Gary Rinsem

Cindy Crush

by Gary Rinsem

Written 1993
Edits 2020

"The arrow of time obscures memory of both past and future circumstance with innumerable fallacies, the least trivial of which is perception.”
Ashim Shanker

Hi Cindy,

It makes me happy to think of you reading this. It's long, so get comfortable. Music sets the mood and this needs a psychedelic mindset. Crank the volume before playing the song.

  • White Rabbit

With very few kids at the stable, any who appeared got my instant attention. This day there was a group of five or six on foot and one mounted. I vaguely knew Don, he lived across Pima Rd and kept his horse at home. Lonely as hell, he often rode through the stable looking for a riding partner, on his way out to the desert. We'd ridden together at least once.

I rode up to their group standing in one of the barns, and listened to the conversation. They were all a couple years younger, but not the old ladies who filled the stable so their age was fine by me. Not caring that I was uninvited, I listened long enough to notice something I thought odd. It wasn't odd, I'd simply never noticed it before. One girl was having fun gently manipulating the conversation. I think nothing about it mattered to her except the fun she could have controlling thoughts of the other kids. It was beautiful. She was subtle and very skilled. I needed to know this mind. She became my first Intellectual crush in September of 1973, beginning of my freshman year of high school. She had just begun seventh grade.

I'd lost a girl once, she got away without me knowing her name and I swore I'd never let it happen again. Sitting next to her on my horse I was consumed by thoughts of this girl getting away. I listened and waited for the right moment before speaking. Their conversation was over, talk turned to leaving and my presence had not even been acknowledged. Panicked at the thought of her getting away, I quietly asked her name. She only said "Cindy." Not enough. I asked and couldn't understand her last name. Very trusting, she spelled it for me without a second thought. They all left together for some big Saturday morning adventure. I went to the stable office and asked for pen and paper, worried about forgetting her name.

School came on Monday and I took every chance to ask girls I knew about Cindy. It took until lunch time before anyone could answer my request. Three girls in line at the school snack bar were asked. One smiled a bit, then snickered, then laughed. She said I knew her sister Stacy. We were in the same classes. The three girls laughed when she said Stacy's little sister Cindy was a seventh grader Word spread, I was teased endlessly for weeks about having a crush on a seventh grader. It was nine years before mentioning it again, on the day BB and I fell in love. I never told anyone else until now.

My first Intellectual crush is strong after forty-seven years. I still have the desire to know that mind as completely as possible. Many times I've searched for Cindy and finally stumbled across her in July 2020. By chance I found her sister Denise's last name on a high school yearbook site. Denise's Facebook profile popped up quickly enough with Cindy's profile linked to it. There she was, a happy and unexpected occurrence.

Within moments I went from decades of wondering about Cindy, not even knowing if she was still alive, to knowing a great deal about her life. Even pictures of her and husband and grand children. I can't decide to contact her, or not to contact her. Too important in my life for all the years since I was fourteen. I don't want to risk an unwelcomed, cold or unpleasant encounter that could damage the memories. Cindy was a fun, open, caring, sensitive, intelligent girl who became a woman when I knew her in the 70s and early 80s. No telling who she is now, but I surely need to know if that girl lives in the grandmother. The body ended up in Florida long ago, is the mind of my crush still in it I fear I'll never know.

You got the beginning and the end of my Cindy crush. Time now for the middle. It's my story, I'll tell it how I like.

Being teased as a "cradle robber" by girls, my crush became a secret. Anyway, there was no love or lust aspect to the crush, not at first. Failing to understand it and certainly unable to explain, my crush was a secret that embarrassed me for years. Embarrassment stopped with eventually understanding it, when I was able to give it a name.

I discovered where she lived. It was a main street so everyone passed her house regularly. I began taking a slightly longer bike ride to and from school, hoping to one day innocently run into Cindy. It never happened.

