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Sunday Afternoon

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I slam the book shut. What’s the point? I couldn’t focus on the story to save my life. Every time I try to do something important, something normal, his face pops into my mind. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it.
My fingers stray to my tablet. No, I can’t, not now. But I open it anyway. “This is the last time,” I mutter to myself as I type in my pass code and open the music. Before long, One Direction’s “More Than This” is blaring in my ear buds.
I sing along, feeling the exact emotions of jealousy and sadness that inspired the song. Why can’t I get him out of my head? He’s just some stupid boy, and I have enough on my plate already, with driving, dancing, tutoring, and four college credit classes all at the same time. I can hardly keep up with my friends and my writing, and I don’t need another distraction, especially not one like this. The plan had been to get into the high school and get out as fast as possible, maybe to reconnect with a few old friends, and love was definitely not a part of that plan.
But almost all good plans go wrong, and this one had lasted not even two days. All I could think about was Michael, the way his glasses looked underneath his curly hair, and the post by that stupid middle schooler on his Facebook page. Barely two weeks ago, he had made a passing “tsk” sound at me outside the high school and at the time I had blushed, looked away and kept walking. But inside I was squirming with pleasure, and it had hurt when he had ignored me the next week as I tried to make eye contact with him. Now I don’t know what to think, especially after my friend Sarah, who lives in another state, had suggested that he might just be shy. And I had caught him staring at me from his truck before school on Thursday. But Friday I found the middle schooler’s post on his Facebook page, by Lissy or whatever her name was, about how he was funny, cute and sweet and my stomach turned in a bad way. Since then I had been listening to the songs “More than This”, “I Wish,”, and Teardrops on My Guitar” nonstop, only reinforcing the feelings I have for Michael. “I Should’ve Kissed You” rounded out my playlist, because if I had just said, “hi,” that morning, I might not be in this situation.
I open a file on my tablet. Ugh, Damien. I had started a story about him but it didn’t get past the first few paragraphs. We had talked online until I had a slight crush on him, until I found out he was in a new relationship with a girl from Nebraska less than a week after ending another long-distance relationship. After discussing Damien with Sarah, who also knows him, I had realized he was a womanizing jerk and I blocked him from my page. Two things in as many weeks – life and hormones are just crazy sometimes.
But it’s not my fault really. I’d been homeschooled for the past six years, and the only guys I had really encountered were either too young for me (my brothers’ friends), too old for me (college classmates), or family, none of whom I could even consider. The only male friends I have I know through Facebook or the spelling bee, and they lived hundreds if not thousands of miles away. So when I stepped into the high school for the first time, it was a whole new environment for me.
I comb my hair and finish my chores, getting ready for the movie with Nicole. He’s still in my head. I keep an ear on the radio, American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest. He just mentioned the words “Harry Styles” and “girlfriend” so this ought to be interesting. After a Selena Gomez song, the interview plays, and I hear some of the most inspiring words of the moment come out of Harry’s mouth. “Don’t go looking for love. Have fun while you can, and it will find you when you least expect it.” The single plays afterwards, but I don’t hear a thing. Those words… they’re perfect for what I’m feeling.
I prepare my lunch in a daze, eager to share the quote with Nicole, who has been there for me from the start. When I discuss them with her before the movie, she agrees with me, and we laugh our way through the rest of the afternoon. On the way home, she gives me more encouragement, asking me if Michael even knows my name, suggesting that might be his reason for ignoring me on Facebook. I kick myself, but when I get home, I’m dancing, eager for tomorrow when I’ll see him again. Maybe I’ll say hi, and we can have a conversation. And if not, like Harry said, I’ll have time to have fun. And he’ll notice me when I least expect it.

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