I FINALLY DID IT

I FINALLY DID IT

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

I Finally Did It

If you play it safe in life, you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow anymore.

Shirley Hufstedler

It was the last day of school of my sophomore year. I had just finished my English final, and everyone else in my class was exchanging their yearbooks to be signed. That’s when he walked over—Jason, the six-foot-two, 175-pound, blond-haired, brown-eyed, mega-hottie, varsity football player, who I had been crushing on for four years. He came over to the girl I was sitting next to and asked her to sign his yearbook. He gave her his yearbook and went to the other side of the room to talk to some of his friends. When she finished writing, I asked her if I could have his yearbook. She agreed and handed it over. There I sat with Jason’s yearbook. What was I going to write? Where would I even begin? I was shaking, and I could feel my face turning red. Whatever I was going to write, I had to do so quickly. I picked up my pen and started writing:

Dear Jason,

Another year has gone by. A chapter in our lives has come to an end and another one is about to begin. I guess now would be as good a time as any to tell you that I’ve had a crush on you since the seventh grade. I’ve been to almost all of your football games, and I’ve caught myself many times over the past few years staring at you in the hallways and in class more than one should. I think you are a wonderful person.

Love,
Katherine

Maybe it wasn’t exactly that word-for-word, but it was pretty close. When Jason came back to get his yearbook, he had to ask who had it since the girl he left it with no longer did. This was my chance to talk to him and tell him I had it. When I did, he got this strange look on his face. I handed him his yearbook, and he went back to his desk. I watched him open the yearbook to where the girl sitting next to me had written. He read it then turned the page. My heart started pounding because I knew that was the page I had written on. He turned his yearbook to the side, and I knew then that he was reading my message. As he read his half-smile gave way to a full grin. I had no idea what to make of it. Was it good he was smiling? I think he was surprised that I had a crush on him, but I wasn’t sure if he even cared. I guess I thought it was pretty obvious that I liked him.

Ever since middle school I would get all flustered and blush every time he was near me. In eighth grade during math class, he asked me once if he could borrow a pencil. When I got that pencil back, I treasured it and held on to it for a year or so, until I lost it. Then at eighth-grade graduation, my friend was trying to get her camera to work and she accidentally took a picture. Coincidentally, when she got her film developed, it was Jason she had accidentally taken a picture of. I took it home and framed it. In ninth grade he borrowed my calculator and I know it’s crazy, but he left a fingerprint on it, and I was extremely careful not to wipe it off. It stayed there for a good few months until I finally came to my senses and realized how insane I was acting.

Jason finally closed his yearbook, picked it up and went over to one of his friends. He said something to him, and then they both slipped out of the classroom with Jason’s yearbook. I realized I should have written “for your eyes only” in big red letters in hopes he wouldn’t share it with others. But that probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. I had a feeling he was showing his friend. Was it all a big joke to him? Or could it have been that he was truly touched by my sincerity and flattered by my words?

Jason and his friend came back into the classroom but not to stay. He rounded up some other friends and went back outside with, yes, his yearbook. A few minutes later the bell rang. Jason and all of his friends returned to the classroom to get their things. I didn’t talk to him after that, and he never said anything more to me. Honestly, though, I wasn’t really expecting anything to happen between us. I had placed Jason on a pedestal in middle school and never took him down. To me, he was the type of guy a girl like me could only dream about. For the past four years I had wished on every star, birthday candle and wishing well that we would be high-school sweethearts. I had laughed at his jokes and felt bad when he got hurt. But that day as I walked out of the classroom and shut the door behind me, I felt a sense of pride even after what had happened. I took a chance and told him how I felt. Even though it didn’t turn out like a fairy tale— happily ever after—I was glad I did it. I felt closure, relief and satisfaction. I was able to put it behind me and move on. All of those years I had kept it inside, wondering “what if?” and being too scared to take a chance. I wasn’t left wondering anymore. Now I knew.

Katherine Rowe

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