I think all of us have had at least one horrifically embarrassing, unrequited crush.
But, unlike in the movie Sixteen Candles, the geeky girl rarely ends up with the Golden Boy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m sure it could happen…but not for this gawky, bookish, scared-of-her-own-shadow kind of girl.
I can still feel my heart racing as I remember leaning against my locker, books clutched to my chest, waiting for my ‘Jake’ to pass on his way to class. I prayed he would look at me, but had no idea what I would do if he did.
Then one day, it happened. Our eyes locked across the crowded corridor, and he smiled—just a little smile—but it was enough to send my out-of-control imagination into hyper-drive. The boy with the luscious brown eyes, sexy ponytail, and ripped jeans noticed me! Not one to wait around for fate to shine upon our now inevitable love affair, I abandoned my non-involvement policy and joined the ‘football buddies’ club. Showing up at the first meeting, I took out several cheerleaders and a very large female track star in my haste to get to the signup sheet first and earn the right to decorate Jake’s locker before every football game.
As any of my good friends will tell you, I’m a wee bit obsessive when I get an idea in my head. And I *knew*, as I poured every ounce of creativity I had into the most elaborate locker decorations anyone at BHS had ever seen, that Jake would not be able to help falling in love with me. Never mind that Jake was a star athlete with the soul of a tortured poet, or that he was so beautiful he could’ve had his pick of any girl in our ginormous high school—somehow the stars would align and when he saw me in the halls, he would know we were meant to be together.
Well folks, as you can imagine, it didn’t quite happen that way. But what did happen was even more surprising.
At the end of football season, every football buddy, whose identity was to remain secret, wore their player’s jersey to school. I could barely sleep the night before the big reveal. But after floating through my first two classes with the huge #54 on my back, I was accosted by a gaggle of cheerleaders, lead by Jake’s girlfriend, and ‘asked’ to remove said jersey…or else. I’m ashamed to say that I handed it over, went into the bathroom, and cried.
Heartbroken, I vowed I’d never love again. Until one afternoon, right before Christmas, my good friend Ann called. “Lorie, put on something cute. I’m bringing you a surprise.” Click.
Ten minutes later, I opened the door to an enormous box and jumped out of my skin when a boy in a Santa suit popped out—you guessed it, Jake! And he was rapping…a Christmas rap…that he’d written…for me! After he finished the song, I stood there grinning like a moron as, he turned and ran back to Ann’s car.
Jake and his cheerbot girlfriend broke up after that, and we went out on one date, but nothing ever came of it. Just a hug at the end of the night, leaving me wishing there could’ve been more between us. We’ve connected online since then and looking back, I can see how wrong we were for each other.
Still, I think there’s a little of ‘Jake’ in every hero I write. Come to think of it, in both of my finished manuscripts, Doon and A Time to Hope, my heroes have soulful brown eyes.
Do you have an unrequited love story? Are you glad you didn’t get what you wished for at the time?