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How To Send The Boy Of Your Dreams Flying Out The Door In Less Than Five Hours
Maybe it was the hour long conversation of awkward “so…’s”, or the blistering burns forming on his legs from my spilled coffee. Maybe it was the silence, or maybe it was the moment when my dad asked him how his family felt about him being “an extremely confident homosexual young man.” Maybe it was the long periods of time in which we stood side by side, texting other people, or the pain crawling through his veins from the sudden bash to his head from my golf club. It could have been the list of pathetic accidents, or the accomplished list of things specifically designed not to talk about on a first date… if in fact, it had been a date. No matter where it went from bad, to worse, to excruciatingly painful, it happened. And as the night wrapped up and we both sat alone trying to understand what had just happened, it hit me. First dates suck. First dates aren’t cute or romantic. They aren’t Disney Princess fairytales, not flowers-and-candy cute. No, first dates were designed to humiliate us, to suck out all the hope in the world and spew it back onto our shoes. They’re meant to gnaw at our hearts, meant to storm over every ounce of happiness with clouds of destruction.
As I sat in my room still trying to collect enough thoughts to understand what had happened, I realized I had done it. I successfully terrified, confused, injured, and destroyed all hope within the guy of my dreams. I remembered back to the beginning of the night, where it all started and how I managed to send him flying out the door, how I managed to lose the guy of my dreams in less than five hours.
The moment I saw him, my stomach hit the floor. It wasn’t the typical butterflies in the stomach, but something much more aching, almost as if I knew the night was going to end horribly. Yet, there he was, his eyes melted into crystal puddles, each with a story to tell. His smile slipped from the original, the type that stretched across his face, to the look he seemed to save just for me. He’d been the only thing on my mind for the past few months. It wasn’t something I could control; he just happened to find his way into my head, into my heart. I smiled as he walked towards me, remembering back to our conversations. He explained how he always went home after work, just to get out of his work clothes, and how it’d take something important to stop him. My smile grew bigger with each step; he was still wearing his uniform. It may have been simply because I was across the street at a bookstore, but then I realized it wasn’t.
“What are we doing tonight?” he asked, his smile matching my own.
We stayed at the book store for an hour, joking about different books and laughing at anything we could think of. Finally, we decided to leave and find something else to do. Bryan mentioned coffee, and how he’d been craving it since his boss mentioned it, and planned on getting some after work anyways.
Step one: Make a good impression.
We stood in the parking lot, throwing out ideas and waiting for the other to make a decision. Bryan started to smile, and there was a subtle hint of my look, the one he seemed to have just for me. He didn’t speak, just continued to stare at the sky, watching the sun set. Suddenly, I felt the cold air between us disappear. His hand was wrapping its way around my own, his fingers intertwining with mine. I looked up again and saw the spark in his eyes. I smiled back, waiting for him to speak. Instead, he slowly moved in, closing the final space between us. I smiled and took a breath, waiting. My heart was beating so loudly I thought he would hear it, the butterflies in my stomach rushing with furry. My arms and legs went numb, the anxiety rushing over me.
Suddenly, an unknown voice transformed the excitement in my veins into utter horror.
“That doesn’t look like coffee…”
Bryan snapped around to face the figure. His boss, complete with a matching uniform. Bryan managed to mumble something about meeting his friend at the book store, and told his boss he’d see her tomorrow. The disappointment was written on my face, my cheeks pale and empty. He smiled sheepishly, then turned and opened his car door.
Step two: Introduce him to the family.
The moment we showed up at my house, I knew it was going downhill. It wasn’t necessarily the fact that we were in two separate cars and had no where to park, but more of the fact that the cars lining the driveway and street were familiar, each belonging to someone in my house. Once I realized we were walking into the house packed with my family members, the knots in my stomach grew into once large clump, eating away at my serenity. As the front door slipped open, faces flashed back to see who was there. He stepped in behind me, following as the room opened up. I flashed pleading looks around the room, begging them to take it easy. However, I knew they were going to break him down, tear apart his life until he spilled out every embarrassing story, every intention or thought that had ever crossed his mind.
He stood, frozen, his eyes glued to the ground. He didn’t look up, but I knew what he was thinking. We both realized how bad of an idea this was. After thousands of conversations about how cool my mom was, he suggested that we go see her. Thinking she would be the only one home, I easily agreed. However, the house was instead flooded with excited family members creating my sister’s wedding invitations and sharing stories about their own ‘wonderful’ day. In their minds, I had brought him home so that he could meet the family. In our minds, we were panicking.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to meet my family, or that I didn’t want my family to meet him. But every time I imagined our first date… not that I had imagined it; we definitely weren’t with my entire family. Yet, here we stood, counting down the seconds to our escape, surrounded by my parents, aunts and uncles, and the rest of the branches in the family tree.
