I’m used to having my breath snatched away from me whenever I see Benji walk up and fiddle with the combination on the high school locker across the hall from mine.
I’m used to the constant vibration of nervous jitters in my chest, stomach, and throat, whenever his pretty face comes into view. Even from a distance, way down at the other end of the hall.
I’m even used to the jumble of sensual thoughts that I fight so valiantly to fend off while looking him over, head to toe. Not having a clue as to what an actual sexual experience might be like, and yet having the subtle promise of such a thing flood my senses with brief images and fevered flashes of sexual delights that my teenaged mind had mimicked from movies, television, and a few erotic stories online that I read under my covers in the dark of night. Filling me up with a variety of ideas that I hoped to experiment with someday in the near future.
I couldn’t believe how the weight of the air itself pushed down on my shoulders in that hallway whenever he crossed my vision. That ear length, dark blond, hair that seemed to ‘flip out’ at the bottom, curling slightly outward. Those bright hazel eyes, occasionally putting the fear of God into me whenever he looked up from his backpack long enough for his gaze to connect to mine. And a sweet and slender body that got better and better as my hormone driven thoughts tried to fill in all the blanks that his aggravating shield of name brand clothing hid from me on a daily basis.
I had been admiring every subtle detail of him for at least six weeks now, and I may only be 14 years old, but my affection for him was more than just a high school crush. I was convinced of that. I couldn’t even hear Benji’s name without feeling my heart being squeezed and bringing a tingle to both of my cheeks that would itch and bother me until I smiled as wide as humanly possible to satisfy the needed muscular strain for my face to, eventually, return to normal. Yes, Benji was a huge part of my life, and yet he was so blissfully unaware of it. It was an issue that I had been trying to deal with. How do I solve the problem of getting him to notice me when I’m SO terrified that he’ll notice me?
Well, I decided that today would be the day I at least take my first baby step forward. And that’s why I’m finding it so hard to manage my oxygen intake right now. Because three minutes and thirty-seven seconds ago…I slipped a note into Benji’s locker through the slanted grate near the top.
I made sure that nobody saw me do it. I made sure to read and re-read and rewrite and re-edit and read it again…trying to get my words to say all the things my heart was feeling. Hoping I got it right. Trying to be cute, but not too cute. Trying to be forward, but not too forward. Balancing between boyish flattery and stalker level creepiness. It wasn’t easy, believe me. I’ve never written a love letter before.
And now the wait.
And the weight. God, my heart never felt so heavy.
The scariest moment of my life was the moment I took that two page letter out of my notebook and slowly folded it over to fit it into the slot. My fingers were trembling so bad that I nearly dropped it. My heartbeat was crashing up against the insides of my chest. Every throb felt like a punch in the gut, the pulsing noise nearly deafening me. There was a last moment of doubt where I tried to talk myself out of it. ‘Don’t do it, Martin.’ I said. ‘Don’t do it. You need to read the note again. Just one more time. You can give it to him tomorrow. Or the next day. Don’t make an idiot out of yourself now. He doesn’t even know who you are.’ But I knew that if I started making excuses now, I may very well be making them for the rest of the school year. Possibly for the rest of my life. I’ve waited this long…it’s time I took a leap of faith.
Do it, Martin. It only takes one second’s worth of courage. At least we’ll know, right? It’s better than not knowing.
I took the note and pushed it halfway through the slot. I did a quick check to make sure that it was the right locker! But I couldn’t mistake it. It was the one just to the left of Brian Bowmin’s locker, and he had drawn a big penis on it at the beginning of the school year. It’s kind of hard to miss.
I held on to the pages.
Half way in and I was too scared to go any further. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. So many questions. So many fears. I think the only thing that helped me make up my mind was the worry that he’d come walking around that corner any second and catch me standing there.
So I closed my eyes, I held my breath…and I dropped the letter inside. More from a moment of weakness than a moment of strength, but I did it. I actually did it. I delivered my first handwritten love letter to the cutest boy in school.
And I regretted it immediately.
There was no way to fight off the panic. What the hell did I just do??? I should have read it again. I should have written it better. I shouldn’t have thought up this crazy goddamn scheme in the first place! Shit…what do I do? I can’t get it back now, his locker is locked. Gah! What if he reads it? What is he going to think when he reads it? Is he going to figure out it’s me? Oh god…this could be bad. This could be really bad!
I was stressing about it for a few seconds, but as the hall started to fill up with students, I decided to just hurry back across the hall and pretend to dig through my own locker while silently praying for a spontaneous fire alarm or something that would give me more time to think.
No such luck.
All I could do was wait. Second by second, minute by minute. Who knows? Maybe he’s sick today. Maybe he’s moving to Texas and he’ll never come back for his books. I don’t know, just…I needed this to be over with. I took my leap of faith by putting that note in his locker and now I’m falling, falling, falling, until he shows up to let me know if he’s going to catch me…or leave me to crash land into the jagged rocks below.
