High school alone is the hardest part of any teenager’s life, but when it gets mixed in with an awkward adolescent’s idea of liking someone, life turns into a whirlwind emotional adventure. Like my plate wasn’t overflowing already with a chemistry teacher who called me “Crash” (a name I acquired after dropping a beaker during our first lab), a sassy algebra teacher who said that I didn't have the aptitude for the subject, or a French teacher who flirted with the class and laughed at her own jokes. No, I complicated things even further because stupid me fell in love.
It all started one morning at my locker as I fumbled to find the French book I hadn’t used in about a month. In the crowded locker bay someone stepped on my toes and, consequently, rammed me into the absolute zenith of high school popularity standing to my right. I accidentally hit Miss Popularity while she attempted to apply lipstick. In the reflection of the three mirrors that hung in her locker, I saw a red smear across her acne-free, rouged cheek. I also saw the image of the person responsible for this collision. When I turned to get a better glimpse, there he was.
Lockers may have slammed, Miss Popularity may have pouted, but everything stopped for me. All I saw was him. It felt like someone had reached down my throat and, with strong fingers, drew my breath and stomach from my trembling body. His sapphire eyes drilled deep into my heart, and every nuance of his face became eternally etched into my mind. The tall, thin body stood out like a glistening jewel among the dull coal of the locker bay. Sensing my eyes burning deep into him, he turned around and said, “Ah, sorry. My bad.” The words were spoken by a voice that could talk a man down from a ledge. I could tell by the tone and inflection that he felt deep remorse in his soul for displacing my body—or maybe the burrito he had at lunch didn’t agree with him, I’m not really sure. From that moment on, during every free second, I suddenly became busy thinking about him. Wondering about this boy made sleepless nights overflow with sweet images. Dull math periods were filled with idol daydreams. I became obsessed with this senior with John Travolta blue eyes.
I wasn’t the only one who decided that having Blue Eyes as a boyfriend was a good idea. Miss Popularity decided that he, out of all the salivating dogs begging, whimpering, pawing for her attention, would be the perfect playful puppy. Worse yet, I had to witness her primitive flirting ritual in the lunchroom.
She would strut toward the soda machine, swaying her hips from side to side, in an effort to catch one of his incandescent blue eyes. She was beautiful and she knew it. This was when it really started to get good—for him I mean. Purposely, her skirt inched up revealing her fleshy thigh as she struggled to remove a quarter nestled in her warm pocket. Blue Eyes was rabid with lust. Foam gushed out of his mouth and fire burned within his eyes. He was imagining the heat of the metal, so close to her body, then falling from her manicured hand to the floor. As he picked the coin up, those blue eyes examined every centimeter of her shapely legs. He was so close he could smell the sweetness of her perfume mixed with laundry detergent and the playful scent of teenage girl.
The whole scene caused a churning in my stomach, which turned to a hopeless nausea. The colorful world of love turned into a black, grey pit. Every strand of my hair hung like a 400-pound weight. There was no way I was going to give in to Miss Popularity, who just happened to be my best friend. Yes, yes, I was the goofy sidekick. She could turn the world on with her smile, and I couldn’t turn the world on with anything.
Smile. Yeah, Miss Popularity, I bet anything with a pulse smells good to you.
“And he’s so sweet!”
Bigger smile. Oh, and why is he so sweet? Maybe it’s that shapely body of yours.
“But I might have to work on his style a bit. Then he’ll be really hot!”
Smile. Nod. Then he’ll be hot!? If the kid got any hotter he'd be illegal in 37 states and 2 territories! This boy should not be allowed to roam around in public.
All the basics—name, address, and hobbies—slowly unfolded, and an elaborate plan of action for an encounter started to form in my mind. But before it had a chance to fully develop, I had a surprise Blue Eyes siting. He came to my photography class during one of his study halls (by this time I knew his schedule) to do extra work on one of his pictures. My mind raced; my hands shook. Should I act like I like him? Should I not notice him? Should I talk to him?
Talk to him. He’s your best friend’s boyfriend. Talk to him! Oh, how can I look at his cherubic face when I know he'll be looking back at mine? I don’t believe it. He’s got to be kidding. I don’t believe he’s wearing that shirt. He looks so good in that shirt. How can I talk to someone who looks that good in a shirt? That cotton clings to just the right places, and his jeans are sculpted to enhance and accentuate that squeezably soft…
Left with my eyes agog, I missed my one opportunity to speak with that walking, talking piece of artwork. Days dragged on and so did Miss Popularity’s relationship with Blue Eyes. He would nip at her heels as they walked down the hall. They would cuddle in class, and she would even feed him at lunch! Whatever the phoniest couple thing that you’ve seen, they did it. I’m surprised that people weren’t driven to violent nausea and fits of puking when they saw them together.
But like most good things, their relationship had to come to an unfortunate end. After Blue Eyes wasn’t such a new puppy for Miss Popularity, their relationship deteriorated. From what I gathered after late night confessionals with Miss Popularity, he wasn’t learning any new tricks.
Later that year I went to his graduation, and with the toss of his cap and the flip of his tassel, a sense of defeat and despair filled my body.
Good-bye. Jesus Mary Joseph, you are such an idiot. You obsessed over him for almost a year! Do you realize you never spoke one word to him? Not a single syllable. Yes, but if you had he would have laughed at you and your silly, girlish crush. You didn’t deserve him in the first place.
Oh, but I really liked him. I liked him so much, and he didn’t even know I was alive!
Get over it. Half the school doesn’t even know you’re alive.
Then the pain lifted from my body, like a heavy weight, and was replaced by a feeling of accomplishment and relief. I made it through the grueling torture of a high school crush and lived to tell about it. There existed no class project hard enough or cafeteria food indigestible enough to even compare.