Once in a while I saw Cindy around the neighborhood. Each time my reaction was slightly more pronounced. One time passing her on the sidewalk was a traumatic event filled with indecision. I couldn't decide to stop and couldn't decide to go. My feet stopped pedaling. The bike slowed. I nearly fell over before snapping out of it and riding away.

Months more passed. There were some casual encounters including a shared greeting in Basha's grocery store. I didn't think she recognized me, just politely returned my hello.

Cindy and Don and a group of kids were at the stable. I think it was the location, my turf allowed me to deal with the crush more gracefully. Similar to the first time, I quietly invaded their group.

The conversation intrigued me. I don't remember exactly how, a bet or a dare perhaps, but one boy was charged with performing oral sex on one of the girls. I'll spare the details, but it resulted in the boy spitting up bits of vomit as he repeatedly mumbled the word "anchovies." We all got the message. She had a hygiene issue.

That girl bravely held back tears amid horrific abuse. My empathy was sky high, but I couldn't stop her friends. Along with laughter and bullying they discussed anchovies. Only one use for them was known, they were on a Caesar salad. The girl was given the nickname Caesar. Thirty years later I had a vivid flashback of this memory. It began an important odyssey. That's a memory for another day. I've wondered about Caesar for decades. I'd really like to know if the event had a lasting impact on her life. It did mine. A question about Caesar tops my list if I ever talk to Cindy again. Maybe I'll explain later in this story.

Two years passed between meeting Cindy and having the first conversation with her. There were accidental encounters around the neighborhood, but none significant enough for her to even notice. One was traumatic for me, but that's a minor part of another memory.

I fell madly in love. We'd been together a short time when I picked Tami up at her house one Saturday morning. There was a big plan for the day, but I don't recall what it was. She asked to include her best friend. All our time was spent alone together, I didn't know Tami had friends. I followed her driving instructions and panicked when Tami pointed, telling me "Cindy lives there. Park and I'll get her."

Uncontrolled, my mind kept screaming "NO" as forcefully as it could. I couldn't have Cindy in my car, the crush was overwhelming when around her. There was no choice. No way out. I sat paralyzed with indecision as Tami rushed up the driveway and rang the bell.

The door opened and Cindy appeared. Excitedly talking, the pair approached until my passenger door opened. Bent over next to each other, Cindy was introduced and showed no sign of recognizing me, to my relief. My mind in chaos as they got in the car, Cindy in the back seat, I was too overwhelmed by her to drive the car. I started them talking to stall for a solution.

While hiding my distress I was beyond happy with the prospect of starting a friendship, with my crush and my love's best friend. The thought calmed my mind and the three of us had a nice talk before driving off. My Cindy crush stopped causing me problems beginning with that meeting. My crush was more satisfied each time we spent time together. I came to care for Cindy as a trusted friend.

I have fond memories of her, special bonding moments and fun times. There were embarrassing secrets she shared in a long intimate conversation with Tami and I. Likely she doesn't recall, it would be amazing to get her reaction at hearing me repeat some of them. I couldn't do it, too intimate.

My Cindy highlights include lunches at school where we hung out in my car with other kids. A drunken New Years eve 1975 and a keg party in 78, both times Tami and Cindy barfed on my car together. I had to deliver them home, too drunk to see straight, and hear their father's complaints. There was also the only time in my life when I smoked enough pot to feel the effect. I didn't like it. We went camping near Wickenburg and to a big drunken boondocker in the desert near Scottsdale airport, now almost central Scottsdale. Another memory took place after closing, sitting on the steps at McDonalds. It would be fantastic to hear if she has any memories to share.

One Cindy memory has stuck in my mind because it's an unsolved mystery, a secret they wouldn't share, they just needed my help. It bugs me and I'd love to get the secret from either of them, to end my speculation about that day long ago.

