I know I'd regret it if I didn't write this down. It's happened before when I neglected to write things down when they meant a lot to me, and it hurt me.
Recently, I have been a bit emotional and haven't been giving much more than a vague explanation. There's a whole story behind it all. It starts with a special girl in my life. In this writing, I will call her D. To me, she is the most beautiful girl in the world. I've liked her for a long time.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2009, I got hit with a blow to the face. We share one class every day, first period. I glance in her direction every once and a while. Whenever the teacher makes a joke, I always check to see if D smiles. These days, it's hard to make me happy. I can smile, I can feel pleased, but pure happiness is nearly extinct. It was much more natural when I was a child. It gives me joy, however, to see her smile. It lets me know that somethings right in the world.
That day, I looked too much in her direction. An assistant shook her head at me. When D got up and handed a paper into the teacher, I watched as she made her way from the back of the class to the front and to the back again. The assistant shook her head again.
Later that day, I asked the assistant why she seemed grumpy that morning, half-knowing the answer. Of all the screw-ups I had gone through that day, this was the only one that she didn't go out of her way to comment on. She said that she didn't want to bring it up, because she didn't want me to feel accused, but she was concerned. She said that a girl I was looking at is feeling uncomfortable with it. "There's plenty of fish in the sea," she said. Don't concentrate on just one girl.
My breathing became irregular, and she noticed. She was concerned that I was angry. I wasn't, at least, not with her. I was mad at myself. I was confused, scared, guilty, empty. There were many emotions rolling around inside of me. For the rest of the day, I couldn't do any work. It was sickening that in caring for someone so much I had caused her to uncomfortable. It occurred to me that my behavior was counter-intuitive. In my mind, I had hurt D, and therefore, I had hurt myself. Sin in and of itself is its own punishment.
The assistant was bothered when I described myself as a creep. To her, it was one of the most disturbing things I said. In the American culture, the name Benedict Arnold is a synonym for traitor. In my personal vocabulary, the name Edward Cullen is a synonym for creep. Edward has become a symbol of one of the last things I wanted to be. I don't want to be a stalker with a distorted lust that drives himself into destructive behaviors, and I have always been afraid of being that kind of guy. Right then, that's how I felt, and if that's how someone else saw me, then I would be horrified.
I went to see the principal. For a while, I wouldn't open up to him, until he put the hammer to the nail. "I bet I know who it is. D." Ever since he said that, I've been wondering how on earth he knew. He's very observant, but I have had more visible interactions with other girls in the past. I thought that whatever feelings I might have for D would be hidden underneath a dozen of so red herrings.
I talked to him until the end of the day, all the while my eyes were unfocused and staring in the general direction of the front of his desk. I was feeling bad. Really bad.
At home, I wrote the poem "Hymn of Regret". It didn't make me feel any better. I went downstairs and flopped on the bed, forgetting about homework. When I came upstairs, my grandmother could tell that something was wrong. She had read the poem. I just told her, "girl problems."
"You know, some things in life don't go the way you want them to."
The problem with that was that I had brought about my own fall. It wasn't life being unfair. I remained depressed for the rest of the day.
The next day I avoided D. I didn't look in her direction in first period. Every day, I had a habit of saying "See you tomorrow" as we left the class, which would be a normal goodbye, had it not been for the fact that I said it every day. That day, I didn't say it. She deserved to have me out of her life.
A few classes later, I lost focus in class as I fell into depression again. I couldn't shake it off, and the assistant pulled me out of class. If she knew that I was still thinking about the events of yesterday, she didn't show it. For the next class, English, I was absent, although later that day the teacher told me that I didn't miss out on anything. There was a class discussion, but I knew my mythology as well as my own life, so it wasn't like I needed it.
That day, I was a bit more open with the principal. I can't remember everything we said, but I admitted that he was right about D.
"Do you think she's pretty?"
"She's the most beautiful girl in the world."
Somewhere along the line, he said "If you were to tell her that, she would be flattered. Embarrassed, but flattered." I'm not sure if I agree with him on that.
Friday was our homecoming. During the first half of the day that had a regular schedule, I told a teacher that there was one monosyllabic word that said so much that the dictionary couldn't attach a definition to it. That word was "uuugghh!"
Again, I avoided D, until the second half of school, when we had a pep-rally. I went to the bleachers and sat with a friend of mine whom I don't have any classes with this year. D happened to be in front of me, two rows down. She wasn't wearing school colors.
