Switched On

I can feel his eyes on me again.

I don’t know why…but he just stares at me sometimes. Jayce, I mean.

He never used to do that. Not until a couple of weeks ago, that is. The 8th grade is difficult enough to handle without having some other boy literally gawking at you for 85% of your class period.

I don’t know why he’s become so interested in me all of a sudden. It doesn’t make much sense. It’s not like we’re friends or anything. Sure, we know each other well enough to recognize one another’s faces in the school hallways. I mean…if he snatched some lady’s purse on the street, and the cops asked me to pick him out of a criminal line up, I could do so with no problem. But outside of that? Jayce and I were just ‘classmates’. A connection that was more attributed to chance scheduling than any kind of common interest. Then we were paired up to do a class project together. It was just for one period. A forty five minute stretch, at best. Teachers pair us up all the time. It’s not like there was anything particularly special about filling out a Periodic Table’s missing elements in science class. But…I don’t know…things got weird after that.

Ever since that day that we sat side by side, turning pages of a textbook together and looking over at each other’s worksheet to make sure that we both had the right answers…Jayce has been an increasingly awkward mess around me. Everything was normal. He was a boy, I was a boy, and we giggled and told jokes and talked about video games and Naruto cartoons. But now? Things are different. Sometimes he avoids talking to me at all. Other times…it’s like he’s forcing himself to talk to me…but he gets so shaky and nervous that he can hardly get more than a few words out without looking like he’s about to be SICK! I swear, if that boy throws up on me, I’m going to be so pissed! Ewww!

He’s so awkward and backwards now that I end up becoming awkward and backwards in response. I don’t know what it is, but he makes me nervous. He doesn’t act like that around the other boys, just me. I mean…what did *I* do? Is he mad at me? Does he think I’m some kind of a geek or something? Why can’t he just talk to me like a normal human being anymore? It’s like…one day, everything was fine, and the next…some kind of clumsy ‘switch’ got turned on in his head…and now he treats me like I’m going to burn him if I so much as lay my hands on his bare skin.

With all of these obvious hints and clues, one would think that I’d just come to the conclusion that he didn’t like me anymore. Or that maybe somebody had spread some kind of stupid rumor about me, and now he didn’t want to be seen talking to me. I don’t really know if that’s the case, but if that’s what happened, I’m willing to bet all the money in my pocket that it was Katie Weckenbauer! She’s such a gossiping bitch!

But…then there’s the staring.

Like, it’s not like he just casually looks around the room and his eyes just happen to land on me for a lingering glance or something. No…it’s more like…he targets me on purpose. Like…there’s this intense longing in his eyes that makes me think he actually wants to talk to me like he did before. But whenever I approach him, like, “Hey, Jayce! What’s up?” his cheeks turn all red and he practically runs away from me like I’m going to stab him with a salad fork or something. WHY? All I said was hello? I didn’t have time to do or say anything more offensive than that.

The strange thing is, I never really felt the need to go out of my way to talk to him before he started avoiding me. One minute, he’s smiling at me, acting like everything is cool…and the next, he’s willing to do whatever he can to get away from me. Now, it’s almost an obsession for me to get him to interact with me. He makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me, and I want to prove to him that I’m normal. Does that make sense? Whatever. I just…I want my ‘kinda, sorta, friend, but not really my friend’ back!

Shit…I just looked over at him, and he’s still watching me! We just finished taking a pop quiz, we all have to be quiet until everybody else is finished, and he literally has his head down on his desk right now…staring at me! Like…with a heavy sigh, and this barely visible smirk on his face. What the heck is his problem?

His eyes are so dark. But, like…this really warm kind of dark. Super brown, and super big. Almost like a girl’s eyes, but…I don’t know…prettier. Do I sound like a homo when I say that? Ohhhh…wait! What if Jayce thinks I’m GAY or something? Maybe that’s why he doesn’t want to be seen talking to me for too long. People might think he’s gay too. Damn you, Katie Weckenbauer! That sounds exactly like something she would say about me too!

Oh great, he’s getting all bashful and red in the face again. Just because I caught him looking at me. See??? What did I do? NOTHING! I swear! What the heck happened to make him so wiggly and weird all of a sudden? I’m so confused right now. It looks like he is too. That may be the most bewildering part of the whole thing. I don’t even think he knows why he’s mad at me. If he did, he wouldn’t keep gazing at me from across the classroom like that. Looking all dreamy and silly-faced. I look back at him, and he gets scared. What’s that about?

I’m starting to think that it might be some kind of mental illness that hits you when you’re 11 or 12 years old. Like chicken pox or the measles. I’ve got two older sisters, and I think they caught it too. My sister, Amy, was mostly a tomboy when we were little. She used to play video games and climb trees and watch funny stuff with me on YouTube. Then…one day, for no reason at all…she started hanging up Justin Bieber posters on her wall. I’m all like, “Who the heck is Justin Bieber?” And she actually gets ANGRY with me! Within just a couple of days, I wasn’t even allowed in her room anymore. More posters got put up, and there were magazines all over the house, and I swear she had the same five songs playing in her room on repeat for like six months straight. Every time I tried to figure out what the hell was wrong with her, she just told me that I wouldn’t understand, and she’d get frustrated and stomp off with an attitude.

