher would ask certain kids in the class to go to the back of the classroom and mix up a bowl of flour and water because it was CRAFT TIME! and today we are going to make a really fun paper craft with some faded construction paper, crayons, dull scissors, pipe cleaners and PASTE! What excitement would rumble through the rows of children as we sat there with bated breath, gagging with the anticipation of putting paste to paper and pipe cleaners and PASTE! OMIGOD! The paste! The lumpier the better.

No one was more excited about the paste than Brian, which is what made me notice him in the first place. He would get this glazed look in his eyes, like he was entering the gates of Disney World for the first time ever, and his jaw would go kind of slacklike, as if he were in a trance, a hypnotized state of absolute ecstatic joy at the prospect of having a bowl of paste set before him. It was mesmerizing to watch.

I remember the first time I shared a bowl of paste with Brian. I was in heaven. I was finally going to be face-to-face with He Who Honoured The Paste. Not only that, but he wore these sweater vests that turned me on. So here we are, sharing a bowl of white lumpy paste, scraps of construction paper on our desks. I try not to stare at him because that would be too obvious. So, instead, I steal quick side glances his way in-between having to turn and face him so that I can scoop up some of the heavenly paste on my brush in order to place it on my paper so that I could glue another piece of paper on to it. It was during one of those moments when I turned to fully face Brian that I realized why he acted the way he did when confronted with the thought of paste. There he was, nonchalantly dipping his fingers into the bowl of paste and then slowly, with full concentration, brows knitted, bringing the fingers up to his mouth, and then slowly -- verrry verrry sloooowly -- sucking the paste off his fingers and swallowing it.

I must have stood there aghast, with my mouth wide open, as I watched him. I didn't even know you could eat this stuff, let alone figure out WHY you would want to. But I was curious, and thought Brian was pretty damn cool to have figured this out, and to have the courage to do it on his own in full view of a fellow classmate.

He saw me watching him intently, and I guess the look on my face made him feel like he needed to explain. So, he did. "Try it," he said. "It's really really good. It kind of tastes like bread." And with that, he scooped up another fingerful of the lumpy, porridge-like mass and shoveled it into his maw. I wanted to be as daring as Brian, as amazing and courageous as this boy with the sweater vest and Mona Lisa face.

But I couldn't. Alas, in the end, I could not bring myself to eat the paste. Paste wasn't for eating. It was for gluing little pieces of paper together with other pieces of paper and pipe cleaners so that you could bring it home and show your parents and prove to them that you did something extremely useful at school. I myself could not eat the paste, which made me even that much more in awe of Brian.

What broke the gaga I had over Brian was the day I thought I would impress him with my talent of blowing bubbles with my saliva. Yes, that's right. I had seen Brian do it once in the corner at the back of the classroom one day while he was stirring up a bowl of -- yes -- paste, and so I thought if I could show him that I could at least do THAT, blow a bubble with my spit, I would finally get his attention and he would be MINEMINEMINE! So, I did it. I gathered enough saliva in my mouth to drown out a five-alarm fire on a rickety wooden structure and I turned to face Brian, who was deep in thought with pasty fingers in his mouth, and I blew a bubble. And what a bubble it was. It was amazing. I stood there with this large, wet saliva bubble hanging out of my mouth, waiting for Brian to gaze at me and realize I was the most amazing girl he had ever met in his whole entire eight years of life. And finally, Brian came out of his pasty trance and looked up at me, and I waited, bubble gently bobbing on my lips, waited for his words of love.

And he said, "Pig," dipped his fingers back into the paste bowl, and ignored me for the rest of the school year.

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