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Irony's Sense of Humor
I think the first time I ever noticed James Hendricks was when I accidentally dropped my pink-glitter pencil in sixth grade math class. Yes, I know, pink-glitter pencils were so fourth grade, but this one was on sale at Claire’s, and I just had enough money left over from my allowance to buy it. Besides, it even came with a cute pink eraser! Anyway, the pencil rolled underneath my chair, and I bent down to pick it up without interrupting Mrs. Browning, the math teacher.
I happened to glance up for a moment, and cue the bells and lights; there sat James in all his splendor and glory. He was sketching away in the ever-present sketchbook he carried everywhere with him. Shifting in his seat slightly, James shook his head, flinging his flip-y (the name I gave lovingly to his signature hairstyle) locks everywhere. Then, he smiled a brilliantly dazzling smile, and I was in love. It took a total of three seconds for me to develop a crush that would make me giddy, hurt me in ways nothing else ever had, and make me change in dramatic ways.
I sat up quickly, clutching my pink-glitter pencil tightly, and stared straight ahead as if nothing had happened. Inside though, my heart was jumping around like it was attached to a bungee cord, and I actually worried that the class would hear my overexcited heart. Oh… the adrenaline poured through my veins as I relived those three seconds over and over again.
James wasn’t an exceptionally cute boy; he was quiet and didn’t talk much. He had cocoa-brown skin, a sparkling smile, and nice eyes behind a pair of glasses. James was a passionate artist, as everyone eventually discovered, and that was his talent too. He was also nice to everyone around him, and I think that was what attracted me in those few weeks that I had a major crush on him.
My obsession/crush lasted until the night that I was emailing him to find out who he liked, and he named the three most popular girls in sixth grade.
My adoration ended abruptly, and that was the first night that I cried bitter tears into my pillow over James. It wasn’t to be the last.
Enter seventh grade. My quick friendship with James dwindled to nothing when I began to avoid him. My excuse was that he would hurt me again if I started to like him again, and it was legitimate too. I managed to steer clear of James the whole year, until the very last week.
We were at lunch when my friend Meryl came to us with the latest gossip. “Guess what, guys?” She said, excited.
“What?” I asked, picking at my disgusting hot dog with mustard and ketchup slathered over the top to hide the ugly brown hot dog in the bun.
“John likes someone!” My heart gave a giddy leap. Okay, so my crush wasn’t entirely demolished yet.
“Who?” Addison, my best friend, leaned over the table and stared at Meryl.
“You!” Meryl giggled. “He likes you, Addison.” My heart sank as quickly as it had jumped. I swallowed and pushed my lunch away.
“Psht, you’re lying.” Addison waved Meryl away, but I could see that she was pleased by the way she tossed her brown-black curls over one shoulder.
Addison was pretty, no doubt, and smart too. She had curly hair, wide brown eyes, and a smile that could light up an entire room. Her grades were perfect, and she wore trendy, stylish clothes. I had to deal with straight, unexciting hair, glasses, and clothes off the clearance racks.
Second night of crying into my pillow.
As soon as school ended, I made a resolution. I was going into eighth grade as the confident, gorgeous girl that I knew I could achieve. So, that summer was spent getting used to contacts, buying clothes at trendy stores (for the minimal amount of money), and studying how to put on makeup from my new Seventeen magazines. It worked. At the end of summer, I was confident, and ready to rock eighth grade.
To my dismay, James’ crush on Addison had not faded over the summer. Instead, it was more fervent than ever! I was quickly disappointed, but despite the hurt, I held my chin high and continued to be confident. The ultimate straw came about three weeks into the school year. James asked me to help him ask Addison out on a date. I was devastated, but I couldn’t let either of them suspect anything, so I agreed. It was horrible. Try helping the boy you’ve liked since sixth grade plot ways into your best friend’s heart.
Addison turned him down, but it wasn’t the end. James still liked Addison, and I couldn’t do anything about that. Despite the failure of the “asking out”, James and I became quick friends again. We had a lot in common, and could talk about nothing for hours on end. That only revived my crush on him, and when our pointless IM sessions turned into phone calls, my hopes started rising again.
Only to come crashing down. James could talk about nothing but Addison, Addison, Addison. I tried to ignore it, but it didn’t work.
More nights of crying.
After two months of him obsessing over Addison, I finally gave up. I cried one last night, and then rose in the morning, ready to surrender my crush.
After breakfast, I was feeling strong, so I went to check my email. There was an email from James. I clicked on it, feeling bored and apathetic towards him.
The email began, “Dear Bethany, I just emailed to tell you something that I haven’t had the guts to tell you since sixth grade, and that is the fact that I really, really like you…”