Stories We Tell

A Fictional Series

The story of my first crush is a little weird. I was twelve, and about as wild as they come. Not in a bad way, really. I just had this boundless energy that drove people nuts. I’ve always had it, even when I was a small child. 

My parents love to tell me about the crazy things that I did, stories that I can’t recollect because I was too young to remember. My favorite is the time that my dad took me to the grocery store and I managed to escape ‘shopping cart prison’. 

You know… where you sit in the front of the cart, staring at your parent with your legs dangling between a bar, and then they buckle you in with a strap that has been thoughtfully installed in the cart. What an ingenious invention that was. 

I don’t know if my dad forgot to buckle me in, or if I was just a young Houdini, but I got out when he wasn’t looking and climbed on top of the orange display. 

God only knows what I was thinking, but oranges have always been one of my favorite fruits, so… heck, maybe I just wanted an orange. It’s also possible that I wanted to pay some sort of homage to them. I had a strange habit of talking to my food, and telling it how much I loved it – or hated it. And I adored oranges.

That event was like a precursor to my life – I love to climb. It started with the orange table, and then it was stairs, ladders, rocks, mountains… you name it. Just give me something to climb, and I am there.

Eventually, my mom and dad enrolled me in rock climbing school. Maybe they figured that if they couldn’t keep me grounded, they could at least keep me safe while I was climbing. 

My crush began the minute I saw Ben standing at the foot of the rock wall. He was striking. His beige knee length shorts contrasted his tanned skin, and his khaki green t-shirt complimented his mysterious hazel eyes.

What makes the story strange is that Aunt Dizzy and Uncle David had just taken in their first foster child, and they thought it would be fun to enroll him at the same time – so the two of us could get to know each other. 

The boy they were fostering turned out to be much older than what they had imagined and, as luck would have it, he was twelve – the same age as me. When they called Ben over to introduce us, I felt like I was going to throw up. 

All I could think was that he was my aunt and uncle’s foster child… So did that make him my cousin? To make matters worse, Aunt Dizzy wasn’t just my dad’s sister, she was also my mother’s best friend. So, the whole thing wasn’t just weird, it was a recipe for disaster.

The crush was short lived, only because I hated the weirdness of it, but the two of us became pretty close. Ben was an excellent climber. He had this calm about him that made everything he did look easy. Maybe it was because he took his time and made calculated moves. 

I, on the other hand, did everything at mach speed. I landed myself in some sticky situations because of my inability to think things through and plan ahead. We were total opposites, but in a good way. He showed me how to slow down, and my energy pumped him up.

Sadly, Ben had to leave my aunt and uncle’s care rather abruptly because his long lost father came onto the scene and filed for custody. It was great for Ben, of course, but sad for me. And for my aunt and uncle.

For a while, all I could focus on was the sadness and loss. I missed my friend – my awkward first ‘crush for a day’ – and I moped around the entire summer. 

A couple of years later, I noticed that I was moving slower. Not at a snail’s pace – as that will probably never happen – but I wasn’t traveling at Mach speed anymore. I thought things through, and planned out my moves – and not just in my climbing, but in life in general. 

When I thought about it, I was reminded of Ben. I realized that, although he was only around for a short amount of time, he had impacted my life in a very big way. I think that’s when I finally figured out that Ben wasn’t really gone, because a part of him was still with me.

A Note From Me

First of all, I have to give a big shout out to my dear friend Gil who told me today that he keeps up with how I’m doing by reading my end notes. How cool is that?

What’s even more interesting is that I started writing this story yesterday, but it took on a whole new meaning (and twist) today because it reminded me of our relationship, to a certain degree.

While I rarely see Gil, we still text on occasion and – as the story goes – a part of him is always with me. The guidance, the advice, the patience, and the brotherly love will always remain. Love you Gil!

The other thing that I thought was fun was the title I decided on… “Breadcrumbs.” In the internet world, breadcrumbs are a visual aid that tell the viewer where they are on a site, and how they got there (for anyone who doesn’t know this).

I read today that the term came about from the story of Hansel and Gretel, who left a trail of bread crumbs so that they could find their way back through the forest. So… bread crumbs are a navigational tool.

I also see it as a representation of the fact that people leave you with these bread crumbs – little pieces of themselves – and, over the course of your life, you’ve got enough bread crumbs to make up a whole lot of full course meals.

Figuratively speaking, you’ll never go hungry because you’ve got all of these bread crumbs with you. I think that’s what my story says today, and it’s an important thing to remember in life… especially when you are feeling a little down or alone (raises hand).

Lastly, I’m enjoying this story… but I really want to start a new one. I’ll still add to this one, now and then as ideas come up, but tomorrow I’m going to work on something new and refreshing to add to the perspectives idea.

I think that’s about it. I used an image from a free site (credit below) because illustrating bread crumbs just didn’t sound like fun – haha!

Anyway, thank you for reading… I hope you enjoyed!

Word of the Day Challenge: Striking

Image by MARION from Pixabay


  1. I LOVED ALL of it. Not sure if I can find the words to describe why…I like that maybe we can have a positive impact on people, even if we only know them briefly. And I didn’t know about breadcrumbs being a navigating term–but love that if we gather enough of them we’ll never go hungry. Plus, I LOVE “Breadcrumbs” as the title. So I give this a 5-Star BRAVO!! PS: you are sweet breadcrumbs in my life!!🥐💖🥐

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    1. Awwww thank you Z! I thought of you as well… you’re one of my sourdough bread crumbs and sourdough is my favorite! ❤️❤️😘😘 Glad you loved it too.

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  2. I need a “Love” button here!! Will you eventually create a story with everyone you’ve developed here? All these characters have become so real for me! This may sound weird but through your writing, you are becoming more real to me! It’s like you’re right there- in the same room with me and we’re having a conversation….
    And yes, it’s so cool that Gil is tuned in to you in that way- so important to have at least one friend who “sees” you….. you are such a beacon of light, Janet. Thank you!💜

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth! ❤️❤️ Honestly I’m not sure where I’ll go with them lol! But you’ve given me an idea so we’ll see. It’s interesting to think what happens when they’re all together haha! Anyway thank you for the great compliment. Much love to you ❤️❤️❤️

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