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I was sixteen years old, and one hundred percent boy-confused. Weekends consisted of hanging out with a few good friends, and sometimes Marikate’s brother and his friend. Nothing was really exciting, and my life was pretty much the opposite of the average high schooler’s.
It all changed after a game of “Marco-Polo.” Well, you could hardly call it that, because it was really just a boys against girls free-for-all where the boys tackled us to show us how strong they are. That’s when Marikate and Elyse decided they were obsessed with Steven. I didn’t jump on that bandwagon, and made fun of them whenever I could. He was Marikate’s younger brother’s best friend. I would never lower my standards like that…liking someone a year younger than me! Plus, he didn’t seem all that into me, so why should I like him too? We went on like that for months, them being obsessed and me teasing them about it any chance I could.
One normal night out, we were all in my car and he told me that he’d never driven a car before. I let my brothers drive all the time, so I easily agreed to let him drive my car. We made everyone else get out until just him and I were left inside. We had a real conversation, and it was that night when I realized that his being just one year younger would fit perfectly with my personality of always being in charge. I figured it out around midnight in my bed, where I lay awake for hours because I couldn’t fall asleep. I heard my phone buzz on my bedside table, and I was shocked when I saw the name. The text was from him and it read, “I can’t stop thinking about tonight. Thank you for being the first person to trust me enough to let me drive.” I didn’t get a good night’s sleep that night.
When a girl starts to like a guy, usually the first thing she does is tell her best friends. That was different for me; I couldn’t tell them. First, because they all liked him, and I can’t like someone my friends already liked. Second, I made fun of them for liking him so many times. They would be mad at me if I told them. They would call me a hypocrite and not want to be friends anymore. They would never actually do that, so I’m not sure why I delusioned myself into thinking it; but nonetheless, I never told them. I dealt with my first crush totally alone, fighting to hide it from my best friends.
I was shy and couldn’t hold a conversation, but talking to him was easy as breathing. We started talking all the time, and I found myself looking forward to his calls every night, blowing off homework just to talk to him. We were learning everything about each other, and loving each new thing we learned. When we hung out with the group, him and I managed to find a lot more time alone. When we played basketball, guarding him was the highlight of the game. Hide-and-seek…we were partners hiding together. Driving around, and he was always in the front seat next to me. I also started looking forward to the end of the night when I drove him home by myself. Curfew was eleven o’clock for him, but eleven thirty for me. He didn’t walk into his house until eleven exactly, but we left at ten forty-five to make the two-minute drive. As soon as he got out of the car, I sped home to go on AIM and talk to him there.
I didn’t really have a plan. If I ever wanted to date him or anything, I’d have to tell them, so I settled with just talking to him a lot and being best friends. It would have worked. Even after spending so much time alone with Steven, my friends were so caught up in their own crushes that they didn’t even notice mine. That’s why I was so confused that night when they asked me if I liked Steven. I immediately got defensive, and yelled, “NO!” I was too scared that they’d be mad at me. Why did they think that I liked him?
Life continued on as normal. I still talked to him every night, we were still alone any chance we could get, and I thought I was totally fooling my friends about my crush. He invited me to go to a Sox game with him family, and I was ecstatic. I became close to his little brother and sister, and hung out as his house a lot after that. We amused ourselves by doing nothing at all, and I spent many nights watching movies in his basement after telling our friends we both couldn’t go out that night. I was in love, and loving every minute of it.
All good things end, and one day, my heaven suddenly disappeared. It was right after my friends asked me, for the fourth time, if I liked Steven. My answer was still the same, and then he abruptly stopped talking to me. He stopped calling, stopped needing rides home, and stopped going on AIM. My motivation for going out, for working out, for rushing home after school, gone. I was left alone and confused, so I turned to my only method of obtaining answers…creeping on Marikate’s facebook in search of private messages. It was a long shot, but they might have talked about something on there, so I’d give it a try. I already knew her password, so I logged on one day during the time I should have been talking on the phone with him. Feeling quite devious, I clicked on the “inbox” button.
I was shocked at what I found, but it all makes sense now. I knew I wasn’t telling my best friends when my crush developed, but I didn’t think that he might be. He was closer to them than I thought. I knew that him and Marikate had gotten closer after him and I cut off all contact, but I didn’t think they were that close before. It was all right there in plain print.
All those times my friends asked me if I liked Steven, they weren’t doing it so they could be mad at me and call me a hypocrite. They were doing it because he had asked them to. He wanted to ask me out, but didn’t know if I would say yes. He had Marikate find out, but she reported the disappointing answer he was hoping not to hear, the answer I gave her every time she asked.
It was my fault completely. I judged too harshly, and lost my best friends because of it. Marikate was a true friend. Thought she liked him, she agreed to ask me if I liked him, knowing all the while that the second I said yes, he was off limits. She forgot all those times I laughed at her for liking him, putting my happiness above her own. She was a really good friend, and I had completely misjudged her.
I no longer hang out with those girls or those boys, but the thought of him runs through my mind often. The thought of what could have been, if only I wasn’t too self-centered to tell my friends the truth. If only I hadn’t lied. If only I had seen through my poor judgments of those people who knew me best.