25: The Love Letter

25: The Love Letter

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

The Love Letter

I bet people can actually die of embarrassment. I bet it’s been medically proven.

~Angela, My So-Called Life

I’d had a crush on Michelle for three years, dating back to sixth grade. Whether it was due to her adorable black curls, sky-blue eyes, or preternaturally developing chest, I cannot say (though I could guess). Even though Michelle continued to show a remarkable ambivalence towards me, my secret crush continued. Every time we spoke, my mind froze to the point where I couldn’t conjure an original thought and therefore just repeated whatever she said.

“Hey Harris.”

“Hey Michelle.”

“Whatcha doing?”

“Nothing, whatchoo doing?”

“Nothing.”

“Yeah, same here. Nothing at all.”

Pause.

“See ya later Harris.”

“Okay, see ya later Michelle.”

Eventually, I decided that enough was enough. It was time to step up to the plate and be a man. So I did. Sort of.

Since I remained far too shy to talk to her, I did the next best thing—I wrote her a letter. In it, I told her how much I liked her, how much I talked about her when I wasn’t at school, and how much I wanted to go out with her. Though my plan seemed to make sense at the time, if I could do it all over again, I’d probably do two things differently. One, I wouldn’t have written it in the third person, and two, I wouldn’t have signed my brother’s name.

My idea was to have my brother “write” a letter to Michelle, explaining the aforementioned details, but also explaining how shy I was, and how if she felt likewise towards me, she should ask me out. What could go wrong?

“Hey Harris,” Michelle greeted me in the school hallway, the day after I dropped the note in her desk when she was away.

“Hey Michelle.”

“I got a note from your brother yesterday.”

“Really?” I asked, scrunching up my face. Why was she telling me? It specifically stated not to tell me that he wrote the note.

“It was real interesting,” she smugly stated.

“Why would Rich write you a letter?”

“He supposedly wrote it to tell me that you liked me.” Supposedly? I had a sinking feeling.

“He what?!? I’m gonna kill him!”

“You don’t have to.”

“Oh, no? Why not?” Hmmm, I thought, maybe she does like me. Maybe she’s going to tell me so right now. Maybe this’ll be the beginning of a great story to tell our grandkids someday.

“Cause I asked him about it.”

“You,” I stammered, “you asked him about it?”

“Yeah. He didn’t know anything about it. So I showed it to him.”

“You, um, you showed it to him?”

“Yeah, he said you wrote it.”

“Me? I wrote it?”

“That’s what he said.”

And then we stood there. She, eyeing me, waiting for some sort of explanation. And me, my mind going... blank. Completely, absolutely, unequivocally blank. I stared at the note, trying to make it burst into flames. No luck.

“Well?” she finally asked, leaning in.

After a few more excruciatingly long seconds, I gave her the only answer I could.

“He’s lying.”

Taken aback a bit, she asked, “Why would he lie?”

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask him.”

“But I did ask him. He said you wrote it.”

“And I’m saying he’s lying.”

“But... well, I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway,” Michelle countered. She crumbled up the letter and continued, “Just don’t leave any more notes in my locker, okay?”

“I’ll be sure to tell him.”

“Whatever,” she said, starting to walk away from me.

As I turned to walk to the school bus, I felt numb. I couldn’t believe that my ingenious plot had backfired. Love had blinded me to the possibility that she might attempt to contact the author to seek more details, or to explain her non-interest.

I knew that from that moment on, every class I had with Michelle was going to be a chore. I’d have to avoid eye contact at all costs, worried that I’d catch her friends pointing and laughing at me, as she read passages from my love letter with a cartoon-like voice. I guess it could be worse, I thought. After all, I was only in three classes with her. It could’ve been six. Though still numb, I began to feel a little better.

Then I stopped in my tracks and felt sick again. I broke out in a cold sweat as a knot the size of a baseball took residence in my throat. I may only have had three classes with Michelle, but I lived with my brother.

~Harris Bloom

More stories from our partners