During the different events that took place, I would glance down at her and try to tell by the outline of her cheeks if she was smiling. Meanwhile, I also debated on where to place my backpack and doughnut, which I refused to eat without milk.
win," I cried when some of the games took place, because it was true. Seniors always win. It's not unfair, it's just a fact of life. They want to go out with a bang and they have more experience. On one such cheer D looked back at me. I don't know why. Perhaps she thought I was being rude. After that, I quit saying it.
The school day was over, but the day itself was far from it. I finished my doughnut grudgingly. I was hoping to have it with milk, which wasn't meant to be. Everything packed, I started biking home but had to hit the breaks near the end of the parking lot. A car was leaving and pulled in front of me. I recognized it as D's, and saw her and her little sibling in the front seats. They drove past. For me, it was awkward because I was trying to avoid her, to get out of her life. If I had pulled off one of my little "car crash miracles", it would have been embarrassing. I didn't want her attention.
Soon I forgot all about that, because as I biked home, a strange phenomenon occurred. I swear, I have never biked through such a thick swarm of bugs. There were millions of them flying through the air. I had to pinch my lips and squint my eyes. When I was home, I looked down at myself. I was splattered. The clothes would need washing. My sister, who also bikes to and from school, knew exactly what I was talking about when I said that getting home was terrible.
That night I would go to the homecoming game. A teacher had told me that they stopped charging for entry after half-time. Since I wasn't sure when that I was, I figured that 7:30 was a safe bet. I didn't want to go there for the game. The pep rally this year didn't fire me up like the last one, which was the best one I had ever witnessed. This time I just wanted to go for social reasons. After all, last year I had a great talk with someone who never liked me in the past as if it had never happened. Last year, when I wrote about that, I described myself as "outdated". I was hoping to compose myself socially.
Then, of course, after that would be the dance. Over the summer I had formulated a plan as to how I would dress for it. If I go to school wearing a tie almost every day, I had to look pretty charming for the dance. So I decided I would wear my brown leather shoes, brown socks, brown Dickie's work pants, brownish-gray dress shirt, black tie and my brown, square-shouldered leather coat. It had a lapel and fur on the inside, which could be detached if it got too hot. I was pretty proud how how well I kept the theme. That day, I also found a pair or brown leather gloves that were the same shade as the coat. The gloves were important, because I always wear them to dances. I believe that a man should be responsible enough to know where to draw the line, and I draw it at skin-to-skin contact. If I'm going to dance with a girl, I'm not going to feel her skin as we hold hands.
The look was perfect. If I had worn my brown newsboy cap, I would have pulled off a perfect British driver theme, through and through. However, since this was an occasion, I instead wore my tan fedora for the first time. Everything was planned out.
In light of recent events, I had another reason to be at the dance. I needed a distraction, something to get my mind off of D. I had to get my mind on something else, perhaps whatever girls I might dance with. I was prepared to ask girls out this time.
There was a wrench in my plan in going to the game and dance, and that was that the local college was hosting a play called "The Final Frontier," which sounded awesome for two reasons. The first is that all their performances are breathtaking. The second is that if it had any reference to Spock it would be holy grail. However, I chose the school events over it. It was a real shame to have to choose between the two.
When I first arrived at the homecoming game, they were still charging for admission, so I went back home for a moment. Since I forgot my leather belt, I put that on, and I also had a drink of apple juice and some bread, because I knew that I wouldn't be consuming anything for a while. Now that I was sure I was ready, I waited a short while longer and returned to the football field. I first stopped by the bleachers of the enemy team because I knew a few people who were from that school. Two of them were friends, one of them was a girl who for the sake of privacy I will call Monica Scarlet. Miss Scarlet was a person who in the past I could talk to when there was nobody else to go to. At least, that's how it worked out in soccer. I could use some talking to a girl, because thus far I only mentioned that I was having a girl problem to fellow males. Besides, the last time I talked to her was in mid-2008 about the election, and it wasn't much of a conversation. I hate it when I make a friend and then drop out of the loop just like that. My two there friends were also people I had had a great time with before but since have become separate. Maybe they were there, but I never found out because I didn't look too hard. I felt that I shouldn't be among the visitors. It was awkward, so I removed myself and went to the home team area.
I was greeted by a few kids who recognized me over the summer. They called me "Crazy Dude" for some reason. I'm surprised they recognized me, because there's a big difference between being a near-perfect British driver and being a pale shirtless guy swimming in a lake.
D was there. I noticed her at once as I walked up the ramp of the bleachers. She was standing in the same spot she had last year. Now she was dressed in school colors. I avoided her. When the cheerleaders did their audience-participation routines, D went along with them, but not with the same zeal as the rest of the crowd, which was in character for her. Perhaps I read too much into things, but I was hypothesizing that it said something of her life outside of school, that to her there was something more important. I view school spirit as sometimes functioning as idolatry. With her, it seems that she respects the school no more or less than she had to. I like that.
