I remember the first time my heart stopped. I was sixteen, and he was walking past me, uninterested, with long dark hair, toasty skin, and tight, white jeans. He looked like a rockstar to me. I don't think he even saw me at first...
I remember the first time my heart stopped.
I was sixteen, and he was walking past me, uninterested, with long dark hair, toasty skin, and tight, white jeans. He looked like a rockstar to me. I don't think he even saw me at first--he was concentrating, too intently, on the drumsticks he held in his hand.
I'd never seen anything that beautiful before in my life. And I had to figure out a way to get close to him. I was kind of new to this school and didn't know many people--and this was the first day of band camp. I auditioned for the color guard, and miraculously made the team, and we were about to start practicing, while the drummers were gathering together in their coolness. I had befriended a few girls, and although intimidated, was ecstatic to know some of the popular crowd. I thought maybe I had a future at this school. I never was a cheerleader, but music was my life back then; I was more than happy to be part of the marching band.
I found it incredibly hard to concentrate, though, as my thoughts raced on about him--did he notice me? Would he like me? Who is he? Does he have a girlfriend? Should I talk to him?
All those effervescent feelings overwhelmed me. I never had a boyfriend before--heck, I wasn't allowed to date until sixteen. A boy kissed me once, when I was fourteen, at summer camp, all awkward with braces and fumbling lips. I thought it was disgusting when he tried to put his tongue in my mouth, and his older brother saw us and immediately started making fun of us. I. was. mortified.
But what I felt that day, seeing this fascinating, seemingly out-of-reach, too-cool-for-words, hot guy, was far different from those feelings I had just two years prior. I didn't quite understand it then, but my heart had already sealed the deal. He HAD to be mine.
So, throughout the day, I made it my mission to find out the details. I oh-so-casually asked around about him, nonchalant, but one of the girls I'd met saw right through me. She was friends with him, and she was determined to get us introduced. He, in fact, did not have a girlfriend, and I think it was her plan to make that happen for him. I'd love to say that he reciprocated my feelings immediately, and fell head-over-heels for me that day...but sadly, most of your rockstar-type guys don't do that. At least, not at first. As a matter of fact, I think he was actually interested in some other girl at that time. But I was determined, as was my friend. I did nothing outlandish--always be the rabbit, I'd been told. Boys like to chase. But I became friendly with him and made my presence known (probably too much, truth be told). Each day at lunch, my friends and I talked to him and his friends, and by the end of the week, he asked me for a date...I was in heaven. My first date!
We went to our friend Benjamin's birthday party at this old golf club, down a winding road, in the middle of nowhere (not really nowhere, but in my limited travels it was nowhere for me). We rode with another guy who didn't have a date, which I thought was weird, but I didn't care. I was finally getting an opportunity to be close to him--my own personal rockstar. He was dreamy as ever, his long, dark hair and dark, dark eyes--eyes that later I would find myself completely lost in, eyes that made me absolutely combust.
I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life...and the fact that my overprotective father actually let me go out was a miracle in itself. I tried to be cool, sweet, coquettish. He didn't talk much; I think he was as nervous as I was. But somehow, we made it through the night and managed to have a good time. I was calculating my chances for a second date as we were leaving, getting in the back seat of our friend/driver's Blazer. Would he kiss me? Does he like me? What do I do, what do I say?
Then, as we were driving down that old, winding road, in the pitch darkness, something happened--so quickly--just as he was reaching for my hand, I think--we crashed. Our friend hit a low spot on the shoulder of that old road, over-corrected his driving, and the truck flipped a couple of times and landed on the other side of the road. I was thrown out the side window, as I did not have on a seat belt. No one did. The two guys were across the street with the truck, looking for me. No one was badly injured, but I was bleeding from my leg. Oh, no. What just happened? We were all shaken but trying to be strong. We began the long walk back to the country club to call our parents, when someone driving our way stopped--it was someone's mom. She drove us back to the club, we called our parents, thankful to be alive.