Our oldest sister, Cara, did the same thing with that collection of ‘High School Musical’ DVDs and that Zac Efron guy. It happened almost the exact same way. One day, she’s your average girl with a brain and some level of common sense…and the next? The switch gets flipped and she becomes a big goofy mess who is suddenly annoyed by the fact that I would dare come between her and her quality time spent with a DVD and a bunch of wall posters. Is that a puberty ‘phase’ thing or what?

I mean, we got taught about love and sex in Health class. I KNOW what puberty is. I just can’t see myself falling in love with a 2-dimensional picture of some guy who lives waaaaay on the other side of the country. Shouldn’t love be a cool thing? Why does it make people so miserable? I’d think it would be, like…the best feeling ever. What’s everybody so scared and irritable about?

Anyway, that’s not the same as what’s happening with Jayce. At least…I don’t think it is. He can’t be in love with me, I’m a boy. Just like he is. There are gay boys out there somewhere, I’m sure. But not Jayce. There aren’t any gay people around here for miles. At least I’ve never met one. Besides, it’s not a ‘sex thing’ with him. It’s not like I caught him looking at my junk, or trying to grab my ass or anything. That’s gay stuff, right? Jayce doesn’t do that. He…he looks at my eyes. He squirms whenever I run my fingers through my hair. Sometimes he trembles when he comments on how much he likes my shirt, and shivers when he accidentally touches my hand. Sometimes I think he’s staring directly at my lips when I talk to him. And I could swear that one time…in the cafeteria lunch line…he leaned forward to sniff my shoulder! What the heck is he smelling my shoulder for? It was pizza day, too! I doubt I had any chance of smelling any better or any worse than Junior High School octagon pizza on a Wednesday!

I actually went to the school bathroom to smell my shirt to see what he was so fascinated with. I didn’t smell anything. I just smell like ‘me’. Apparently, that was enough to give him a minor thrill though.

I wish I knew what I did to make things so drastically uncomfortable between us. I wish I knew why he thinks every word that comes out of my mouth is so funny that it causes him to giggle until he’s holding his stomach with both hands to keep from falling over. More than anything, I wish I knew why he spends every moment of our science class looking at ME instead of paying attention to what the teacher is saying. If I had to be honest, it’s more intriguing than ‘creepy’…but I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what he wants. And why he only seems to want it from me, and nobody else.

Maybe someday I’ll figure it out. Who knows? Jayce is really cute. It’s not like I don’t notice. Maybe when we talk some more…he can tell me what’s on his mind. We can hang out more often. Maybe even have a sleepover every now and then. It might be fun to make a new friend. In fact…the more I think about it…the nicer that sounds.

Yeah. That might settle things. We can hang out together. I don’t know why, but he just seems like he would make a good friend. I could see myself being around Jayce much more often. Wow…his eyes are REALLY brown. You know that? Great…now I’m looking at him too. This is weird.

In fact…I think I’m feeling a little shaky, too. Brown eyes. Like…totally brown. Ugh! What am I doing?

It’s hard to concentrate when a cute boy is staring at you like that. Looking all…all cute and…and…and CUTE!

Shit…

What’s going on here? Am I…am I staring back at him now?

Damn. I’m infected, aren’t I? I can feel myself trembling already. What am I going to do NOW? Jayce doesn’t have any posters of himself to hang on my wall!

I don’t know if I like this.

Whatever it is that he gave me…I’m going to find a cure for it as soon as possible. Don’t worry. I’m not going to allow myself to be switched on before my time. I refuse. I just…I wish he’d stop looking at me like that. Does he want a kiss? Because he’s making me want to kiss him now!

When is this class going to be over???

Finally, the bell rang, and our teacher told us what pages to read for tomorrow. I saw Jayce get up and sling his backpack over his shoulder before looking me directly in the eye again. He was soooo close to me. Why am I trembling??? What the hell happened to me today???

“Hi…” He said softly. Ugh! He says everything so SOFTLY! Why? Do I like that? I feel like I do.

“Hey…” I said back, and barely had enough oxygen in my lungs to keep from passing out when I spoke the words aloud.

He still blushed. He still shivered. But…he smiled at me while he was doing it. I never noticed his smile before…but today, I did. It was…adorable.

“Bye…” He said, shortly afterward.

“Ummm…bye…” I replied, watching him walk out of the classroom in front of me.

Did I catch it? Am I sick? Mentally ill?

Maybe I need a doctor.

I got my school books and all, trying to shake these weird tingles out of my arms and legs as I attempted to let the whole thing go. But there was something about that confusion that lingered within. It suddenly made me want to see Jayce again, but was willing to settle for the repeated memory of his sheepish grin. That smile was pretty cute, wasn’t it? It was just…I don’t know…I thought it was cute.

Whatever. Back to real life now.

I’ll think about this more later. No need to tangle up my thoughts when I don’t have to. As long as Jayce doesn’t hate me, I’ll be ok.

Yeah…I think I’ll be ok.

 

One thought on “Switched On”

  1. This is probably just a one shot, but I really want more of it. Or maybe just a second chapter where they get together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.