by Ellen Huggins
Where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, I’d told Asparagus that his hair looked like it was crafted by Jesus. And then we didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the year. Or the year after that.
But the fall of my junior year, my crush broke out like the acne on my forehead.
No longer abstract, but very real and very hard to get rid of. Asparagus now sits in front of me in Biology and I hate it. I honestly don’t want to be within five feet of him at any given time because I don’t know what to do with my hands and I get kinda sweaty, and that makes me feel like maybe he can smell my sweat and then I get so nervous, I sweat even more. And then I try to slyly smell my armpits just to make sure that they don’t reek — even though, how will that help anything? — and then he turns around to pass back papers, and he sees me smelling my armpits.
And can I just say that this is embarrassing to write about? It’s fine in my head because I can usually think in my own head without the judgement of myself. But when you write it down thinking, this is normal and fine and I feel great about telling people that I’m sorry, I don’t really know on a deep, personal level, the truth about the thing that basically consumes my life to the point where I’m not quite sure what to do with my time because I like this boy so much. And if anyone reading this or listening to this is thinking oh god, she is so boy crazy she’s ridiculous, this is honestly the most immature thing i’ve ever read, yikes! she is kind of pathetic, then I’m sorry. If I had to rate this from most to least fun feeling that I’ve ever experienced, I would put this near the middle. Do you think that this is fun?? It’s definitely not, because I’m legitimately embarrassed and I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry and I don’t know if I particularly love writing about this, but this is better than writing a song about it and performing it at the talent show. Because I was going to do that.
I wrote something along the lines of, “Am I too pudgy / is that why you dont like me / I’m sorry / I’m just a very big fan of pastries / because eclairs are better than those awkward stares / and I’d rather have cheesecake then pretend like you care.” And I pretty much spelled out exactly who “Asparagus” was. I actually think there was a part where I said something I liked about him for every letter of his name.
So, he would find out if I did that. Which, a part of me wants to happen, you know? A part of me wants to find out so I can just get the rejection over with already. I’d rather have that happen then have whatever is happening right now continue. Would that be worse? And what would even happen if he did like me back? Would he take me out on a date? Where? Where do people go on dates? For some reason swimming pools are the only destination that’s coming up, but I think I’m thinking of pool parties.
But I really don’t think that he would ever want to date me, because I went to his work over the summer, which I feel is actually incredibly weird considering we’ve never actually talked in the past,I mean we have talked (i.e the discussion of hair on the bus) but we’ve never TALKED, and this lack of communication might be foreshadowing my future as a stalker.
So my friend and I planned out a specific date and time, when we knew that he would be working, to go to Savers. That morning, I decide to wear a Hawaiian shirt. Maybe to spark old memories for him? To remember me from Spanish class? I can just tell you know that whatever attention-getting stunt I was trying to pull then didn’t work in freshman year, and it didn’t work this time.
And I was pumped. I was nervous too, but I was so prepared at the same time. I felt like every formal, waiting to get asked to dance, every well placed glance in the hallway, every quiz in Tiger Beat on ‘Who My Perfect Boyfriend Would Be’, it all happened for a reason, to build up to emphasis how important this moment was. This was going to be real. Really real! Then I had this moment of clarity. What was I doing? I was going to be speaking, like, words. To Asparagus. Not meaningful glances, not quizzes, no more waiting, but I was actually going to do something. And what was this grand gesture, to say hi? Then what? What happens after that? I had planned to say, “Oh hey Asparagus, I can’t believe you work here!” And what was he going to say back, “Yes, I do.”? That’s it. That is the end of the conversation. Then I’ll smile, and nod and say “Okay, well, see you in two months for school!” and then I’ll just leave? That’ll be it? Is this worth it? Is he worth it? What if he says to his friends, “That Huggins girl said hi to me at work, and it was so awkward. What a lame-o.” Well, he probably wouldn’t say lame-o, I think in 2015 only lame-os say lameo-o. Okay, no need to get ahead of yourself, Ellen. Just go in there, and when the moment is right, you will know what to do! Broccoli and I rode the light rail and that whole time I was thinking, this is it. Goodbye, my past self, this is the new frontier. I can sleep tonight knowing that I am a changed girl,nay, WOMAN, who faced her fears, and my journey into that abyss of romance ended with me getting a very promising potential chance at actually dating someone, or, possibly, if it all goes wrong, have my self esteem go past it’s current position at rock bottom, and hit subterranean levels. When I asked my friend if I should be nervous, she shrugged and said, “I really don’t think that you have anything to lose, but you definitely don’t have anything to gain” With that attitude, we walked up to the Savers.
