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Close Encounters of the Embarrassing Kind
One of my first crushes was a guy I knew from church, Jeff Bloomingdale. The other girls from church were attracted to the tall, boyish, self-important jock-types. Jeff was regular looking, average height, but unabashedly self-aware without seeming pompous. As far as I knew, no one else liked him like I did. As far as Jeff ever knew, I never liked him.

The summer I turned 12, I went to Girls Camp with my church. I was at that crazy-awkward stage that no one can escape. You know the one -- where you are new to the concept of deodorant, and your body is going through all of those physical changes that make you uncomfortable 100% of the time. A klutz since birth, this exciting time of my life was filled with even more awkward moments -- tripping over my own feet, running into things, trying to be ladylike, but forgetting.

Camp was pretty fun. It also introduced me to something I had never dealt with before: pimples. I was the oldest in my family, so I didn't know what to do about them; when to pop, how to wash, and why they appeared. Being confined to tents for six days in a row without showers provided the perfect environment for zit growth. I was already hopelessly embarrassed about being 12; I could not bear to ask some strange girls about my new pus-filled phenomenon.

I developed a giant white one that was rather magnificent; it planted itself squarely in the middle of my forehead, and was slightly smaller than a dime. I was highly superstitious of popping, and had heard somewhere that you shouldn't do it. What I called "my second nose" was so ready for popping that probably the smallest amount of pressure would have caused it to explode by the end of camp.

After the drive back into civilization, my carload of girls arrived at one of our camp leader's houses. Coincidentally, Jeff's mom was a camp leader, and I ended up at his house. As I waited for my mom, he chatted with me. I was embarrassingly aware of my second nose. My mom rang the doorbell, and I started to gather my things.

Jeff was a gentleman, so he offered to help me out and followed me to the front door with my sleeping bag in his arms. My mom was just outside the front door, and greeted me in a very unexpected way.

All of her attention was focused on the white monstrosity in the middle of my forehead. "Kim! Hold still!" she said gleefully as she made an advance to eliminate the pimple.

I tried to dodge her attempts, but dodging was hard with my arms full of camping supplies. I mistakenly thought that she would get the point. I was the most embarrassed I had ever been in my life when it got even worse. (Remember that my super-secret crush was mere inches behind me, and privy to the entire encounter.)

"Kim! Wait!" Mom said, refusing to give up. "It's so ready! It will only take a second for me to pop..."

"Mom! Stop!" I cried, fighting her off. But it was too late. Jeff saw my mom pop my margaton zit on the porch of his house.

I was beyond embarrassment at that point. There isn't a strong enough word to describe my utter mortification. I rushed to the car with my things, my limbs shaking. Without saying anything else, I jumped in the car.

Mom started the ignition, completely oblivious. "So, how was camp?"

I pretended like the event never happened as I answered her questions. I was never able to look Jeff Bloomingdale in the eye again.