She wasn't the only person I didn't approach. Socializing wasn't as easy this time. I just hanged around. The first person I talked to was the principal. Next to him was a friend of mine - and son of my favorite teacher - who had graduated last year. It was nice to meet him. They both commented on the way I was dressed, said I looked like a European in the 1930's. I didn't really know what Europeans dressed like nearly eighty years ago, but I guess I do now. I also got an Indiana Jones comment. My friend talked a bit with me about college life. He stayed up into the early morning all the time, his school had had bad weather nonstop, and he had awesome people on his football team. He said he had a guy who could punt ninety yards. The principal didn't believe him, but I did.
A few cousins saw me and said high. They were perhaps the only other people I said more than just hello to, although I can't remember what they wanted to tell me.
The girl I have in previous writings referred to as Jennifer Schindler also said hello to me.
When the game was over, we won 35 to 6. D left the stands with her little sibling. I got on my bike and took it to the middle school. Looking, a friend of mine said they liked the lights on the spokes of my wheels. I always thought that they were dorky. Perhaps I should reconsider.
Looking back, I feel that I should have gone to the play. Nothing good came out of going to the football game. I could have gone without.
I'm always one of the first to arrive to the dances, although I spend the least time dancing. When I got there, I payed my dues, spent a minute standing on the dance floor, checked to see who the DJ's were out of curiosity, and then went to grab myself a chair.
Whenever I go to a dance, I have an agenda. In the past it was to build social connections and let myself loosen up. This time I planned to avoid and forget D for my own health. No girls I was interested in dancing with had arrived yet, so sitting down, I opened up to a couple of teachers my thoughts. I told them that I was having girl problems, for the sake of simplicity. All I wanted was advice of some sort, since I was restless. One was my math teacher, the other the choir director. The latter was encouraging, although he didn't know exactly how I was feeling, of course.
As I sat, a friend came by and asked me how I was doing. The default answer: girl problems. he assumed I was talking about Schindler and told me she had found a boyfriend at a church event, although it altogether the wrong assumption. It brought me secret pleasure, however, that she had a significant someone. I just told my friend that romantically Jennifer never meant anything to me, which was true. It appeared that way, of course, since she was part of my elaborate network of red-herrings for people who wanted to give me a hard time about whichever girl I might have liked.
Come to think of it, though, I have had a good relationship with her this school year, which is to say that we've have no relationship at all. Last year ended on a real sour note when she got paranoid and accused me of things I never said. We shared no classes, and we didn't see each other in the hall. It allowed some past wounds to heal. We talked for the first time this school year earlier that day during a free time between classes. There was no animosity about it. There was no animosity about it. When we walked past each other on the bleachers, her eyebrows raised and the smiled when she said hello. And direct eye contact was made. 99% of the time, that says everything. Since we have been apart, there is no longer tension.
These thoughts flashed through my head, but only for a moment. She would have to be scratched off of the list of girls I would ask to dance with, but that was okay, because I needed someone new anyways.
Whenever a new pack of people arrived to the building, I made it a habit to check and see who had come. About half an hour after my own arrival, one such arrival shattered the mirror of sanity. It was impossible, and couldn't be, but it was. D had come.
Primitive panic took over. She had not seen me yet, so I ran to the hallway where the chairs were stored, only to be escorted out by the math teacher. He told me that it was off-limits. In those few moments, I had become exhausted and fell into my seat.
"I'm sorry. It's - It's just that everything has a pattern," I explained. "The very person I came here to escape from has arrived. She didn't come in the past, and it was logical to assume the trend would continue. I wasn't counting on this."
"Some things don't have patterns," said the math teacher.
Extreme stress consumed me. It was like someone had punched a hole in my chest.
The pink shirt she wore looked lovely, by the way.
Much of the rest of the night was spent in seclusion. I would sit on my chair. I would pave in the no-dancing zone. I would sit in the hallways or bang my head against the wall. Most memorably, I would walk into the bathroom and express a prolific "uuugghh!" or two.
Meanwhile, D was dancing, although again not with the energy of most other people. To me, it said that having a good time meant something different to her than others. She was conservative, being only among her friends and never letting a man's hands on her. She didn't even dance with any boys, period. In the plenty of time I had to dwell on things, I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not. It have me reason to appreciate her character for not selling out easily. On the other hand, if I were to take the typical advice to just ask her, would she turn me down?
Guys should have the courage to face rejection, but so it is that I do not.
