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He looks up. Our eyes meet until I break contact by looking away, blushing. We both remember last year but I don’t get how he just sits there and looks at me. He heard but doesn’t care. He just thinks of me as weird girl. Will he ever know how it feels to be shunned by a crush? To be hurt and left to move on? No. Of course he doesn’t. I should’ve realized this when I first met him. He told me he had a girlfriend which I believed since I was so naive. So of course he doesn’t know of rejection since he has his girl. He doesn’t know what it’s like to go and try, to put yourself out there only to retreat silent and hurt because he of course went out there and got what he wanted. Maybe its my turn. Maybe he should get rejected to see how it feels, to see why it crushes people to see someone and know that they feel for someone else. Maybe its my turn to have someone like me and not hurt me like everyone else did. Maybe....

Thats what I said last spring, after....that time. Everyone said I was too good for him and that I was too pretty, too strong. But I know none of that is true. They just don’t want me to feel bad. Thats what they say every time I like someone. “Lauren, he’s just blind and stupid. He can’t see that you’re too great.” . Yeah. Sure. If I were so great, why am I still single why my friends get their crushes? Why am I always the one asked for romantic advice because I’ve been trying the longest? I know why. It’s because I’m the one to stick her head in the same bee hive just to get stung again because she didn’t think it would happen again. I am still who I was in sixth grade. I’m still that girl who tries even though she knows she will get hurt. But I don’t know if that is true anymore. Last year, I was stung so bad. I should move on. I should find something else to distract me, but I can’t because it’s like a memory which it is. Once you have a really great memory, you start playing it over and over in your head again right? Yeah well it isn’t a great memory but its like that. Its horrible and yet it flashes through my head every time I see a flash from the past. You want to know what happened? You don’t? Yeah well I’m telling it anyway.

“Lauren! We’re gonna be late! Come on!”, yelled my mom up the stairs in the house we were renting at the time. We all looked nice but casual because it was nothing but a silly little barbecue. Little did I know that that silly little barbecue was going to bite me in the butt later on in the school year. I only knew the Madison because our parents met and they set us up to be friends. They invited us to their back-to-school celebratory barbecue. I don’t get what was so celebratory about going back to school. Once we got there the food was set out, the music was playing, and the party was in full swing. I went down the porch stairs to say hi to Madison and some family friends whom she knows too. We got on the trampoline and that’s when we saw him. Apparently his family is friends with Madison’s and he looked to be about our age. He jumped easily up onto the trampoline with us and shook his carmel colored hair out of his eyes. Once his hair moved out of his eyes I came to see the brightest blue eyes in the whole universe. Brighter than a baby blue sky in the middle of summer, they pierced right into mine asking me what my name was. I wasn’t starstruck; i was used to these kinds of guys. So we started talking about random stuff: where I just moved from, where he used to live, how we know Madison, and then we started into sports. Im very sports- oriented. I grew up playing soccer and watching baseball and football and whatnot. My friends called me a smart jock which is ironic if you think about it. We went through what sports we played, when we started, and then we talked about school. I talked about how I went through the Honors program at my old school, how I missed my friends, and how big of a nerd I am. He talked about his girlfriend and his friends and stuff which I thought was pretty normal. Then as the party went on we kept talking and having fun. This was the first time I was at ease since we moved to Park City. Soon we ended up sitting together on a bench on the front porch watching all the other kids playing around with the tiny kid toys and stuff. That’s when my parents told me we had to leave. I said bye and I went home to do something I would do in the months to come. Get no sleep thinking about him.

The next day at school I had lunch with Madison since I knew no one else. I made it through the first few periods without too much confusion. Then after lunch, Madison was nice enough to walk me to my locker, we saw Carter (him). Madison said, “Hey you should go up and say hi. I know you guys talked at the party. Go on say hi!” and shoved me towards him but I wouldn’t say hi. So she yelled out, “Hey Carter, Lauren says HI!”. He just looked back and walked away. Pretending I wasn’t hurt by that, I just laughed it off and said, “See? He didn’t want to talk to me.” After school that day, my mom called to tell me I was gonna take the city bus home considering how close the stop is to both the school and to my house. So I walk across the street to the bus stop, wanting to both hide my face and die at the same time because guess who also rode the bus home? The whole ride home was so silent, so awkward, so ...weird. I wanted to say something to him but didn’t because I already knew his reply. When he got off, I sighed a breath of relief. I found that I only had to ride this awkward bus ride home only everyday aside from sick days and early releases and any other day that I was picked up from school. I didn’t crush on him, I just couldn’t stop thinking about him.

