Author's note: Based on a true story.
One Month Later, RecessThis was it.
I had finally worked up enough courage to approach him.
I was passing a message along to him through Mario, a tiny boy in my class who was both of our friends.
“Okay, Mario,” I said, “just tell him...tell him...”
“Tell him there’s a fifth grader who’s crazy in love with him, and she’s been stalking him for like, a month!” shouted Marianna.
I blushed and looked down at my shoes as my friends erupted into laughter. When I looked back up again, Mario was gone. I looked around desperately, until I saw him at the other end of the playground. Talking to Josh.
“NO!” I screamed. “No! Why did you do that?!” I turned on Marianna, glaring at her with pure hatred. Her mouth was open in shock.
“Oh my gosh,” she stammered. “I was totally kidding! I’m so sorry! Oh my gosh.”
We were all silent as Mario came running back. “Well, what did he say?” ask3d Brenda impatiently. Mario paused, happy to be the center of attention. “He said…he said he’s noticed you guys following him and watching him all the time. He doesn’t know which one of you likes him, though.”
Before I could say anything, Kyler grabbed Mario’s arm and said, “ask him if he would go out with one of us!”
Mario ran off again.
I grabbed fistfuls of my hair. “What are you guys doing? This is my problem, not yours!” Katie put a hand on my shoulder. “Look, we’re only trying to help.” The rest of them nodded in agreement.
I covered my face with my hands, leaning against the fence. This was definitely not going the way I had planned it.
Mario came back.
“He said maybe. He usually only dates older girls, so you guys are just maybes.” I sank to the ground.
Maybe. That was all I had to cling to.
Just then, the teachers blew their whistles, signaling the end of recess. I got up slowly and made my way to the fifth grade line, surrounded by my friends, who were complaining at being called “maybes”. Then I saw him. Josh, heading our way. I panicked, realizing that he had to pass us on the way to the sixth grade line.
I grabbed someone’s hand, Katie’s, and squeezed as hard as I could. “Ow!” she screamed, and then she saw him. She turned to the others and hissed, “here he comes!”
I stared straight ahead, trying not to cry. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him getting closer. Closer. Close enough to touch. The world seemed to switch into slow motion as he passed right in front of us.
And then he looked at me. Looked at me, with those dark, haunting eyes. And when he looked, I felt like I was the only person on the planet.
Someone shoved me from behind, jolting me out of my stupor. The line was moving, and Josh was gone. l let out a long, shaky breath and headed inside.