Where the hell IS he?
And then…the event began.
I saw Benji come walking around that corner as if he was moving in slow motion. The only thing missing from his majestic appearance in that hallway was a scattering flock of white doves and an orchestrated soundtrack sung by the angels themselves. Wow! I’ve never known a beauty so intimidating.
He had his head down while he was walking, just sort of lost in his own thoughts, not knowing that he was moments away from being shocked and humiliated by the sappiest collection of words ever scribbled on paper! I’ve never even spoken two words to him, and here I am…vomiting love all over his brand new shoes without warning. I swear, if he laughs at me…my life is over. It’s a wrap on my emotions if he makes fun of me.
I turned to basically bury my head in my locker. Afraid of what his reaction would be. There was a compelling urge to just close my locker and walk away. Just escape this crazy situation altogether and not look back. But then I’d never know what happened. I’d be stuck right back at square one all over again. God, what is he going to think? What is he going to SAY?
Shit, he’s working the combination lock at his locker now. Oh God, oh God, oh God….
I was afraid to look. Afraid not to look.
I heard the loud click as he opened his locker door and felt a giant spike of pure terror pierce my young heart. Then I felt it being twisted as the note fell out at his feet, and Benji bent over to pick it up. He sees it! Oh God, he’s holding it in his hand! His really cute hands!
I shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have put that in his locker! What was I thinking? Well, shit…it’s too late now!
His forehead wrinkled slightly as a touch of confusion washed over him. His forehead looks so CUTE when it’s wrinkled up like that! His eyes get all narrow and stuff…
I like his lips. I don’t know what’s so sexy about his lips when compared to everybody else’s but… his lips are something special. To spend just a few seconds with my lips touching his would be too much for excited heart to bear. I like his shoulders too. I don’t know. He has nice shoulders, that’s all.
Suddenly, his head lifted up and he began to look around the hallway! Omigod, I didn’t think he was going to do THAT! For a split second he looked right AT me, and I swear, if I could have crawled into my own locker and shut the door, I would have!
Yikes! Did he see me? Is he still looking? Was he just looking at me, or was he looking around at everybody? I should have double checked before getting all hysterical and hiding my face from him. Ugh, I’m so stupid!
It took a few seconds before I worked up the nerve to look back at him again. I saw him unfolding the letter and turning it right side up so he could read it. Wow…look at his fingers. He has these long, delicate, fingers. They look really soft. I like the way he ‘holds’ things.
Sorry. Getting distracted.
Shit. Omigod he’s reading it! He’s actually reading it! I felt so embarrassed. I was fidgeting so badly that I was sure he was going to look up at my guilty behavior and know that it was me. Stay still, Martin! Jesus! You’re totally giving yourself away!
I remember the letter almost by heart. I just wish I knew what he was reading at that particular moment. I just…I wish…dammit. Whatever happened to people who moved their lips when they read stuff?
I kept peeking over at him, but I didn’t want to stare. Even though I had to weave my head back and forth to dodge the crowd of students passing between his locker and mine. So far, so good. At least he hadn’t crumpled it up and thrown it away. Not yet, anyway.
I remember how I started the little with, “You don’t know who I am, but I see you all the time. Even if you don’t see me in return.” Was that a decent way to start off a secret letter? Am I accusing him of being a bad person for not noticing me? Maybe I should have worded that differently. That’s not what I meant at all. I remember a part of the letter where I told him that I didn’t want him to feel weird about it, but I had been holding this feeling inside for a while now and I just had to let him know. I was even like, “I can’t really explain why, but…I feel like I love you. I feel it in my bones. Well, like… all of them. Not just the one.” I can’t believe I put that in the note! Was that dirty?
“Hehehe, what?” He giggled! I mean, really quietly and just to himself, but…he GIGGLED! Wait…is that a good giggle, or a bad giggle? Did he get to that part?
Now I’m SURE that it sounds dirty. I might have been able to let that one comment slide, but I remember trying to correct myself IN the letter…which probably made it sound worse. Saying, “NOT that you give me boners or anything! Or…well, it’s not that you don’t give me boners either! I’m just saying…that’s not what this is about. It’s not a sex thing. However, if sex is your thing that’s totally cool. If you ever wanted…well…I wouldn’t say no.” And then I put that stupid smiley face next to the end of that sentence! What the heck was I rambling for? I don’t know how that got put into the final edit.
