At my whispered announcement into my friends’ ears hours later, they started the second phase of their ‘just pick a guy’ plan.
“Just go say ‘hi’,” became their new chorus.
I shook my head at them every time they suggested it. Hadn’t I already done enough? Hadn’t they said they’d do the next part?
Desire warred with preservation of self. He may have caught me, but that didn’t mean he had any interest.
He’s the president of the band.
He’s a senior.
What could he possible want with a freshman?
He didn’t come up and talk to me; why should I go talk to him?
No way would I risk the humiliation. My friends disagreed with my excuses.
I relied on brute stubbornness, added a resounding ‘no’ at their continued pleas.
“Talk to him,” they pressed.
Their insistence bordered on exasperation as they argued their case against mine, prepared to do it for me if I didn’t hurry up.
Go ahead, I wanted to say but knew if I stretched the truth — implied I might do it myself — they’d hold out. Eventually, I admitted to myself, their quest would all blow over like a hurricane turned into a tropical storm. My small infatuation with a guy three levels above my status would in fact disappear. How much damage their activity left in its wake remained to be determined.
With the sun at its highest point, the temperature in the upper nineties and sweaty from the long practice, my friends reached their limit of patience. They circled around me like vultures upon their prey.
“All we want you to do is say ‘hi’.”
“No,” I said.
“No.” My father had always referred to me as hardheaded.
“C’mon! We know he’ll be interested!”
The heat, their incessant pressure and that little bit of ‘what if?’, that clung to the back of my mind, pushed me over the edge.
I’d had enough.
“Just hi?” I didn’t give them time to finish. “Fine.”
I pushed out of the group of four, turned on my heel and stormed in a direct line to the field house. He sat with his elbows on his knees, his metallic sunglasses in the shape of perfect circles across his face and his signature spiky hair. A number of girls patted the flat top surface with their palms.
As I moved closer, he turned from his companion to me. If I’d taken a moment to break my tunnel vision, I’d have noted a number of other students turned as well.
Up the small hill I marched, planted my feet directly in front of him, looked down from where I stood.
“Hi!” My voice pitched high as I said it.
I stomped one foot onto the dry ground, turned around and quick-stepped my way back down the hill.
My friends stood with wide eyes and mouths open.
“There I said it!” My arms flung about me, created a breeze that did not exist in any other form.
Then, and only then did my mother’s words run through my head. Think before you speak.
End of Part II. Tune in for Part III on October 12th!