A friend of mine (who I shall call Franklin Benjamin), as he always has in previous dances, came up to me and encouraged me to ask someone to dance. "Oh, and did you notice that that one girl is here? Can't remember her name...still can't...D."
YES I NOTICED! It did surprise me, though, that he happened to mention her. She always seemed to drop off the radar of everyone but her friends.
I went outside the building to get a breather, as well as silence and alone time. I prayed to God that whatever chapter he was authoring that this one would conclude on a note that felt right. Well, everything's perfect in God's great plan, so at least I hoped to be able to appreciate it when the night was over. It made me feel better, although I was not fully remedied.
For each dance there are two or three slow songs. They're supposed to be slow, but often they can pass off for another fast song. The only difference is that they're not specifically rap or hip-hop. If it were up to me, the slow songs would be more apparent and more meaningful. They should play "It's a Wonderful World" or "American Pie".
To be fair, the slow songs for this dance were better than some of the past. When the second one came around, "A Girl Like You's Impossible to Find," I went out into the throng and considered asking that girl. She was near the DJ stand. In the end, I didn't even come close. Instead, I stoon on one of two cheerleading blocks placed in the middle of the floor to allow my sights to reside over all the couples now formed.
"Tonight will the the night that I fall for you..."
Near the end of the dance, all I did was sit in the chair and watch the dance floor like it was a peculiar screensaver.
"I understand just about everything in this world accept for people," I thought to myself. I understand mathematics, science, English and literature, history. All of these subjects were things I could wrap my mind around, but people, alas, I could not. The people before me and their behaviors, having fun and dancing to hip-hop, here alien to me. I considered it as something I might say to D someday. I really need a peer who I can talk to about these kind of things.
The last slow song came into play. As I wondered on to the dancing plane, Frank came to me and bid his usual encouragements, accept this time was different than others.
"Hey D, do you want to dance with him?" he said, pulling me in her direction.
I was taken aback. It was one thing to notice her pressense, but to actually throw me into such a situation? He's done it before, but he singled out her? "What? No!"
I remember that moment very clearly. We were in the area around the water fountain and she was about ten feet from me. I faced east, she was facing south. I remember her hair, pulled back in a short ponytail, and her pink shirt. She looked in my direction. She quick shook her head, but there was a slight smile on her. And, for a second, we made eye contact.
The eye contact made it inevitable that I would dwell on the meaning. People say that I read too deep, and maybe they're right, but at the same time I might read correctly. I hope that I am correct, because the message will then have been a good one. To me, this action on D's part said "I'd like to, but not yet." I really hope so. It's the wya I feel, too. I want to wait until I'm an adult before I go out with anyone, until that time when I feel that I can trust my maturity. At my current age, romance doesn't seem right. If D feels the same way, then that's great.
A feeling of elation struck me like lightning. When I turned and left the scene, I felt triumphant. In my heart of heart, this is what I wanted. It may seem ironic that it brought me joy to be turned down by the girl I most wanted to be with, and it is, although irony and reason are two different things.
First, I will stand by my philosophy that now is not the right time.
Second, I found out how it would of turned out. They say "You'll never know if you never try." Because of this, a small chapter in my life had a definite conclusion. I know how the story ended, until next time. Thank you Frank, and thank you God.
Third, there was the smile. Even then, it brought joy. The first two factors to my contentment instilled the lights of patience and hope, but the third, those eyes, set fire to my soul. It didn't matter that she had turned Ben's attempt to get us together, she had smiled, and that image has been flickering through my mind since.
It was time to pack up and leave. The clock struck midnight. A friend of mine and D's, who I shall call Polly, went with her to her car. Polly is a victim of society in many ways, because most people want to hang out with cooler people than the poor short, obese, black girl with low grades. In some ways I'm no better than the rest of them, but D is much more caring. As reattached the fur to the inside of my jacket, which I had detached earlier due to the heat, they drove off.
Looking back, I'm no less confused now than I was back then. I still don't know where we stand. In ways the events I went through seem contradictory, but then again, since when did I understand people, right?
On that nonstop night of insanity, putting together the mirror so that it could once again accurately reflect the world was a tiresome process, and I had been exhausted from the start. Family was asleep when I got home, which was unusual given that this night my two other sisters had come over for the weekend, and chaos usually ensued until after midnight no matter my father's efforts to get us to bed. Perhaps my absence made it easier for him. Falling asleep was easy, as opposed to the usual nights of insomnia. Before I floated into the abyss, I thanked God, and promised myself I would write about everything that had happened, beginning the next day. I also promised to thank her someday for saying "no".
And I dreamed about her smile