I saw Benji lean one shoulder against the lockers as he turned over the first page and kept reading. He’s still paying attention. He’s at least slightly interested, right? I kept watching his face to see if there were any disturbing changes to his expression. I watched to see if he got my awkward sense of humor, or if he felt paranoid about some mysterious boy stranger gawking at him when he wasn’t looking. I watched to see if he was uncomfortable about receiving letter like this from another boy, and if he was at all flattered when I gushed about how beautiful he was, and how he made every single day a little bit better just by being a part of it. I wondered if he minded me telling him that I sometimes follow behind him when he walks to class, or if it’s weird that I sometimes look out of my classroom window to see him on the field with his gym class…and lose all focus. I didn’t tell him how sexy his legs look in gym shorts though. I made sure to leave that out of the third revision. I’m positive. They were SEXY, though! I turned in a pop quiz half blank one period because of those legs.
Just as Benji turned to the third page, his head popped up to look around the hallway again. Left, right, left again…wondering who had written him such a thing. He was already two thirds of the way through it now. What’s done is done. I might as well stay for the climax.
I hope he knows that my feelings for him were sincere, despite my clumsy vocabulary and desperate need to make jokes about how uncomfortable I was. How I wasn’t worth his time, but wanted to share time with him regardless. I hoped that he didn’t mind me apologizing over and over again in the same letter, trying to keep him from feeling weird about it all. More than anything…I just wanted to know that he’s one of the most special, most amazing human beings on this planet…and I notice. I feel like my heart is filling up to the bursting point with love and joy and naughty little thoughts that force me to walk with my backpack in front of my crotch. It’s so much in excess that I HAVE to share it with somebody before I explode!
I choose him.
By the time he finished reading that three-page letter, I had all but rattled myself to pieces. My ending? Well, I hope he thought it was ok.
“You don’t have to like me back. You don’t even have to know who I am if you don’t want to. But if you ever doubt for a moment that you’re anything less than fascinating…just remember that I’m close by. I’m watching. And I love you.” And then I signed it, “#MyHeart4U”
My heart began to race as he folded the letter back. He’s finished. Oh God, he’s done reading. What now? Is he going to crumple it up and put it in the trash? Is he going to tuck it underneath his books and leave it in his locker for later? What’s he doing with it?
It was then I saw him fold it in half a second time…and he put it in his pocket! Is that good? What does that mean? That’s good, right?
His eyes searched the hall again, scanning his surroundings for anything out of the ordinary. I made sure to look away, but this intense tingly feeling began to crawl slowly up my backside and it made me smile. Like…like REALLY smile. I almost began to giggle out loud, but I had no idea what was funny. Nervous reaction, I suppose.
I waited a few seconds before peeking at that gorgeous face again. I only focused on those plush lips for a brief moment…and then his eyes looked directly at me again. This time I jerked my head to pull my gaze back into my locker. Ok, we did what we had to do, and he knows how I feel…now I just need to make a smooth exit and I can call this a success.
But, when I peeked back over my shoulder at him again…he was standing there waiting for me. And entire raging river of high school students running between us, but our eye contact made it seem like time itself was standing still. My heart stopped. That might explain why I was feeling so faint, and why my lungs felt like they were full of mud. Benji’s stunning good looks mixed with the threat of being caught doing what I just did had my whole ‘fight or flight’ response all backwards and confused. Oh no, what do I do?
We stood there. Looking at each other. Then…for no reason at all…a tiny smile spread across those kissable lips and nearly knocked me over with its brilliance. He looked down at his shoes for a moment, his cheeks turning a deep red. But the smile got bigger. And I got…ummm, erect.
Sorry. You can’t really help these things when you’re fourteen.
I heard the school bell ring to end the passing period, and wanted to cry when I saw Benji grab his books and close his locker back. I didn’t want him to leave, but had no idea what to do with him if he stayed. I just stood there, weak kneed and half hard, swooning as he looked at me again, and gave me a little wave. Just a little one. I think maybe he was a little nervous too. Which…is…AWESOME!!! Hehehe!
He kept his eyes on me as he started down the hall, quietly mumbling, “Bye…” as let the current of students sweep him into their neverending flow.
I watched him walk away from me, giving me the opportunity to breathe again. Giving me the opportunity to give his booty a peek too. Yummy! And as soon as he walked around that corner and out of my sight…it was like every muscle in my body turned to jelly. I fell back to lean against my locker, looked up at the ceiling with a deep sigh, and grinned as though I had just found a winning lotto ticket in my shoe. I was actually panting, hugging my books to my chest as I tried to hold myself together.
I can’t say that I was really sure what any of that meant. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it means everything. Who knows? Who CARES??? I feel too good to care!
That happened. That actually happened. And I’m never going to forget it. Not for the rest of my life.
Maybe next time I see him I can try something more challenging like…actually talking to him. But, you know…one step at a time.
The point is, Benji got a chance to know how I feel. I got a chance to tell him, the best way I knew how. If just that little bit can overwhelm my rapidly beating heart this way, I might have to take the next few steps very carefully. This is my first rodeo, after all. No need for me to break my neck going too fast.
Ok. Alright. That went well. Very well. I’m proud of myself. I pulled that off with maturity, and dignity, and class.
Now…if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to put a book in front of my crotch and try to get to Math.