Yes, I am telling you, that IS the reason why I was red faced in every high school picture, and probably the reason why I never blush anymore. It's not like I was permadrunk throughout high school or anything, I actually have a somewhat reasonable excuse for always being so red. I was always red as a beet because I was consistently and never endingly embarrassed. Why? Because of Mr. Powell and my damn loudmouth friends. I know that it sounds absurd, but you would have turned red too, trust me.
Have I told you what I had to undergo in my senior year?? If I did, you would not be laughing my friend, you would be buying me chocolate, and worshipping me for living through such absolute travesty.
Ok, so, picture this. I'm walking along, minding my own business, when all of a sudden… BAM! My friend Tanya is at my side. We begin chatting, we're both walking towards history class, where of course, he's the teacher. Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Powell, beautiful, divinely intelligent, history god, passes us, and I smile in faint recognition. Before you know it, out the words slip from Tanya's mouth, like evil demon babies from HELL, "HEY ANNIE, CAN I GET YOU A BUCKET TO CATCH YOUR DROOL? Or should I just get a mop to wipe it up??" My face turns red. Well, no shit it turns red, he's within friggin two feet of us, and she's just yelled this obscene item so loudly, that I'm sure that even people in China are cowering from the sheer volume of it. Snapshot: we enter the history classroom a minute later, right after the man in question. My friend Caley sees me, snickers, and says, in what she claims was a whisper, "Hey Mr. Powell, it's your girlfriend!!" It may have been a whisper… but it certainly didn't help the colour of my face. I swear by that time in the day, people must have thought that I had a permaburn.
So, that day would constitute as a mere pinprick to my ego, in consideration of all of the various forms of ego degrading TORTURE that followed. One day, this girl, Gill, walked into the grad room and announced, "Hey guys, Mr. Powell just walked into the staff room with a sombrero on, very funny." And, I, being polite as I am replied, "I'm sure that it was." Of course, my friend Maggie, who was as baked as a potato put in the microwave for 50 minutes, says, "Do you know what else would be really fun??" And then, she proceeds to yell into the vent that connects the senior room to the staff room, "Annie Dryden is in love with Mr. Powell, and wants to see him wearing a sombrero…. And nothing else!" Well, isn't that just bloody fabulous? Ah, yes, you can imagine that I was just grinning from ear to ear for the rest of MY LIFE. And you can imagine, every single day of high school was much of the same, because when you go to an all- girls private school, things like student crushes on teachers just seem oh so much funnier.
One more anecdote, just one, I assure you this is the last. Ok, imagine that it's the last day of school, and you're at your grad lunch, where one of the speakers is a girl who graduated from your high school two years previously. To be humorous, she is listing off things that we, the graduating class, will most likely miss about our school. Guess what number 8 is?? Guess what number 8 is, and keep in mind the fact that I am sitting at the same table as the god who walks among men. Number 8 is: "You will most likely miss your enormous crush on Mr. Powell." And guess what happens when those words are uttered? Can you guess? Can you?? Every single head within the room turns, in what could be equated to some warped domino effect, in my direction. And every single pair of eyes in that room observes as I turn redder then a cherry… redder then a tomato… redder then the red sea…. REDDER THEN RUDOLPHE'S FRIGGIN RED- ASS NOSE!!!… so red that you would expect my face to explode, and my brains to land in my spaghetti. But no, my face does not explode, although, such a fate in that exact moment would have been entirely and completely welcome, I assure you. Instead, I sense one unexpected pair of eyes on my steaming face (because yes, I am sure now that there is actually STEAM rising from it), one pair of eyes that have never rested on my face in quite that manner before. I turn to him then… then, when the world is spinning around me, and I seem doomed to be red in the face for the rest of my mortal existence. I turn to him, and.. He doesn't frown, or turn away in disgust. He doesn't puke, or yell profanities in a tone of outrage. And he's not red! God, if I was him, I'd be even redder then me! Instead, and trust me, this shocked me to the max, he very slying, and very subtly… winks at me. That's right, he winks at me. Mr Powell, history god, son of the immortals, walking, talking encyclopaedia of knowledge, winks at ME… little old, incessantly awkward and gangly, red faced, me. And suddenly, my face isn't hot anymore, it's back to its normal shade of pale perfection, and I'm grinning from ear to ear like a kid in a candy store.
And, do you know what? I haven't looked back since, let me tell you that much. In fact, I think that I blushed so much in that last year of high school, that my face has actually run out of blushes. It's like I've run out of blush coupons and the store of perpetual embarrassment has officially closed down for business. I just don't feel embarrassment as much anymore, nothing really phases me after a year of never-ending awkwardness. I just think of that wink, that wink which shook my world into its proper order, and I tell myself, if he could find the courage within him to do nothing but wink in that moment of complete and utter embarrassment, then I can wink at every awkward situation that comes my way. So, if you see me winking at you later, it's not because I want you.. sorry Josh. It's because, quite the opposite, you've made me feel very, very awkward, only now, I'm mature enough to laugh it off, or wink it off, should I say?