Doomed From The Start

Submitted into Contest #232 in response to: Write a story about someone looking for a sign in a dark sky.... view prompt

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Romance Fiction Teens & Young Adult

My cheeks were still fleshy, my tint youthful and curious when I met you. Or rather beheld you. Only a glimpse of your Maui T-shirt was enough to tell me you were bad news, an honored member of the Snobbish and Idle Jocks of Corindale Middle School, a cult name I coined between myself and I. I knew, observing your handshakes and your amiable gestures toward your fellow douchebags, that you had it all: popularity (among students and teachers, though most weren’t fond of you), cool kicks, naïve little sixth graders gifting you their full attention as though you were a wise mentor. You wobbled around the school with your backpack sagging down your back, your headphones resting on your head, your shorts hiked up past mid-thigh, always thinking highly of yourself, or so most suspected, and for some odd, bizarre, incredibly puzzling reason - my eighth grade self developed a crush. 

I had a friend whom I shared all my secrets with, superficial and not. Melody and I were two, quiet girls who were new to the school, silently eating our turkey sandwiches with caution and alertness flashing across our eyes, watching, practically anticipating for a cheerleader (or five) wanting to pick on us. Melody, as I’m sure you don’t remember, wore glasses too small for her face, so it appeared that her face was enormous, though it really wasn’t. Now that I think about it, I’m sure you must recall her - she sat in front of you in math class. 

Melody and I, being friends since grade two, naturally have a connection in which we silently pass judgemental thoughts, encouraging compliments, or sad confessions through our eyes. We were both new students, fresh out of the private-school-oven, two soft loaves of sweetness being set out on the counter for mold to grow on us and our plush insides to harden. During lunchtime on the first day of school, the two of us sat quietly next to each other, scanning the cafeteria of nearly 200 kids, all of various colors, heights, shapes. 

“How’s your first day so far?” I said, breaking the unbearable tension, or at least attempting to.

“It’s okay,” Melody replied, still chewing on a bite of her sandwich, “I guess it’s a little overwhelming. Public school classes are big opposed to what I’m, what we’re, used to.”

“Yeah. Any cute guys?” Melody hesitated. She’s always been that way, a little ashamed of talking to or about guys.

“No,” she finally said swiftly. 

“Oh, c’mon. There’s gotta be at least someone - at least one person.” Again, a moment of hesitation.

“I guess there’s this one boy - Hudson.”

“Who is he?” She pointed at you. Overstated is a phrase I am about to say, specifically in romance books, but why not romanticize a little? 

I felt fireworks. 

I look back and I wonder, Am I ever going to feel that again? But then I remember that that was only a chilling rush of dopamine, not love. I realize I was a total main character in my middle school days, but it’s my life. Why shouldn’t I be?

I saw your hair first. You had big hair. Beachy and almost crusty, you looked like you were just surfing in Malibu. Then I saw your shirt, the medicine pink, Maui tee, your bright blue Nike shorts, hiking up your leg, and your Nike Blazers - low tops, to be exact. Personally, I’m not a fan of low top shoes, but aside from that, I realized who you were. You were one of them. The boys I was told to stay away from by my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my newly acquainted public school friends. All of them advised me to stay away from the jerks, the ones who were filled with an abundance of chicanery. Of course, one can’t tell one's personality by the exterior solely, but regardless, if the group of incompetent young football players doesn’t give away your status, your outfit sure did. 

“Oh,” I mumbled, “Cute.” And the craziest thing was that I did think you were cute, though most people disregarded that opinion.

“What about you, Giuliette?”

“No. They’re all - mediocre.”

Of course, I didn’t want to tell my best friend that I felt fireworks toward her crush. However, the very next day, as I was sitting insecurely at our claimed table in the least-populated corner of the cafeteria and unpacking my brown paper lunch bag, Melody approached the table with a sense of urgency, slamming her periwinkle and white lunch pale on the iron surface. Fifth period, the period right before lunch, was when you and Melody had math together.

“I hate him,” she starts, irritation trapped in her voice. “He is so obnoxious.” Evidently, since Melody and I have a natural connection, I knew she was referring to you.

“Hm,” I muttered, at a loss for words since I was slowly experiencing a sense of liking towards you. “Uh - yeah, I could tell he was an annoying douchebag.” That I could, and yet…

“I can’t believe I was so swayed by his good looks. He’s not even cute, to be honest.” 

“Yeah, not really. I just said he was cute yesterday to affirm your opinion.” Lies. Oh, how I was lying, and to my best friend. 

Now that she had strong, loathing thoughts about you, it furthered my reasoning to not tell her that I liked you and thought you were cute. I knew she wouldn’t judge me per se, and yet, I had this itching feeling that if I told anyone, they would think it strange that I like such a popular, surface-level guy - no offense, of course.

I never wanted to tell you, and at the same time, I had this aching urge in my gut to smile at you, wink at you, wave, talk, DM…but to be frank, you were intimidating. You were the king of Corindale Middle; everyone knew you, you - almost knew everyone; you were the one to participate in fights, you were the one to get yelled at by a teacher, every teacher except Miss Londonberg who swooned over you and caressed your shoulders while being nearly 60-years-old. She desperately needed help, if not retirement. By the way, I noticed your state of discomfort every time you walked into her classroom for the enrichment period; your body tensed up in such a way, I wonder how she never picked up on your dislike towards her.

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in the fact that I was so shy and think we never had any interactions, but that’s not true. You, in fact, came up to me several times during our eighth grade year. One instance was when I was standing in the lunch line, wanting to get some apple juice. You abruptly snuck your way in front of me and looked into my eyes. That’s the first time I saw your iris, the way it uniquely twisted, the blue-green color, like that of the clearest ocean. It’s difficult to understand how I, someone I’ve always seen as having an exotic, specific taste in men, could have fallen, if even that, for someone so…typical: white, blue-eyed, blond hair, athletic, popular. 

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but yours were so beautiful that they distracted me. 

“Wassup?” you asked, your arm extended out to me, your hand balled into a fist. I didn’t know what to do. Why is he talking to me? What do I say back? Do I say something back? Gosh, these butterflies hurt…no, they're not butterflies, they’re bees. I was starstruck, I was in awe, I was - most likely going to be sick. Is it normal to feel this way when approached by your crush? I might’ve been exaggerating. 

“Um -” I started, and glanced at our table where Melody was munching away. Then, I found myself sitting right back in my chair, adjacent to Melody. I had run away. I had escaped. But when I peered back, you were gazing at me. 

From that moment, I imagined you and me together - like, being a couple. I pictured me running into your arms, big and strong, warmly embracing me; I pictured you jumping out from behind the tennis courts while I’m waiting for the bus and plant kisses in my hair; I pictured me grasping your hand while watching a scary movie in the theater…and then I envisioned you grasping mine, a horrified expression painting your vanilla-creamed face. My dreams were vivid. Unrealistic, I know, but vivid. 

I understood that you weren’t good enough for me, though. I understood that, if we were to find the pleasure of being in a relationship, it would be ephemeral - we were doomed from the start, a start that never was. I tried looking for indications that we were meant to be, delusional nights were spent wandering through thoughts and encounters, desperately seeking signs of you and I. It was like looking in a dark sky for something that never existed, that was never sculpted as even an idea.

January 13, 2024 03:05

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