OK, so I may not have been an angel when I was young but I certainly felt like a very soft and vulnerable cherub at this time in my life. In fact when some of my old school friends read this, they’ll almost choke at the suggestion, especially seeing that I practically lived in detention during my last years of high school.
In the first part of my story I shared that I was a frightened boy acutely aware that everyone in my school knew of my great shame, that everyone knew I was hopelessly pursuing a relationship that would never occur. That the only outcome was a broken heart and a river of tears.
But I was wrong. In fact the most common response to the first part of my story was. “Hey, I had no idea Rod was so into Sally. Gee Teenagers are self absorbed”. That somewhat placates the grown man I am today but I can assure you the teenager I was at the time thought his whole world was collapsing.
My boyhood desire for Sally C. grew the same way all teen desires does. We went to the same school, we shared a seat on the school bus. We shared jokes and I regaled her with stories of the amazing exploits that only a teenage male could find fascinating. She smiled, she laughed, she even once curtsied when I laughingly presented the backseat of the bus to her with a flourishing “Your throne awaits m’lady”
I knew she had no date for the end of year leavers dinner. Our equivalent to a Seniors Formal. I had just two goals for that year. First to get Sally to accept my invitation to be my date for the biggest night of my young life, and secondly if I could get her to agree to be my date for one night, then maybe I could eventually convince her that I was good boyfriend material despite what our teachers thought of me.
So it caught me breathless when someone came to me in the school yard to tell me that Sally had been talking about her new boyfriend. A boy, that was not only not from our school, but someone I didn’t even know. I had no idea how to compete with someone that had seemingly waltzed in and stolen the heart of the one person I wanted to share my soul with.
Like any normal 16 year old, Sally had been telling our mutual friends of the great guy she had started going out with and sharing the stories of their great desire for each other in a way that is especially unique to teenagers.
One of the traits of ladies of all ages that I’ve always found completely fascinating is their hesitation in un-necessarily hurting someones feelings if it seems too cruel to do so. I know that young people can be hard on each other as they stretch their wings and find their own place in society but there have been instances where I’ve seen a young lady hold her tongue at a time when men or boys would have taken the option to score a point.
One time that I saw this occur was heading home on our bus in the afternoon and boy was I glad of it, for it was I, that was saved from public humiliation by a young girls tender heart.
Another girl had heard about Sally’s new boyfriend and asked to be told all about it. The excitement on Sally’s face, that someone else would come and ask all about her new love, was liking watching a small child open a Christmas present to find, she’d received the one gift she’d always wanted. She wanted to shout about it from the roof tops.
Then just as she was about to respond, she stopped and looked over at me. I know how horrible I felt as I watched this interaction between two friends and I gather, I must have looked even worse. My heart was screaming as I watched with eyes as big as dinner plates, I thought my humiliation was about to get very real.
And as if sensing, that this was crossing some kind of line, Sally sat bolt upright and simply stated “It’s none of your business” and despite the pleading. She never relented. I looked at her and mouthed “Thank You” to her. She smiled and we both sat silently staring out the window for the rest of the trip.
Something changed that day. I thought, my dreams were about to come true but I was wrong. Things were about to get a whole lot worse.