(Part Six) Diary entry – February 14, 2009
I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remind you what day this is. It’s the worse day of the year for a single girl living in a beautiful city. I’m a happy person, but the happiness on crack that surrounds me on this day is almost unbearable. Constant buzzing and laughter surrounds me on all sides. “Fuzzie wuzzie bear.” “Pookikins.” “Snookum pie.” Even the “sweethearts” and “babes” are getting to me this day.
Love is undoubtedly in the air. It’s on the radio, passing me by on the street, taunting me in store window fronts. Hands are intertwined extra tight. Kisses given more freely and in the open without reservations or embarrassment. A bit of saliva hangs from the lower lip of a freshly kissed girl. Her boyfriend, a taller version of Joseph Gordon Levitt, licks his lips, satisfied with the taste of her lipstick. I can feel myself sneering in their direction.
You can’t blame me. Not really. It’s an involuntary reaction based on years of bad boyfriends and rejection. The only real taste of good love I have ever really had was my high school sweetheart. He was the sweetest boy any Father could ever want for his daughter’s first love. Raised right, taught to respect and cherish a girl like myself, I couldn’t have asked for a better boyfriend.
It is on days like this that I miss him – or at least the idea of him.
We were both juniors, riding high on our newly discovered power and importance over the measly freshman and sophomores. When walking down the hallways crowds parted. Many of the seniors were now our friends. We gave casual fist bumps in the hallways and girls learned the secret of strategically placed eyeliner and shorter shorts. Gone were the days of pigtail braids and baggy overalls.
At sixteen I had already gone on quite a few dates. My boobs came in early at a whopping ten years old so I was used to boys noticing me. Growing up a tomboy, I wasn’t afraid to flirt and talk up the older boys and when they started asking me out I was able to squeak out a yes. Some tried to make moves under cover in the back of a movie theater or while sitting on a bench along the beach. But their moves were clumsy and I was too naive at the time to know any better or take advantage of the attention.
It wasn’t until the second week of government and civil society that I noticed the shy boy sitting behind me.
I had glances of him during the first few years of high school. We ran in completely different circles. He kept to himself while I flitted from group to group. Quiet but with a firm look of determination, he rarely smiled while my laughter bounced off rickety metal lockers and concrete hallways. For the majority of his free time he hung out around the drama classrooms.
He couldn’t have been more than 5 feet ten inches tall. His body was lanky but graceful. His skin was pale from lack of sun exposure – a common condition that most of the drama geeks suffered from. But it worked for him. He had thick, jet black hair. It looked soft and for a second I could picture myself running my fingers through the silky locks. His eyes were light grey under thick black eyebrows. I thought he was so cute. I couldn’t understand why no one else did.
I was the complete opposite. I had long, dark brown, curly hair. It hung just above my hips in thick clumps and would normally catch on the back on our classroom chairs or in my jacket’s zipper. Most of the time I pulled it back into a messy ponytail in the morning and wouldn’t run a comb through it for the rest of the day. At least, not until I showered again. Have you ever tried to comb out dry curls? It’s a disaster! Poof and fuzz disaster. No one likes that.
My eyesight left me when I was about eight or nine. If I wasn’t outside playing, I spent every waking hour reading – even with a poorly lit flashlight under my bed covers. My room was covered in piles of books. I even had an extra bookcase in my closet. When my Mom told me I would probably need glasses I ran into my room and slammed the door. Only geeks with big teeth and runny noses wore glasses. But I learned to love them. By the time I was sixteen glasses had become part of my identity. I was the cute sporty girl with long hair and glasses. It worked for me.
Well, that day I was trying to cram in one more chapter of Misery before class started. Have you read Misery? It is AHHHHmazing. I was just at the part when Annie is about to cut off Paul’s foot for sneaking out of his room. I was so engrossed I didn’t hear my classmates file in or when they bumped my desk. I didn’t even feel the tug of my hair when my friend Haley plucked at my curls and laughed to the other girl next to her, “nothing. She is oblivious.”
The next thing I knew I was reeling back in my chair, startled by the bell. I dropped my book and almost fell when two strong hands steadied the back of my chair. It was Langdon.
“You ok?” he asked.
“Um yeah. I think so.” I was so startled about what had almost just happened I couldn’t look him in the eyes. If I had fallen…how embarrassing!
“You sure?” Letting go of my chair, he squatted down to get a better look at me. Usually I would be able to laugh the whole incident off, even make a witty remark that would get the boy laughing and his attention diverted away from my clumsiness. But this time I could barely look at him. The faint smell of his cologne mixed with what I can only assume was the lavender scent of his laundry detergent unnerved me.
“Yeah, yeah I’m sure,” I replied as my hands groped along the floor for my dropped book. Nearly falling out of my chair again his hands reached up to steady me again.
“Hey there! Caught you again!” His laughter threw me off balance as he handed me my book.
“Thank you,” I mumbled. Such an idiot.
“It’s no big deal.” That smile! A small dimple formed on only one side of his face. This time when I looked at him I managed a smile.
“It’s nice to finally meet you. Didn’t think I would ever get the chance, you’re head is always in a book.”
The sound of the bell broke my silence.
“Yeah, that’s – that’s me.”
“Guess it’s time for class.”
The boy is glaring at me. His girlfriend reaches up to wipe away her lipstick from his mouth. She doesn’t look at me but I know she sees me. I look away, mortified that they caught me staring at them. Caught me hating on them. Ducking inside the nearest coffee shop I can I try to hide myself in the morning crowd. The couple walks past the window outside. It doesn’t matter how small I try to make myself – I can still feel their stares.
I can’t wait for this day to end.