Ode to Avi

There was a boy in my first grade class who had a pretty big crush on me. His name was Avi.

I did not return his affections.

Poor, sweet Avi. I don't remember much about him, just that he was short with dark hair and bright eyes and this pathetic smile that gave him away every time he was near me. (Lest you think I'm full of myself for relaying this story, rest assured that Avi ended up being the only boy to have a crush on me for, like, the next 10 years.) I remember that I wasn't all that kind to him, given the fact that I was a shy girl who shunned the limelight and hated how he made me stand out. "Avi likes you" my little friend said one day, and instead of being flattered I was mortified.

But Avi was undeterred by my disinterest. He invited me to his birthday party and my mother made me go, though I protested mightily. I was terrified that my acceptance of his invitation would be seen as a sign that I had feelings for him. (No matter that my entire class was probably invited to the party as well.)

Avi never seemed to waver in his love for me. Time after time he'd smile gawkily (yeah, it's a word, I looked it up) at me and I would muster my best bored look and turn away. He must have had an unending supply of optimism, or a very bad memory. Either way, eventually the school year ended and, with it, his attempts to woo me.

Years later I was in an enrichment course at the local college and one of my fellow students was Avi's older brother. When I said my name as introduction to the rest of the class, Avi's bro gave me a cold hard stare and said "I know who you are." It wasn't until that moment that I thought my unfeeling attitude toward little Avi may have crushed him. He never seemed hurt. But that day, I felt ashamed.

Anyway, I hadn't thought of Avi or that sappy "Groundhog Day" smile until my son started crawling a couple weeks ago. Because he is now able to properly show the cat his affections by chasing her all over the house. He is utterly enamored with her, and she wants nothing to do with him.

It's sad, really. Whenever Laney comes into view, the rest of Kostyn's world disappears. His entire face lights up and he flashes this over-the-top happy smile — first at the cat, then at me, then back at the cat. His attention is stolen from whatever toy, parent or spoonful of food had him occupied just moments before. He immediately sets off in the cat's direction, gleeful, giggling, sure of himself. It's as if he doesn't remember the 1,000 times before this one, when he did the same thing, only to be greeted with a bored look and a hasty retreat. She never gives him even a patronizing swish of her tail.

And every time she dodges him without a second glance, and he's left sitting in the middle of the now-empty hallway/doorway/kitchen, rejected, his smile slowly fading, I feel a little bad for him.

And I feel a little bad for Avi, too.

9 comments:

Sheila said...

First of all, and you know I wasn't going to let you get away with this, you had about a dozen more Avis who vied for your attention well beyond the first grade. I know this because they all came to ME to tell me how in love they were with you. Second, I didn't know Kostyn was crawling. I'm smiling ear to ear just thinking about it.

Tara said...

Poor Kostyn. Poor Gracie, for the same thing happens to her. It's like she thinks, "Ah! The cat changed his mind, and he's come to play!" and then the cat skedaddles. I bet every baby with a cat at home has the same experience.

Robyn said...

I need to post some video of the crawling! It's adorable. He's also (finally) starting to babble, and his favorite word is "blah." "Blah blah blah blah," spoken loud and clear to whatever toy, pet, piece of fuzz or invisible angel is nearby. It's music to my ears.

Kim said...

Yeah Sheila, I didn't buy the 10-year dearth of male attention either...

In case you're wondering, the cat fascination won't go away anytime soon. They just get faster and better at cornering the furry felines. Lucky for us, we have two very laid back cats. They're used as pillows quite often.

Heather said...

What kind of name is Avi? German?

Mainegirl/Pauline said...

BTW I think you know that we are doing an ongoing thread on BC for our bloggers. If you'd like to be included in a siggy we are asking that you email Anelys with a picture of you the mom and the names of the los with their birthdate, thanks!!

Audreee said...

Awww..so sad. My boy has an obsession with our dogs. Sometimes I bribe them to stay near him, so that he will be happy. Cats are a little harder to trick, though.

Carol said...

I love this post! You're such a great storyteller, Robyn. I love the name Avi, too. Do you know if it was short for something?

Robyn said...

Thanks, Carol! I don't know if Avi was short for anything. He was Jewish, so I'm guessing it was an ethnic name of some kind. His older bro had an unusual name, too, but I can't remember it now.