I was telling a good friend recently that I was never one of those kids who had “girlfriends” in grade school. I watched quizzically while the other kids had those little meaningless relationships usually based on nothing more than a few notes being traded back and forth. Not that I wasn’t at all interested, it just wasn’t part of my world as a short, weirdly-dressed boy. I remember as a teenager a friend’s older brother asking me about the “girlfriends” I might have had as a kid, and he was astounded when I told him there were none.
In 9th Grade, this friendly popular boy who I’d known for years asked me if I wanted to help carry the Freshman float during halftime of the Homecoming game. (Quick aside, typing out that last sentence makes me realize how absurd being alive really is) I figured what the hell, I was planning to go to the game anyway. So me and a few other “not-popular-but-in-the-middle-sort-of-blending-in” type boys carried the float. Problem being, I was still pretty short at this point, and I didn’t help carry the float so much as I reached up to touch it while it was being carried. I think only my one good friend noticed and laughed at me later. But that's not the sad story.
Fast forward a couple years to my second year of 10th Grade. I had flunked the prior year, and was still considered a Sophomore. I didn't really care at this point. I just wanted it all to go away. I did have my eye on this girl though. She sat at the same lunch table with me and all the other weirdos. I had grown some by now and fancied myself a Cobain-esque rebel, so I had a little more confidence. It didn't seem so far fetched that I could go out with a girl. I didn't particularly care about Homecoming or school dances, but the timing was such that it fell in my lap.
Looking back, how it went down was obviously wrong. The topic of Homecoming came up at our table one day when the event was closing in on us, and she happened to mention that she wasn't going. I don't remember if it was my suggestion (probably was), but the idea of she and I going together was brought up. Others at the table, myself included, began to pressure her. I said something to the effect of "What are you afraid of?," and she reluctantly agreed. The table cheered this arrangement, and we all departed for class.
Minutes later, I was at my locker, when a friend of hers tapped me on the shoulder. "You know she was just kidding, right?" My heart sank into my stomach. "Oh, I know!" I falsely claimed. I walked to my next class, defeated. I relayed the tale to this friendly, kind of berserk metalhead guy I sat next to. He offered me strange, words of comfort that I can't recall.
All who I told what happened felt sympathy for me, but like I said, looking back it was a messed up situation. I was humiliated by it all, but she had agreed under peer pressure, and then understandably wanted to bail. I was also annoyed, because it was a stupid idea to begin with. I'm not sure I would have been a good date for her anyway, it'd of helped to have had my shit together a little more. So in the end, this is just a story.