You Were Young But I Was Younger

By , Ocala, FL
I was head-over-heels for you. That’s right, I said it. I was in love with you. And you were, too! That was the best thing. It was wonderful. Especially seeing you in the halls. That was the one thing I always looked forward to.

My friends said it was unhealthy. Weird, unhealthy, unnatural. Yeah, well, they were wrong. They didn’t get it. My friends, I mean. They were so petty. They didn’t understand why I talked about you or liked you. They could care less. They were too wrapped up in their own problems. Some friends, right?

Maybe they were right in some ways and wrong in others. It’s not unhealthy to love someone, but they had good intentions. I hardly knew you! They were keeping me safe. You were young, but I was younger.

Weird? I talked about you because I knew I loved you. So, no, it wasn’t weird. They didn’t know what love is. They know daughter-mother love and daughter-daddy love and friend-friend love but not boy-girl love.

Unnatural? Yeah, right. Love is too natural.

When I asked you out the night of the band concert (we were both band geeks, but we both played clarinet and we were both good and I thought that was just magical) I was scared. You’d say no, I told myself. Don’t get your hopes up high, girl. But I did.

I remembered when you played a song on the piano for me. What was it? Oh yeah, it was Billy Joel. You loved Billy Joel. He was your favorite, along with other 70s and 80s musicians. It was so odd, I’d think. But then again, you didn’t understand my love for Coldplay, either.

It was And So It Goes, by Billy Joel. You played piano, and quite good, might I add. You played it to me. I didn’t think you meant it for me, but deep down I knew you chose that song for a reason, even if you didn’t.

So, of course, I had to ask you out. You had to be my boyfriend. So after you finished conducting the band (yes, you were the drum major and 1st clarinet) I did it. And you said yeah, where can we go? And I laughed because I meant going out as in dating, not just going somewhere.

You knew that, though.

I remember our first hug. It was warm and soothing and nice, I thought. Better than I would have guessed. I remember when you first called my cell phone. I went into the backyard the day after I gave you my number and stared at the blue sky and waited for that phone call. It came, eventually. Your phone was old and cracked so it was hard to hear but you called and that was enough for me

I remember Wednesdays together. We were on the school’s Academic Team and we were captains. We would talk when we should have been answering questions. Oops, I didn’t hear that, Michael. Did you? I’d ask.

Nope, you’d say.

Then later we’d go to church. You were a Methodist and I was a Baptist and we went to my church for youth group, which was a Baptist church but you didn’t care. Heck, it was all Christianity, right?

Sometimes we’d sit for a lesson or the youth leader would say let’s go outside. Either way, we had fun. If we sat inside, we’d play checkers and we wouldn’t let each other lose so we’d always tie. Every time.

Then church would start and the youth leader would talk and we’d sit there like good little kids but secretly I wasn’t listening because you were so close to me and I was trying to figure out what you were thinking. Then you’d slip your hand into mine and I’d smile and blush. The youth group would smile at us and say, what a great couple they are. They’re so cute.

If we went outside, we’d play football. I know you didn’t want to play and you didn’t like sports (you can’t lie because you’re so skinny and you don’t get out of the AC too much but that’s what I like about you) but you didn’t want to be a wimp. So you played football. So I played, too.

I had to take off my shoes because they were ballet flats and you can’t run with those. I was so scared to take them off because I had smelly feet but I ultimately did. You said, your toes are cute. I smiled and blushed.

I remember when we went on the band field trip. At the end of the year all the band members get to go to Islands of Adventure. Instead of riding rides we just sat in various restaurants the entire ten hours we were there. We didn’t like roller coasters.

It felt so good to be free from adults and school. We were on our own! It was fantastic. We talked about everything and did nothing. We sat on benches and watched people walk by.

I love those kind of accents, you said when a British woman walked by. Then I wished for nothing else in the world but to have a British accent so you’d love me.

On the bus ride home we held hands and I nearly fell asleep on your shoulder. You felt so bony but you felt cozy and warm. We listened to Billy Joel.. It felt so wonderful. I cannot even describe. But I tried.

And at the end-of-year award ceremony I said I loved you and you said you love me too.

But these days had to end one day because you were going to high school and I wasn’t. I hated myself for being young. You were young but I was younger. I should’ve said goodbye, hugged you, kissed you because I wanted to but I was too young. I hated it so much. I cried and cried. And I tried to call but your old cell phone was screwed up and never received calls. That’s what you told me.

Summer was terribly long and heart-breaking because of our age and your phone. I dreamed about you constantly. I tried not to call so much but it was impossible. After all, I loved you. And you loved me, right? I wondered if you were thinking of some one new, but I had faith in you. You loved me, right?

I’ll see you tonight, you said one day in August. I’ll see you at church, tonight. It was Wednesday and I had not seen you in a month! But I felt so terrible for saying I might not make it.

Oh. Well I’ll go anyways. Surprise me, you said. So I did. I ended up going to church. I nearly forced my poor father into picking me up and bringing me to church. I was excited to see my friends and spend some time with God and secretly I wished more to see you. Because I was that blind by love! I smeared lip gloss on my lips and sprayed perfume and got to church early.

It’s six-thirty. You should be here in a few minutes. I waited outside with a few girls and chatted about who-knows-what.

Soon seven o’clock came and you didn’t.

Then seven-thirty.

Then eight.

And you never came.

I cried that night. I couldn’t believe it. I would have liked to give you the benefit of the doubt but I just couldn’t. A week went by but you never answered my calls. Our anniversary came and went without a word between us.

And you finally called. Finally! I told you I was so upset that you would stand me up! You apologized. You wanted to make it up to me.

Katie, you said next, I think we should end it. What do you think?

What? I said. Stupid phone. Your screwed up phone messes up what you say! Can you repeat?

Sure, you sighed. And you did. This time I heard.

We’re too young and this isn’t working out. I don’t see you anymore and life doesn’t want us together, not here, not know, you know? We’re just too young.

I cried and sobbed like a baby. You were young but I was younger. My heart was so fearless, so fresh, so easy to be broken. And I wanted to talk, and we did for a little bit but then the stupid cell phone tower disappeared and I haven’t talked to you since.

It took me so long to mend my heart. Still today, it’s very fragile, but I know what we had was something. I loved you and you loved me. Now, though, it’s been months and months and things have changed. I don’t feel the same and neither do you. I’ve forgotten your number and you have mine, probably. Who knows? I haven’t talked to you since August ninth. I deleted your number. I look at other boys. I cut my hair. I read different books. I talk to different people.

But when the teacher who lead Academic Team asked how you were, I said good. And I didn’t cry.

You were young but I was younger. You were old but now I’m older.





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