The amount of words exchanged never mattered in changing the way we treated each other. At least that's what it seemed like. Some days, we talked like we were the best friends I knew we could be and other days, we went without speaking. I don't know if he was waiting for me to speak or if I was waiting for him, but regardless, it resulted in silence. Racked with insecurities regarding the opposite gender (it starts young), I refused to be the first person to put myself out there. It hadn't escaped my notice that A was incredibly popular with the ladies. I rarely saw him when he wasn't surrounded by a group of adoring girls, all as tan and blonde as the next.
I would be lying if I said he didn't try to treat me well. I noticed he went out of his way to talk to me between classes and I knew he stayed close to my group of friends before and after school, always finding ways to hug me, tease me and ruffle my hair. To this day, I can find no explanation as to why I wasn't sure what his feelings were for me because really, it was that obvious but I was constantly afraid that my affections weren't being returned and so I kept retreating.
Then one day, my friend M wandered up to me and told me that four girls had already asked A to homecoming. My first reaction was a big 'Excuse me?' I knew that technically, he couldn't help who asked him and he had gone ahead and said no to every single one but just the fact that this was happening made me uncomfortable. Growing up in the South, high school football was a big thing and homecoming just as much so. It was THE dance of the fall semester- the one where boys went above and beyond asking girls to be their dates. At least at my school. Somewhere deep down, I had been hoping that someone would do something nice for me before I graduated but upon hearing M's news, I felt spurred to action.
I spent that entire day building up my confidence to ask him to homecoming. How unorthodox, I know but there was a piece of me that just wanted to be sure he would be mine, at least for that dance. I couldn't risk ten thousand more girls asking him. All day long, I thought about what I was going to say and planned out plans of action, accounting for all different kinds of reactions. Regardless, by the time afternoon band practice rolled around, I felt less than ready but I really felt like I had to do this. So, mustering up all my courage, I tagged along with him as we walked out to the practice lot and just as we were outside the chain-link fence, I stopped walking.
"What's going on?" He wanted to know.
I remember how hard it was to breathe in that moment and I was frustrated that my tongue was tripping over the words I had been practicing all day. "Look, there's something I have to ask you."
"You know I don't have any patience for suspense! Spit it out!" He smiled good-naturedly.
The sun glare from his trumpet blinded my eyes and literally, all I could see was how sparkling blue his were. I spoke without thinking. "Will you go to homecoming with me?"
I don't think I can accurately describe all of the emotions that ran through his face in that second it took him to answer and I can't really describe all the things I was feeling in such a short time but finally, he said yes and, linked amr in arm, we made our way to practice.
I know it seems so odd that I'm spending so much time talking about A when this is really the story of how J and I came to be but you're going to have to take my word on this: one story wouldn't exist without the other. Literally, meeting J was 2 years in the making and I really want to get that across. Unfortunately, that means we all know that this part of the story is going to end badly for someone involved (hint: it was me) but rest assured, the end is ultimately happy :)