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You May Kiss the Bride
“You may now kiss the Bride.” Ever since I was a little girl, I loved that phrase. I couldn’t wait until I got to hear it being said to me, the man of my dreams gazing into my eyes before our first kiss as a married couple. His soft tender lips touched to mine as we were proclaimed husband and wife. And of course as an eight year old girl, I already knew who I was going to marry, the dreamy boy next door. He was two years old than me, with honey blonde hair, and eyes bluer than the ocean. We both had a summer birthday and loved dogs. It was meant to me.
The summer I turned nine, I remember I had a piñata at my birthday that year. I let him go right behind me in line and he broke it open on the first try. I remember standing in awe as the other kids scurried for candy like savage wolves. I was standing there, mouth agape, watching him, wondering how he got so strong, was it helping his dad out at work? Playing football? But I don’t think I ever loved him more than when he offered me a Blow Pop because I didn’t get any on Halloween. He knew they were my favorite. I thought, as my heart raced, he must like me too. But he never made his move. For a couple of kids, Gage and I had a pretty complicated relationship.
Now here I am five years later, no progress had been made in my quest to win Gages heart. I admired Gage from my bedroom window as he played basketball. Things like “What will we name our kids?” and “How many dogs does he want?” occupied my thoughts, instead of Algebra & Biology. This, perhaps, is why my parents hired Gage to become my tutor. At first, this thought mortified me, how embarrassing right? But after much consideration, I figured it could actually be used to my advantage. So Mondays and Thursdays I raced home from school and changed into something cute. By the time I got there, I would have spent almost two hours curling my hair and fixing my makeup. But he paid less attention to me than he did the books. Oftentimes his girlfriend would “forget” he tutored me on these days, and would call and complain with her usual annoyances. I would sit there and frown, pretending to focus on quadratic equations, when all I could think was, “Why her? Why not me?”
May 19th, 2011, the happiest day of my life, AKA the day Gage broke up with Sierra. I practically had a party. My best friend Rachel called me with the news and I was simply ecstatic. An hour after I got the phone call, his cherry red Jeep Wrangler sped into the driveway next door. He got out of his car and slammed the door, rubbing his forehead. My heart raced, I could feel the perspiration drip from my forehead. What to do, what to do. I decided to casually take my dog for a walk, up and down the street, right in front of his house. As I laced up my trainers and grabbed the leash, I heard something crash and looked up just in time to see everything on my dresser fall to the ground, and Gage watching it all happen through his window. He laughed as I hurried to pick everything up, my face flushed with embarrassment. I jogged out of my house and hurried around the corner. When I got back on my street I saw Gage and his dog Max playing in his front yard. I stopped dead in my tracks. I hadn’t actually planned this far ahead.
My mind raced. Should I turn around or keep walking? It was too late, he had seen me and we made eye contact, no going back. I took a deep breath and a step forward, tripping over my dog’s leash, and face planting into the pavement
I woke up in the hospital, my Mom by my side. “What happened?” I asked.
“Well, Sweetheart, you were walking the dog when you tripped and hit your head on the sidewalk. You’re lucky Gage saw what happened, he came and helped you up and brought you to the hospital,” she replied kindly.
Oh. My. God. Gage saw everything! This was humiliating! “Oh… right…” I said trying to sound convincing.
“The doctor said you’re good to go if you want to go home, it wasn’t too serious, but we can stay if you really want to,” my mother said packing up her stuff.
“Oh, yeah, of course,” I mumbled. In my head I was thinking; Please don’t ever make me leave, yes I really want to stay, stop packing up. I can never face Gage again; I just don’t think I could handle the embarrassment.
But naturally, my mother had other plans. Instead of pulling into my own driveway, she pulled into Gage’s. “What are you doing?!” I said panic stricken.
“Oh,” my mother said, casually, as if this wasn’t the worst possible thin g that could happen at this moment in my life, “I figured you could come and thank Gage for helping you, and his mother invited us for dinner.”
“How sweet,” I managed to mutter without sounding too sarcastic. I dragged myself into their house, and suddenly, as if by some divine miracle, I had an idea. I would pretend to have a pounding migraine, and go home and sleep: genius.
Genius until you see the love of your young life walk into his living room in a towel, hair dripping wet, straight out of the shower. I tried to pick my jaw off the ground before he caught me staring. He looked up, startled, “Oh I’m so sorry Skylar!” he said I didn’t realize you’d be here already.” I simply nodded my head as if to reassure him it was perfectly okay. I sat down awkwardly on the couch when his little sister comes bounding in, decorate3d in glitter and sporting a pink tutu.
“Hello Skylar!” Olivia said cheerfully, four years old, and not a care in the world. Weren’t those the days.
“Hey Olivia,” I said with as much excitement as I could muster.
“Do you want to play a game?” Olivia asked batting her eyelashes.
“Sure,” I said unenthused.
It was good enough for her; she sped off in the other direction. “Are you going to be Gage’s new girlfriend?” she asked, placing a wedding veil on my head; it appeared we were playing dress up.
“I wish,” I muttered just under my breath. But somehow Olivia’s super- sensitive fairy ears heard me, and she let out a gasp.
“Do YOU like my brother?!” she asked, squealing with delight.
“No no no!” I said, jumping up in protest. But it was too late; she was halfway across the house, ready to destroy my social reputation for the rest of high school.
Dinner was awkward, but our parents kept the conversation flowing. It was after dinner, that I needed to worry about. I had kept the veil on throughout dinner and now carried a faux bouquet to make Olivia happy. She invited her brother to come play with us. He came up to me and said, “So word on the street is that you got the hors for me,” nudging my shoulder playfully.
“Hahahaha! Those kids!” I said, “Always joking!”
“Joking?” he said. “Well, that’s too bad...” he let his thought trail off. “You know, when we were little, I used to have the biggest crush on you,” he said shyly.
I laughed, “No way,” I said. “I have, I mean, uhm, had, the biggest crush on you.” My cheeks were bright red. “You know, when we were little,” I stammered.
“You sure?” he said, looking me dead in the eye. Before I had a chance to speak, he leaned over and kissed me.
Olivia yelled, “You may know kiss the Bride!”