In this thread on dating, folks are telling stories of romantic abuse, many of them bad experiences from high school.
It got me thinking about my high school days and how I’m different now than I was then. It also got me thinking about my main high school crush (unrequited, of course).
So, here’s a chance to tell a lighter and more wistful story. Perhaps that person you pined over but never got up the nerve to tell. Maybe you wished they noticed you, or maybe they did and you just didn’t know it. (Variations are okay). Who was your big crush? (high school, college, whenever).
Okay, I’ll start.
In high school, I was not the “life of the party” type. Shy and introverted would be pretty apt terms, especially around members of the opposite sex.
People I know now probably would not guess this, given that speaking in front of groups is now a pretty common thing for me. But then, it has to be when one teaches college classes. And I’m also on the microphone regularly – I teach dance lessons at a local club on Friday nights. How different now from the shy, gawky, invisible kid in high school.
So, the girl that made my little high-school heart go pitter-pat was named Joanna. Her last name was just behind mine alphabetically – so she was in my homeroom in my freshman year, as well as assigned to the desk behind me in my geometry class. This made me extremely happy. (There was also a rather pretty girl sitting in front of me, so I was fortunate to be surrounded by beauty in 4th period). Being good at math, I would help Joanna with some of the problems. Oh, how I loved geometry class – it was the one I looked forward to every day.
I’m sure I was only a friend to her, but I always hoped and wished that there would be some hint, some inkling, some clue that she thought of me as more. Alas, I was too shy to say anything myself.
She was in another of my classes in my sophomore year and again assigned to the seat behind me. What bliss! By my junior year, her mother had re-married and she was legally adopted by her stepfather, so her last name changed, meaning she was no longer in my homeroom. While this was a bummer, we still had the same English class, and the teacher didn’t do an alphabetical seating chart – we got to pick our seats this time. I made sure to get the one right in front of her.
However, junior and especially senior year, I saw her less often, and had less chance to interact with her. She had her own different group of friends, and while we were in a common class in the senior year, we weren’t seated in close proximity. Reality had kicked in. It seemed we talked more and were better friends in those shared classes in the first two years. Especially in that 9th grade Geometry.
The one day that still stands out in my mind – a very good day – was a vocational career day where some companies had booths set up, and we got to leave Geometry early to go over to the building and look through the displays. Joanna walked over there with me, and rather than heading off in our own directions, she stuck with me while we looked through the different rooms and booths. When there was a booth she was interested in, I waited while she looked, and she did likewise for me. That felt pretty special. She drifted in her own direction in the following years (and probably never knew how I felt about her), but for that one glorious day… she was all mine.
Epilogue: I saw Joanna again at my 10 year high school reunion, recently married. She wasn’t at the 5-year get-together, so I hadn’t seen her since high school. It was good to see her again. Maybe at the next reunion, if she’s there, I’ll tell her she was my teenage crush…
(There’s another one that comes to mind, from college. Less “unrequited”, though. I’ll save it for another post).