Brian Huff And My Break-Dancing Butterflies

28 May

I can’t remember how my older sister Sarah and I got on the subject of Brian Huff the other day–a gorgeous black kid that moved into town and became Sarah’s classmate in 7th grade.  I think we were talking about her old friend Audrey who had finally joined Facebook.  Audrey and Brian were “an item” back then, and I was jealous because, well, even though I was two years younger than him, whenever I looked at Brian, my insides got all tingly and butterflies did cartwheels in my stomach.  No.  Actually the butterflies were break-dancing in my stomach, and this was like five years before break-dancing was even invented.

In honor of Brian,  I dug up an essay I wrote upon the passing of Michael Jackson, Remembering Michael Jackson.  The essay contains a section on Brian, one of a string of black boys I chased after as a young girl, perhaps trying to find my own Michael Jackson, who also gave me those break-dancing butterflies.

Here’s the excerpt:

In the fifth grade, I had a major crush on the new boy in Sarah’s seventh grade class, Brian Huff. Brian had the same skin color as young Michael Jackson, but his afro was more square, and his eyes more almond-shaped than the roundness of Michael’s. I didn’t know if he could dance or sing, but that didn’t matter because he was super handsome. He was a friend of Sarah’s, so I knew he was a nice guy, too. I shamelessly, obviously mooned over Brian whenever he and Sarah and their group of friends were over our house, to the point of annoyance I’m sure, because one day Brian turned the tables on me.

I was dressed that morning to avoid gym class and to get noticed by Brian. I had on my blue and yellow polka-dot and floral maxi-dress. The one with the tie-sash  right where my waist-length hair brushed against it’s bow. I fancied myself more cool than looking like I stepped out of a Little House on the Prairie episode, especially with the patent leather white Mary Jane’s I sported.

As I walked down the steps of the school to get to the playground, I paused at the landing because I spotted Brian right in front of me talking to a friend of his.

“Hi, Brian,” I mustered with a goofy grin, glad that he got to see me in the maxi dress.

Brian turned and gave me an even wider grin. He walked toward me and wasn’t stopping. I backed myself against the brick wall of the school. Brian leaned his left arm right above my shoulder and leaned forward. I was just sure his afro would have brushed my forehead had I been four or five inches taller.

“So, Wendy, how are you doing?” he grinned, looking straight into my eyes.

I stared back for an instant, then immediately looked down at the buttons lining Brian’s shirt, at my Mary Jane’s, at anything but into his eyes.   I could feel the knot of the bow pressing into my back, the brick scraping my elbows, as I tried to disappear into the wall. Any words of reply that I could have uttered were stuck at the back of my throat.

After all my obvious tries at flirting and calls for attention, now that Brian was literally in my face, I didn’t have the courage to go any further. He was too old for me and I knew that. Brian Huff had called my bluff. After that day, I retreated, and never showed any signs of affection for him again.

I don’t know whatever happened to Brian Huff.   I think his family may have moved out of Waterbury when we were in high school, and once I finished high school, I never lived in town again.  And, yes, I will admit that today while writing this post, I Facebook searched him, but all that came up were white Brian Huffs.  However, there was one listed with the fb avatar and no other public postings, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where I now live…hmmmm, maybe I need to dig out that maxi dress and get up my decades older gumption.


6 Responses to “Brian Huff And My Break-Dancing Butterflies”

  1. Sarah May 29, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    Now wouldn’t that be something if “the” Brian Huff ended up in Providence! Wouldn’t have to keep going back to Waterbury…

    • Wendy Jane May 29, 2013 at 7:35 am #

      yup:) better dust off that maxi dress and those Mary Jane’s. Thanks for the memory, sister!

  2. karen kidd June 3, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Lol. Brian Huff, sounds like a STUD! Great read, as always, Wendy!! That maxi dress almost got you in trouble, eh?

    • Wendy Jane June 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      He was so dreamy, Karen! Thanks for your feedback–that dress got me out of gym class, but yes, into some trouble:)

  3. Sherry Gordon June 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,
    Hi, there, Wendy Jane! What a beautiful and wonderful blog post article this is of yours, as well as your other spectacular ones! I think as a black lesbian woman who I am that it was and continues to be wonderful that you love and are attracted to black men, but also that you love us as all black people in general and black culture! I think your love is so, so very precious and special! I bet you were looking good then in your lovely and fantastic attire! Did you every find out if the Brian Huff in Providence, Rhode Island was the same young man you had a crush on back then? Wouldn’t it be cool if he is the same person?

    I can think of so, so many thoughts which I have as a black lesbian woman who does and has always loved white women as people and inside, and also who is very, very much attracted to white women and exclusively prefers white women. I think, too, of my older brothers like when they were teenagers and in their adult lives when I last was in contact with them (no contact with my family since my twenties to keep me safe-grew up abused in every way with severe family dysfunction and they rejected me because I am a lesbian)-my older brothers would very often have interracial relationships with white women and I very often would get crushes on their white girlfriends! I would be so jealous of my older brothers! My parents were not happy about my brothers’ interracial relationships with white women, and our parents were very hateful, bigoted, and prejudicial. My mother was not happy with me either because even when she didn’t realize I was a lesbian she disliked that I had so many friends who were white girls in school growing up, and white women as friends as I became an adult. As my parents as I got older before I came out to them and definitely confirmed that I am a lesbian, they had the same issues with me as they did with my two older brothers because they sensed that I yearned for an interracial lesbian relationship with a white woman, and that I loved and cared for white women as people and their great goodness inside, and that I was and still am and will for always be intensely attracted to white women. I grew up as well as my two older brothers being warned about white women, and hearing such hateful and vile things our parents would say about white women in such a heinous and evil manner. I am so, so glad that I followed my heart and didn’t listen to the very mean and cruel things my parents and other relatives would say against white women! I am so glad that I followed my heart and my own path, and that I didn’t follow in my family’s footsteps, and didn’t follow my parents’ and other relatives’ examples as they had such hateful thoughts and views on white women!

    Oh, Wendy Jane, I could go on and on! I feel so intensely about all of this! I am so blessed to have you and your wonderful and very fine, cool, and excellent website to share my views on! I am so, so glad that I am being more open and even more out of the closet! Wendy Jane, you are such a gift and such a blessing! I just cherish how you love us as black people and care for us so, so very tenderly and for black culture! It just means so, so very much to me! I am going to go through even more of your very wondrously marvelous archives, my white sister and friend who you are, Wendy Jane! I enjoy your writings a whole bunch!

    You please have a very nice, special, and a very blessed day, my white sisterfriend who you are, Wendy Jane!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely Always,
    Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane June 22, 2014 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Sherry,

      Thanks so much for sharing your and your brothers’ experiences with interracial relationships. Wow, you had to be so strong, and have such love in your heart to not be influenced by what you say were your parents racist views toward white people, and white women, in particular. That’s too bad that she didn’t like you having white friends–and I think I remember you saying when you were growing up, that there were many more white people in your classes than black, so that it would be natural for you to make friends with white girls, too.

      I have also heard from other friends that their parents warned their black sons about white girl, and yet not coming from a place of their own racism, but for fear of how even looking at a white woman, had gotten black men, including Emmett Till, killed. I know you say that your parents’ warnings seemed to have come from a hatred towards white people.

      Thank you again, Sherry, for being so open about your experiences growing up. I hope readers here are taking the time to read your comments, and learn and grow from them.

      Wendy Jane

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