Many countless days went by with us just walking passed each other, noticing each other but saying nothing. Finally around Thanksgiving, I realized that I ended up liking a kid I only talked to for an hour and a half. I started talking to my new friends, Leah and Olivia and many others, all to find out that only Leah personally knew him. So I started asking questions, looking for answers to this endless strange crush. Beginning the New Year at school with my birthday, I started making eye contact with Carter. Not because I wanted to notice him, no no. I did it so he will notice me and not forget about me. Well it didn’t make him forget, it just helped in the mess of awkwardness and craziness that I created all by myself.

Around March I started getting restless. He kept making eye contact and everything else. He was even in one of Leah’s classes. So in April, an opportunity jumped right at me. I was going to Greece for Spring Break with my family and we were leaving a few days early just so we can get used to the time change. Well the morning I was flying out, I was texting Leah and asked her to tell Carter that I liked him. As much as my amazing friend Leah tried to convince me to not do it, I just was impatient to know what would happen. I didn’t have the courage to do it myself so I thought that if he rejected me....if he rejected me then I could just heal in Greece. I liked him more than I realized. When Leah texted me telling me what he said, I knew instantly. He didn’t like me at all. No interest. Zip. Zilch. Goose egg. I knew it because like in sixth grade, the guy didn’t have to tell me but I just knew. When you get rejected so many times like I have, you begin to know the signs. I didn’t have to reply to Leah but I did pretending like I didn’t care when in reality, I was hoping that just this once, this one time, he liked me in return. I guess I tried too hard. Or I didn’t try hard enough. No matter the reason, I will always care about what happened a few weeks after he found out.

I normally rode the bus home because my sisters got out of school before me and my parents were normally working. I thought that day would be the same just like so many other countless awkward bus rides home. But it wasn’t to my astonishment. I knew Carter’s friends were on the bus as well so I expected him to be acting like a jerk. But I never guessed how much of a jerk he would be. I started texting my friends while waiting for the bus to come to my stop and he just would not stop talking about this one girl to his friends. It took me a while to realize that he was talking about me, so i listened. “....and she’s this really weird girl that I only talked to one time and all of a sudden she’s crushing on me and I barely know her. I know, I should talk to her but what would I say? Be all HEY GIRL!!” said Carter in a valley girl accent. The only thing that didn’t hurt about that conversation was the fact that he left my name out. Either he forgot it or he was decent enough not to embarrassing considering I was right there.
The last few weeks of school, I spent trying not to be noticed in the halls, trying to be invisible. I spent the days just waiting, LONGING for summer to finally be here so I wouldn’t have to put up with walking with my head down and covering my face. So I would be able to think about other things instead of Carter. So I can finally move on. Well it took some encouragement and funny friends to get me to have fun in the last weeks of torture. Finally, last day of school and I felt free once the bell rang in my ears for the last time this year. “I hope he isn’t in one of my classes next year” I thought. But then I realized, that I have three months to move on. Three months of freedom from my prison of hurt and embarrassment.

Starting of eighth grade and I find that he is in one of my classes, but I don’t care at all. Well I guess I do care, I will always care about him. I fell too hard not to, but I moved on from liking Carter. I have other thoughts going on, more pleasurable thoughts. In that one class, I try not to but I still look at him once in a while to make sure he sees me. Of course I’m weird, but I want him to see that I’m proud to be weird. I at least have fun being weird. I may be loud and crazy and hyped up, but at least I’m not pretending to be something that I’m not. I know I know so cheesy it doesn’t belong on pizza, but honestly, I don’t care if I’m too weird for him because that means he has a different taste. But I look and I make sure he notices me in class so then I can show Carter that I’m smarter than last year, that I’m not a girl he can just diss so he can have a stroked ego. I am not a weird girl that he can blow away because this year, I promise you and him, that I will blow everyone away. I don’t know how yet, but I assure you that I am not going to be that one girl that Carter thinks he can push around or just make look stupid. I am not her. I am myself. I am my smart-weird-loud-crazy-hyped-up-beautiful-self and no one can ever change that. As for Carter, he’s the same. Same old regular Carter. That might be how it always is but I have a feeling that we would be really good friends. But we aren’t so all I can do is keep moving on.

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AnnaRead This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Wow. You are a truly gifted writer and someday you will find that guy that appreciates you for the wonderful person you are. Stay strong!
PAIGEExD said...
Oct. 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm
Okay that was just amazing! The beginning part, i'm going through that right now. I'm proud of you for moving on; you're too good for him! Amazing story :) Keep writing!
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