Often, I am haunted by the feeling of inadequacy. That nothing I do is good enough, that I'm not doing enough, that I'm not giving enough. I grew up with a very critical father and his many critiques always wormed their way into my life. My father is also the reason why I tend to close myself off from guys. There has only been one guy in my life that I was willing to let completely in—but he never ventured to find that. There have been many who've sought knowing my entire being—my first boyfriend and my best guy friend Ben and my most recent ex, Drake. I came very close with Drake, but unfortunately, my feelings for Zack just overflowed and I couldn't be with him anymore. I was literally praying that Drake would dump me, I felt so guilty. But that story's for another chapter.
Knitting club. He was there, every meeting. My interest in knitting waned but my interest in Zack did not. I started noticing him further in my art class. I tried to force the feelings away—like I mentioned, I'm not very good at dealing with crushes. The stronger the feelings became, the more nervous I got around him.
Zack had a brother named Randy. Randy also happened to be a close friend of my brother Chet, which I didn't know until Chet weaseled out the name of my crush. Chet was delighted. He started trying to push me to ask Zack out, a prospect that terrified the hell out of me. He even offered to pay me seventy dollars.
When I told my best guy friend Ben this, he immediately offered to top his twenty-five to Chet's seventy. In essence, I would've gotten ninety-five dollars if I'd asked him out.
I wish I had, but unfortunately, it was too much to ask a scared fifteen-year-old. I have a feeling Zack knew about my crush on him—we attended a very small high school. I also took to frequenting the soccer field after school. My friends Nancy, Haley, and Lisa were on the girls' soccer team which Zack helped coach. My excuse was that I liked watching them practice and enjoyed visiting Nancy (who is my best friend, by the way). Anyone with half a brain knew that the only reason I went down there was to see him.
I remember a certain time when I strolled pseudo-casually down to the soccer field and started casually chatting with Nancy and Haley. Did I mention I was being casual? I noticed out of the corner of my eye (more like my entire gaze, actually) Zack trotted down to where we were and started kicking a ball around, doing tricks with it and whatnot. Thinking about this makes me smile and wish even more I'd asked him out—even if he'd rejected me, I'd still have gotten ninety-five dollars.
Our chats were often short and tedious but I remember each and every one of them. Sad? Probably. But I never asked him out nor told him I liked him.
That summer, he left for college. I went on a school trip to Europe. When I returned, I met up with Haley. I asked her how her summer was.
"Well, I went to Mike Johnson's funeral, which was sad," She told me.
"Yeah, you know, Zack and Randy's dad? He passed away."
My stomach lurched. All I could think about was Zack. He was leaving for college and he'd lost his father. I asked how they were doing.
"Zack seemed okay. I don't think Randy's doing very well…he broke down at the funeral." Haley had said.
I felt horrible for the Johnson's. I have three brothers, I knew from experience that just because Zack seemed outwardly all right, it didn't mean anything. I bought him a stupid Hallmark condolences card and sent it to him on a whim. I regretted it immediately after, fretting about it for weeks.
But then I stopped. I moved on. I prayed for him occasionally, saw him a few times on facebook. I realized later with a horrible swallow that he was attending the same college I was—Smith and Wesson University. He was going for soccer, I was going for horses. But I didn't worry too much. After two years, I doubted we'd even remember each other that well.
A pity I was wrong.
Life moved on. I enjoyed the rest of my high school years happily. I started dating my best guy friend Ben for about three months. I broke it off when he told me he loved me. I felt that things were going too seriously—which was true—but even more so, I knew that my feelings for him weren't as strong as they should have been if I were in love with him. I'd felt more passionate about Zack—but I firmly pushed that out of my mind.
My senior year I dated casually two guys, one named Harrison, a guy who broke my heart when I was a freshman and another named Steve. I dated Harrison mostly for revenge and promptly dumped him when he tried to stick his tongue down my throat at a carwash. Steve and I broke up pretty much mutually—mostly out of boredom and also for the fact that Steve turned out to be gay. Steve and I remain very close friends, however.
Then at the end of my senior year, I met Drake. I would like to skip over Drake as he turned out to be an ass, but he's rather integral to the story, so bear with me. Drake was close friends with my best friend (I had two, Nancy and Rin) Rin. I hesitated dating Drake because I thought Rin would be uncomfortable with it but Rin insisted. We dated unofficially for about five months—officially three months. Drake was the most serious relationship I'd ever been in. I actually thought he was the One.
But unfortunately, life took over.
At my first day at Smith and Wesson, my roommate, Julia and I went to the dome where they were offering free ice cream to the students. As I was walking into the building, I suddenly saw him walking out. Him meaning Zack. Zack Johnson.
He looked at me and I looked at him. We both did a double take.
I couldn't believe he remembered my name.
"You go here now?" He'd asked in warm surprise.
I gulped. "Yeah…yeah, I do…"
And then the feelings for him, the feelings that had remained buried for two years roared back to life. And it didn't take long to realize that they were much stronger and much more serious than what I had with Drake.
AN: I'd love reviews.