Nothing ever changes. Me, I will neverchange. You add all the make-up, fashionable clothes and hair dye youwant but, in the end, I will never change from being a pale Irish girlwho will probably end up dying alone in a street somewhere.
Whyam I such a dork? Why, God, why? Why did I have to trip right now? Whydid he have to see me? Why did I have to make all those stupid jokesabout things no one understands, including me? Jokes I got from acts Isaw on Comedy Central. How could I have choked on a napkin? A napkin,for crying out loud! It’s official. I am the world’s biggestbasket case and need to save myself years of heartbreak by converting toCatholicism and becoming a nun.
It wouldn’t have been sobad if he hadn’t seen all those stupid mistakes. The guy whosesmile makes my knees weak and heart melt. The guy who laughs at myjokes, even when they aren’t funny. The guy I have been in lovewith since the day I discovered boys don’t have cooties. Sigh. Butnow I suppose it doesn’t matter, with me becoming a nun andall.
It was all going great at first. He had finally asked meout. I, the bashful girl who sat in the front row of Mr.Peterson’s creative writing class. The girl who rarely talked andlaughed only when she thought no one could see. Hoping against hope thathe would notice her. She never thought he saw her steal all thoseglances over her shoulder, wishing she was one of the other girls inclass, the girls with long blond hair and narrow waists. The confidentgirls who weren’t embarrassed to flirt and laugh at his jokes. Agirl she always imagined he would want. But he did see. And he likedit.
My friends told me to act cool, calm and confident. I wasanything but that. We went to this little restaurant called the OrangeApple in the center of town. We got a booth in the back, in a romanticspot with only candlelight allowing us to see. He pulled out the chairfor me and I nearly fainted. Then he held my hand and smiled for whatseemed like a blissful eternity. His emerald eyes shone beautifully inthe candlelight, while his messy, sandy blond hair was hidden by theshadows that danced on the walls and ceiling. I could feel myself meltin his warm hands.
When we ordered our drinks, my bestfriend’s voice in my head shook me back to reality. “Ordersomething cute and different,” she had advised. “It alwaysmakes you seem, I don’t know, classier?” She’d laughedover the phone, two hours before he picked me up in his parents’Toyota.
I was determined to do anything to impress him, even ifit meant swallowing some trendy drink which probably would taste like amelted popsicle mixed with rice or grass.
“What will itbe?” asked the waitress, a woman in her early 20s. I looked at himand he smiled. I glanced at the menu and picked a drink.“I’ll have a, um, polka-dotted strawberry twist,” Ireplied, adding a sophisticated edge to my voice.
The waitresseyed me with amusement and said, “Okay, hun. And you?” Hedidn’t even need to look at the menu. He was just so cute!
“I’ll have a Pepsi,” he requested. Thewaitress nodded as she wrote down the order. “Alright, I’llbe right back with your drinks.” As she walked away, Icouldn’t help but feel proud of myself. That feeling endedabruptly though, when I saw just what a polka-dotted strawberry twistwas.
The waitress returned with a glass of Pepsi and a cup ofwhat looked like a chunky bowl of melted ice and strawberry ice cream. Itook a sip, optimistic that it wouldn’t be so bad, but Icouldn’t swallow it. It was thick and tasted like moldystrawberries. I immediately spit it out all over the basket of bread.Everyone stared at us.
I quickly tried to say something cute orwitty, but all I could think of was, “Sorry. Guess I should haveordered a Pepsi, too.” I was so humiliated but he, being theessence of everything great in the world, only laughed.
“Guess so,” he said, passing me some napkins. It wasthen that my natural instincts to be as unattractive as possible kickedin. After a few minutes of silence while I cleaned up the table, therambling began. I joked about all kinds of stupid things that I had noidea about. I quoted all the wrong movies and was incrediblyunsuccessful in my attempts to flirt. By the time the food came, I knewthis would be the last date he would ever want to go on with me. I hadburied myself the moment I asked him what his sign was. His sign! Whatwas wrong with me?
I decided to remain silent for the rest of thenight and he didn’t fight me on that. It was a total disaster. Bythe end of the spectacularly catastrophic evening I had managed to spitup my drink, choke on a napkin, trip on the way to the bathroom and makequite possibly the corniest jokes ever. I couldn’t believe it. Itwas my first chance to prove to him that it was our destiny to fall inlove, get married, have children and grow old together and instead Iended up forced into a future as a nun.
When he dropped me off atmy house it was only 9:30. My baby sister probably wasn’t evenhome yet and her Friday night was basically Barbie and Lizzie McGuiremarathons on Disney. He didn’t kiss me or even try to cross theunspoken line that divided the car into my side and his. All he saidwas, “I had a really nice time tonight. Maybe we could do it againsometime?” Then he smiled. It wasn’t his smile though, morelike a forced one.
“Okay. Sure. Okay.” I was such anidiot. I smiled and bowed my head in defeat as I opened the car door andwalked to my house. As I glanced back, he was sitting in his carwatching me. Looking perfect. I stepped inside the house and my heartbroke as I heard him drive away.
So that’s the storyI’ll be able to tell all the children I teach at the Catholicschool. I’ll tell them how the boy of my dreams asked me out, howI was a complete and utter psycho and that’s when I realized myonly option was to become a nun, thereby at least having an excuse fordying alone. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I could helppeople who needed guidance and salvation. I would get aget-into-heaven-free card, too. I would never have to watch my weight,or look trendy. I wonder if the church has a brochure or something Icould look at.
Monday at school, all my friends wanted to knowhow the date went. I told them. They all laughed. I yelled at them. Theybowed their heads in disappointment, still snickering. After they hadfinally calmed down, they told me it was okay, that maybe he liked girlswho were total messes.
“Maybe that’s what attractedhim to you in the first place!” Eliza added, and a fresh wave ofgiggles followed. I made a mental note never to tell them anythingremotely true again. A few seconds later, the bell rang. It was time toface him. When I walked in, I noticed he was sitting in the last row,fully involved in a conversation with some pretty girl with short, curlybrown hair. He was wearing a green sweater with cargo jeans. He lookedbetter than I could ever remember him looking. I could feel pain washover me as I took my seat in the front. “Yep,” I muttered.“Nothing ever changes.” As I wallowed in pity, somethingunexpected and wonderful happened. I heard someone walk up to the emptyseat next to me. I turned and he was there. Stunned, I mumbled,“Hi?” Hi? Hi! I was going to end up a bitter nun.
“Hello,” he said. Then he sat next to me and smiled.It was his smile, too! “I had a great time Friday night,” hewhispered as Mr. Peterson walked in. “Maybe we could do it again,like, tomorrow night?” I nodded and smiled. Maybe some things canchange after all.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.