About my height, and aloof…he walked with the look of someone that was at school because he was forced to be, but still managed to have an air of dare-me-to-punch-you-in-the-head-ness; I was in awe.
His hair was a little too long to be called short, and he wore tight jeans. He had on biker boots and a black hooded sweatshirt. He was alone, at his locker and doing his thing, but he looked like I felt; lonely, like no one understood anything that he was going through. I longed to talk to him, and wondered if this attraction was just the result of my high school girl hormones, or if this feeling of instant connection was real. And with that thought he was gone around the end of the hall, and I realised I had been standing stock still in the middle of the hallway, as though I had lost the ability to move. This had never happened to me before. I had other thoughts as I began to remember how to use my legs and moved along to class, but the one that stuck out the most was the feeling of already knowing him. This was sort of new for me with the living, as opposed to those already passed on. I mean, you can know someone and how they are, and then they pass away. For most people it ends there, but for me, when I’d see them again they can appear younger or “changed”, appearing as they internally envisioned themselves, or sometimes they look the way they did in the time they felt happiest. But I know them, personal and familiar…and that is how it felt, watching this high school guy from afar.
I was compelled to look for this guy again as often as I had time. I wouldn’t say I was a stalker or anything, though most stalkers would deny that accusation too, but I began to take notice of who his friends were, and if our classes were near one another`s. I learned he was a grade above me, and that he skipped class occasionally to play cards in the school cafeteria with a loud and harder looking crowd that I will admit, scared me a little. I was still in the 9th grade and was a bit of a dork admittedly, and he and his friends seemed much older and intimidating. However different he appeared compared to the crowd of friends I hung around with, I had this pull to be near him, to talk to him.
An impetuous friend of mine, who was outspoken and boy crazy herself was with me in the hall one day his path crossed ours, and since she knew I was a little ga-ga over him, but had never even approached him, she took it upon herself to call out to him and asked him to come over. She loudly introduced me to him and explained my interest in him, in the only terms she could relate to. She was somewhat insistent that he give an answer at that very moment. As my jaw was on the floor and I prayed that the earth would swallow me up and end the humiliation, but in that instant, he looked at me in a different way, and responded with “I don’t really know her…and I’m not really awake right now, can I give you an answer tomorrow?”
As I found the question pointed at me, I said “sure”, and then quickly walked away to my locker and proceeded to chew out the friend who had humiliated me and, so I thought, had killed off any possibility of ever knowing this guy for real. Despite my deep desire to run home and lock myself in my closet, I went to class for the rest of the afternoon, and I happened to see this guy later on as he walked to the front of the school. He waved to me as he got on a yellow school bus, and I went home to bury my humiliation in my room
The next day came as I had hoped it wouldn’t and I was forced to go to school hoping all the while he would think it was a big joke, and that I wouldn’t see him, though my hopes were futile in the end.
I saw him at lunch that day; he walked right up to me in the hall at my locker and said that he would “go out” with me. Knock me over with a feather. I went to lunch in the cafeteria with him and I started to get a sense of how popular he really was, everyone knew him, and they all seemed to like him. The people I knew gave me looks of confusion and bewilderment. It was a weird sensation.
I knew nothing about this person, and he knew nothing about me. He apologised for being “rude” the day before and said he had been up most of the night working for a farmer in his area, catching chickens as a part time job. I had no idea if he was serious, about the chickens or about being rude…since he knew nothing about me at all and owed me no explanations. I thought this whole situation to be weird and awkward and felt very bad for having him be on the spot like that, but he did say yes and there we were.
That feeling of knowing him already, the connection, grew quickly the closer I was to him and this was interesting.
So I did the one thing I had been training myself to avoid, I had tried so hard to ignore and block the visitors, and for a brief moment I let myself feel and see them right there in the cafeteria. Keeping a straight face, while I focused on my new boyfriend and not former student who had been killed in a drinking and driving accident 25 years ago was not as easy as I had hoped for. I wanted to see if there was anything the visitors had to add to this boy in front of me, but to my surprise, they had nothing to say; it wasn’t them…it was just HIM. This was even more interesting.