Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chapter Eighteen: A Feeling Reciprocated

It was basketball season and the next day happened to be a game day. On game day, the cheerleaders were required to wear their uniforms to school, so I woke up and put on my black skirt and red and white fitted top. I hated wearing my uniform to school because I froze all day. I was beyond nervous about seeing Darin. I didn’t even know what we would do when we saw each other and to be quite honest, I was afraid of bursting into wild laughter due to crazy nerves. I walked in to first hour and sat in my usual seat on the back row. Darin was diagonal to my desk and Amber was directly next to me. Channel One, a morning news show for students was playing and I whispered to Amber about all that happened. Darin watched intently on the screen before us pretending everything was normal and fine. Just then, a commercial played and we both looked up. It was a guy standing in his school hallway, talking to a girl. He fidgeted and blurted out, “I’m attracted to you.”

I stopped dead in my tracks. I had never in my life heard someone pronounce their declaration of “like” in that way, and now I had heard it the night before AND on television the next morning. The color drained from my face and I dreaded Darin turning around and smiling. I wouldn’t know what to do. I nervously started scribbling on my notebook and Darin’s eyes never left the TV. Phew, that was close. Amber was next to me laughing like a hyena the entire time and I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I still was very sick to my stomach and decided to leave school early. I talked with my cheer coach and we decided it was better for me to not go to the game that night and to stay home and rest. I went home, fell asleep and woke up that evening ready to respond to “the letter”. I wanted to write him on paper, like he did for me, but I knew he was anxious to receive a response, so I e-mailed him.

I sat down and started typing. Type, Type, Type, backspace, backspace, backspace. This went on for a good 30 minutes. I finally got out that I was attracted to him too, but that I didn’t think we should pursue a dating relationship just yet. I told him I felt that if anything were to happen with us romantically, it would be down the road…

I knew we needed more time.

He agreed completely with me due to some other circumstances going on in our lives at that point and we continued being the best of friends. Best friends who happened to like each other. But something changed with us in those few days. I felt closer to him. I felt more comfortable knowing that he liked me, and that I liked him. I didn’t know how to process what happened and how we were feeling, but it was easier to have at least SOME knowledge of where he stood. And it was a relief to admit to myself where I stood. I was still leery and very protective of my feelings, but I felt as if we had an understanding. A secret understanding that was just known between the two of us.

And Amber.

And Mom.

Everyone around us prodded and pushed us to “be together”, but we were in no hurry. It was my last year of high school, and I wanted to enjoy my time with my friends – and not drop off the face of the earth because I had a boyfriend, like so many of my friends had done. I didn’t want to miss out on everything. I wanted to deepen my friendship with Darin. And first and foremost, I wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the plan of God for us to date. Since I was not 100% positive, we remained friends and continued to soak our relationship in prayer. Everyday. We hung out at least three times a week aside from school and a huge group of our friends were always around – though it didn’t always seem like it. We were captivated with each other and I found him to be the most interesting person I had ever talked to. He made me laugh constantly and our inside jokes were bountiful. In all actuality, people probably thought we were annoying.

Um, let’s face it, there is no probably about it. We were annoying.

But it was incredible knowing that such a fun, smart, interesting, cute-as-all-get-out boy liked me! We were having the time of our lives.