I'd seen Cindy hanging out in her front yard for over five years when Tami and I separated, for two years before meeting Tami. Cindy usually had a group of kids with her, talking in the grass, but she also sat alone. Tami and I often stopped and joined them. After Tami it took time for me to be comfortable stopping, but it was my only chance to see Cindy.

For three years after Tami, I stopped each time Cindy was in the yard. After she was out of high school I knew she wouldn't live with her parents forever. The final year I cried each time as I drove away, fearing I'd just seen her for the last time. One day it was true, the last time. I would trade anything to have known. It would mean a great deal to me to have said goodbye and wished her a happy life, then hugged her before driving away.

I had a ferret named Cleo who went everywhere with me. I stopped to see Cindy when Cleo jumped down, ran up Cindy's leg, under her shirt and bit her boob. The little rat didn't bite hard, she just thought it was funny to hear people yell.

Near the last time we saw each other, I spent the visit with my mind in turmoil over it possibly being the last time. I couldn't take it. I broke the promise made to myself, that I wouldn't do anything to give her the impression I had romantic intentions. Desperate for a final happy memory of time with her, I asked Cindy out on a date. So much had happened in three years since high school, my life had changed and wasn't going well. Memories with her seemed ancient and I wanted a new one to be our last.

I expected her to say no, but Cindy seemed exited by my invitation. I didn't know then and I don't know now what to think of her reaction. I immediately suspected she had feelings for me and worried about hurting her.

I remember picking her up for our date, but the memory jumps to the end. No clue what we did on a date that was planned to be a nice last memory with Cindy. Instead, I've been cursed all these years with the memory of a mistake we made at the end of that date. I hate it, I regret it.

I suspected the last time was the last time, it had been too long without seeing Cindy. I rang the bell and Stacy answered. She recognized me immediately and greeted using my name. Stacy seemed to know me, I was surprised. She said Cindy and Joe both enlisted in the Navy. Cindy was degaussing ships in San Diego and Joe was on the USS Tarawa. I still refused to believe I'd never see Cindy again. I simply walked away ignoring the implication of what Stacy told me. It took years to sink in.

They didn't know, but Cindy, Joe and Stacy had just saved me from a sad future. I didn't know either, for six months. I'd been fighting life for four years since Tami. I had taken extraordinary measures to deserve an opportunity, to get a chance at a career. I was denied and hopelessly looking at decades of low pay in miserable jobs.

Cindy, Joe and Stacy showed me a way out that I never would have considered on my own. It was hard getting in. The Navy didn't want me, but I persisted. Eventually, to get rid of me the recruiter let me take the ASVAB. After getting the test score I was welcome to any job any school any career I wanted. I told him so up front, and then I told him I told you so I aint no dummy, but you are

Out of boot camp in San Diego and I immediately tried to find Cindy. Couldn't happen. Nobody even knew what degaussing was. I looked for her numerous times in four years. Joe's ship couldn't even figure out if he was assigned to it, or not. The only thing I didn't do is the obvious, I didn't ring her parents bell and ask. I regret that mistake. It never occurred to me when I was home. Other things occupied my mind.

I knew Cindy for six years, 1975 to 1981. I've missed her since the day I heard she enlisted in the Navy. It was many years before I accepted I'd seen her for the last time, casually and briefly in her front yard, just as I'd feared would happen each time I saw her for the last year we knew each other.

So that's the story of my first and ongoing intellectual crush. Feels good to finally have it written down.

The message below is copied from my main web site. It's a good summary of this page so I'll put it here in case I decide to text her a link.


I had two different cars while in high school, you barfed on both of them.

It makes me sad to pass by your missing house.

I have two questions which only you can answer.

In 1982 you saved me from a pathetic future.

You even degaussed my ship.

Several times I tried to find you in San Diego, but nobody knew what degaussing was much less where. Google Earth now I know where.

You're a special memory in my life and in my heart, for several reasons. I'd love to reminisce with you and get my two questions answered, they're bugging me.

How bout calling a long lost friend