If I could pinpoint the exact time that I knew that I had made a terrible mistake, I think it was in hour two. Asparagus had already passed us at least eight times, moving kiddies pools around from the register to the back of the store, which is where I was standing. I remember that I was in between the erotic novels and the teapots, and I was completely petrified. I couldn’t do anything. And my friend was no help, she stood near the VHS’s and kept her head down, and every time I tried to talk to her she mumbled how ‘she didn’t even really want to come’ and said, “Ellen, just talk to him so we can leave, I have to be home soon.” Okay, now this was too much. I came here to find love, and now there are scheduling restraints? And the chances of me actually finding that ‘love’ became less by the minute because what was I going to do, tap him on his shoulder and say “I was looking at this teapot in the shape of a goose, and browsing your wonderful erotica collection for the better part of two hours, and it just now struck me to say, ‘Oh hey, Asparagus, I can’t believe you work here!” Everything was falling apart, my supposed support system, my supposed romance. I felt like a piece of popcorn kernel stuck on a tooth. I really wanted to go home too, but at the same time I just had to stay for a reason that I can’t really describe. Was I really going to do anything? Probably not, but maybe.Eventually my friend and I walked out the door, but that maybe was still nagging. I felt like I missed something and I couldn’t just leave. After all that? No, something had to happen, good or bad.Here’s the thing about Savers, it has a dock on the side that people drop stuff off at, and the employees move it from there into the store. Specifically, Asparagus, Asparagus was out there. Well, I thought, this has got to be some kind of sign.That the universe wants us to together so much, it is giving me a slim second chance to talk to him. I turned to Broccoli. This was our dialogue.
Me: “I have to talk to him.” Her: “Okay, Go talk to him.” Me: “Can you come with me?” I really need you there with me.” Her: “No. You can go and embarrass yourself, but I am not involved in this.” Me: “Why do you always have to do this? Why can’t you ever just support me? Not everything is about you.” Her: “I came out here to do this with you, I never said that I would talk to him. If I talked to him with you, he might think that I have a crush on him.” Me: “That is ridiculous and you know it.”
The stress was getting to us, there was just too much tension. I should’ve taken whatever shred of dignity I had left, and walked away right then, but come on! Showing up to a guy’s work that you have a crush on just to talk to him, that’s one thing, but showing up to a guy that you have a crush on work and not saying anything? That was just a step too far, even for me. Broccoli and I calmed down and brainstormed ways I could approach him. “Okay,” she said. “I have an idea. This is a donation place, right?” “Right.” “So donate something. Go up to him, right now, hand him something you want to donate, and then walk away, super natural.” “Alright.” I said, so desperately wanting to talk to him I didn’t care how idiotic the pretenses were. “But I don’t have anything to donate.” I looked around in my backpack. But all I could find was a banana, and a book, that I had been reading on the Light Rail. “That’s perfect,” my friend told me. “What, this book?” “Yes, just walk up to him and give it to him!”
“But,” I argued, “I like this book.” “I hate that book,” Broccoli asserted. “And I own it. You can have my copy of it, after you give yours to him. Just go, and get it over with.” This dock at the side of the store, where Asparagus was moving things, was where people dropped off huge boxes full of old junk, recliners, bed frames, and enormous piles of clothes. My plan was going to walk up to him, with a single book in my hands, handing it to him, without a word, and walking away. There was no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t not think about how weird this act was, but at least he would be thinking about me, right?
I’m on the move. I take one step out into the emptiness of the parking lot. This is one of those moments where your entire life flashes before your eyes, your first day of school, losing your last baby tooth, your little brother being born. And, as corny as this might sound, I could feel everything shifting, like a train switching tracks. My future was moving a little to the left, and I knew everything was going to turn out differently. Maybe he would take me to the prom. Maybe he and I could get lockers side my side. Maybe I could meet his mom, and she would say, “I must’ve raised you right, Asparagus, because that girl is something else!” Maybe…. SHIT, he saw me. I duck behind a car, and I squat-run all the way out of the parking lot, down the street, and onto the Light Rail.
That epic saga of events is the thing that keeps me up at night. And I now I have to always remain on the good side of Broccoli, because if I don’t, she has plenty of good of blackmail material against me.
I don’t know, but you know what, Beyonce doesn’t write her own songs. I don’t know if that relates to anything, but i feel like it’s important to remember that you can’t do everything. Bey is an amazing singer, actress, performer, and mom but is she not a writer. And that’s not her fault. just like how it’s not really my fault that I am being ridiculous. Maybe I am just a ridiculous person. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past me. I’ve been questioning my coolness. Its existence mostly. Am I cool? That’s something I legitimately wonder sometimes. I still listen to the Jonas Brothers. Do I have subpar coolness levels? Or am I so exponential, that like Mario Kart, my competitors are so far behind me that’s the reason I don’t see anyone at my level?
But what’s more likely is that I pass someone, and think wow I’m cooler than them, when really I’m three laps behind and am in 13th place? That’s the deal with this love thing!!!! You think I’m joking? Wait, it gets worse.