Boogers and Boys

Brandon was a slightly slumpish kid in my second grade class. My autocorrect is telling me that slumpish is not a word and I am telling you that there is no other word to exist to describe this kid so perfectly. So forget autocorrect.

Brandon had heavy eye bags at the age of 7. He wore shorts that sagged to the ground in a way I am still trying to comprehend and plain colored tees with a white tee underneath. I knew this much because the white poked out vividly and he sat very close to me. So close to me in fact that my desk would rattle every time he sat in his. Our desks were gathered in groups of four and he was my neighbor. I grew to know Brandon very well. I knew that his coloring skills were far from those of Victoria who colored like a queen according to the teacher. He hung out with the boys that disrupted things and when no one was looking, or so he thought, he would pick his nose. But I watched him. I would watch him dig deep to find whatever he was looking for, whatever was making his nose itch. Once he had collected the good(s), he would dispose of it in two ways. It would either become a settler in the land of boogers he had colonized under his desk, or it would simply be a mid-morning snack to hold Brandon over until lunch time. Either way, Brandon was fascinating. Boogers or not.

I sometimes like to think of what Brandon is up to today. Did I ever bother him? Did I do things that caught his eye. I will never know for sure but I am sure I can assume that I did. I still wonder how long the nose picking lasted. Did he grow out of it like a normal person or did he keep it up as a nervous habit like some?

It wasn’t until years later when I realized that I had this same nervous habit. It started out small but my parents had no problem shedding light on it.

“Why do you scrunch your nose so much?”

Well, I don’t know maybe because I have boogers that need to be picked but society won’t let me. So now I scrunch and scrunch to move them all about until I reach a level of comfort in where my face and my mind can both relax.

It was in high school though that I started to not give a shit about it at all. If it bothered me, I stuck my finger in my nose and grabbed whatever it was. It became a running gag that this was my thing. I even passed it on as a gift to a team member from the class below me as I was parting ways with high school.

I ashley, gift the Stephanie the superb right and ability to pick your nose daily. If no one calls you out, then you’re doing it all wrong!

I hope she lived up to the expectation.

College was no different and my ex-boyfriend can testify. I always wondered how and why he was attracted to a person who had their finger planted up their nose at least five times an hour. You thought I was going to say day. But no it was an hour. I started to realize that I would have my finger on my nose even when there was nothing there. I would fidget with my nostrils and tap the top in an instant if I didn’t feel comfortable. I wanted to prevent any and all embarrassment so I would touch and touch my nose to distract the other person just in case I had one running lose.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when this system failed me completely. I was out with friends — talking and dancing and drinking ever so confidently. I was with a girlfriend the majority of the night so I can’t entirely blame her for not saving me as for the fact that she and I were drunk off our asses and my face was not one figure in her eyes but probably two. We had made our way out to the patio and up to a group when a guy grabbed me. He swung me around so fast and before I knew it, he was wiping a booger off of my nose before the rest of the world could see it. Once done, I asked him to marry me and told him that I loved him. We haven’t spoken since.

But for the first time in a long time I began to think about Brandon and the kind of man he grew up to be. I started to think about how he would just come in, sit down at his desk, and pick away. He was well aware of the crowd and that there was one girl watching him always. But he didn’t care. In that moment, I wondered if Brandon were here, what would he have done? Picked my booger, or pick his own.

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