Then, it set in. Great. Your first date with Romeo and you have to go and nearly get killed. What will he think now? Obviously, it'll be 'you're so not worth this.' You blew it. And he smells so good...those eyes. That hair. Kiss him goodbye, because next week he probably won't even speak to you. Defeated, befuddled, and exhausted, I didn't say a word all the way home. I analyzed every single detail of the evening ad nauseam, and braced myself for what was to come next.
It's morning. I open my eyes as the sunlight beams down on my modest twin-size bed and stretch...Ow. I'm sore. The events of last night play through my mind again, as if I hadn't already relived them enough before finally drifting off to sleep sometime after two a.m.
Wonder how the guys are? They're probably still asleep...teenage guys are known for hibernating. I know my brother sure does.
I get up, take a hot shower, and distractedly look for some breakfast. My thoughts are an ocean--swelling, receding, dark, deep. My dad jokingly said I'd never have a second date. His grandmother said, "Son, if she gives you a second date, she's a keeper." I wondered who was right. I also had an abysmal feeling of embarrassment. I'd barely just begun to know some of the kids at school--how would this affect me? Would I become a laughingstock?
Would anyone even care, or worse yet, would they even remember? Oh, I wish he'd call me.
Listless, bored, wrapped up in my own teenage angst, I decided to spend the afternoon alone in my room. I wrote in my journal, scrutinized every inch of my being in the mirror, and generally just pouted because I hadn't heard from him. I inherited a generous portion of self-loathing from my mother, who used to take Polaroids of herself and list her flaws on the backs of them. I distinctly remember one in particular--she was in a black and white chevron striped bathing suit a la 60s Barbie--and she looked great. She was pretty, petite, tanned skin and my same blue-green eyes. But, listed on the back of the photo? "Hips too wide. Stomach pooch. Flabby arms. Bad, bad hair." I don't have many memories of her, actually; I probably blocked them out, because they were mostly sad memories. But this, I do remember. And somehow, in turn, I did it to myself. Looking in my bedroom mirror, I found my every minuscule flaw and mentally listed them on the back of my own internal Polaroid. Who are you kidding? Of course he's not going to call. What a mistake it was for him to ask you out in the first place. Maybe it was just a pity date.
Weary from my own castigation, I tried to just put it out of my mind. Find something else to do, dummy. Go outside. Practice your flag routine. Exercise. Do an-y-thing. The anticipation for something, anything, to happen was killing me. My heart can't take this. It's being held captive by this mysterious, enticing, way-out-of-my-league boy...and he is Never. Going. To. Call.
It seems as if this day is dragging on for an eternity. I'm sore, cranky, a nervous ball of energy about to spin out of control. Those dark, dark eyes. Hypnotizing me, summoning me like a snake-charmer. Dangerous eyes. Burning, searing deep into my soul. I'm thinking of all the things I'd like to say to him, to do...
...and, he calls. Finally! Yes! Oh no. Here comes the let-down. But Yes! He called! Ugh, boys. My heart and my brain are in overdrive. I can barely hear what he's saying over the sound of my heart beating in my ears. So cool, so insouciant, he asks how I'm feeling, laughing and recalling last night’s events as "crazy." I like this. I like it so much. I like him so much. My pulse rate finally comes down from Jupiter, and I relax. There's no 'let-down.' We laugh and flirt a while, and then my dad announces that I've been on the phone long enough...and I have to go. Reluctantly, I begin to say goodbye, and it comes--Would you like to try this again? he asks. Without the car accidents and the bleeding? he teases, and I can feel him smiling through the phone.
Fireworks go off in my head, my heart is turning somersaults in my chest, and my mouth goes dry as I scramble feverishly to come up with a witty reply, but I'm so giddy all I can muster is Yes! Of course! And I'm a ray of light, shining through the clouds of misery I've put myself through all day. There's hope. This boy has my heart, and I hope he wants to keep it. I'm done for. There's no way I'll sleep tonight! Relief washes over me as I hang up the phone, running to my room to celebrate privately, elated.
Maybe I'll get that kiss, after all...