I turned and faced him, his eyes now anxious.
“I’m sorry.” I mouthed.
He mumbled something under his breath, his eyes still glued to the floor. Eager faces stared at us, watching and waiting. I started to mumble.
“Ev- ev- everyone, this is Bryan. Bryan.. this is.. um, everyone.”
As Bryan was passed around the room like a new born baby, I devised several escape plans. Perhaps I should have invested in that escape pod the door to door salesman was selling a few years back, but I was skeptical, wondering why on earth I would ever need an escape pod. Maybe he threw some ancient spirit curse on me as he walked away, whispering “you’ll be sorry...” Then again, an escape pod would probably cause a lot of problems with NASA, and as a 17 year old girl, I didn’t need NASA on my case. As for plan two, I wasn’t very good at fainting on cue, and the idea was to not embarrass myself even more in front of Bryan. There was always the option of grabbing his arm and running out of the house, but then I’d have to face the guilt through footnotes on birthday cards from each family member, asking why I was so embarrassed by them, and I wasn’t looking forward to that. So, there only seemed to be one option; suck it up, and pray that he didn’t hate me afterwards.
Through the strands of thoughts running in my head, I tried to listen carefully to the things people were saying. I had to listen and make sure no one said anything too severe. Suddenly, my mind went blank. It was like a system alert had gone off in my brain, interrupting any ongoing activity. It was a voice, a familiar voice, though he was nowhere to be found. I jumped around the living room and sea of people into the kitchen, where Bryan and my dad stood side by side.
“So, how long have you been out?”
Step three: Question his sexuality.
Bryan stood staring at my dad, then dropped his eyes to his phone. He was checking the time.
“Um, about six hours,” he muttered. “I worked early today.”
My dad’s face went blank. Worse than blank, pale and dumbfounded. I wondered who was more confused in the situation, and how much worse it was going to get before we could leave. The interrogations continued on painfully slow. The rest of the words seemed to melt together into one spew of awkward laughs, crossed lines, and uncomfortable shifting. I melted into the corner praying that I would disappear, or at least liquidate and become a part of the wall. Looking through the kitchen, our escape quickly hit me. I shot a look at Bryan, trying my best to convince him to go along with my plan.
“Well, um, we should get going. We’re getting coffee, right Bryan?”
Bryan’s face lit up, his eyes sparkling with a ray of hope. Freedom. After thousands of hugs and goodbyes, we finally passed through the dungeon door to the outside world. We stood in the drive way, silent and unbelieving.
“I.. am so sorry,” I began, my eyes planted on the cold ground.
“It’s okay. They were… nice,” he replied.
I looked up, searching for his expression. His eyes were no longer the sparkling pools I had fallen for, but deep, sunken holes. We stood in silence, feeling it cut a pathway between us.
I started to mumble. I couldn’t stand there with the silence invading our minds. Standing there saying nothing would not help. The nerves were still bubbling about in my veins, but no matter how badly the night had turned, standing there saying nothing would not help.
“So, um, if you don’t want to get coffee, we don’t have to.” I muttered. “I just thought we should get out of there.”
Bryan looked around and sighed, doing nothing to calm my fears.
“No, it’s cool. Let’s go,” he said, stepping away from the house.
The rest of the night seemed to be a blur, one horrifying event after another. Steps four and five unfolded at the coffee shop; spill coffee in his lap, mysteriously run into an ex who is still in love with you (bonus points if he still thinks you’re together.) Step six and seven took care of themselves; say nothing and text other people, then ramble on about pointless things that you don’t even care about. Step eight found itself at the glow-in-the-dark golf course; slightly injure him, not enough to send him to the emergency room, but enough to cause major pain that he would remember for weeks. Step nine hit us like thunder, literally; get caught in the storm and forget that you left your lights on, subsequently resulting in a dead battery, causing you both to be soaked and ruin your clothes, hair, and all hope left for the date. Step ten ended the night; shuffle awkwardly at the door as you both try to figure out the other’s feelings, resulting in an awkward hug with arms folded in ways inhuman, slobbery kisses on the cheek, and choppy sentencing like “I had fun” or “See you at school”.
I walked through the front door once again, shutting off my mind and forgetting the entire night. I needed to push it all away, and the severity of the night took care of that. My brain was racing, but the more that happened, the easier it was to simply forget. I found my way up the stairs, spitting incoherent words at my parents, letting them know I was at least alive. I pushed through the hall way, into the slump of my room. I fell flat on my bed, legs kicked in the air, half hanging off the edge of the mattress. The night was over, the first date defeated. I lied silent on the bed, ignoring everything else around me until I could make sense of what had happened, until I could sit up and come to grips with the fact that I would never be seeing him again.