In grade eight?
I really did like you. I wasn’t crazy about the whole, “Hey, if *Jocelynn won’t go out with me, I’m coming after you” note. Well, at the time it make my heart flip, somersault. Spinning in circles. Maybe I should’ve had that checked. Regardless though, I was the backup, and I don’t mean dancer.
Sure. You were cute. Tall. Curly auburn hair. Perfect to make *Joshua envious – since we’d broken up. Again. I waited in the wings. Anticipating Jocelynn’s next move. Would it be you or *Spencer?
Joy! Jocelynn and Spencer up in a tree, and that leaves Drew all for me. Understand this thrilled a thirteen-year-old with a broken heart. I received another note from you, and I rushed to the bathroom and locked myself in a stall.
If the note were anonymous and wiggled into my locker, it would’ve been fingerprinted. You spend hours cutting out individuals letters from a magazine and pasting them onto a piece of paper, arranging them into sentences to ask me out. With a small attached note to return: Please write answer here _____.
I answered “Maybe.” Understand, I liked you. But my heart belonged to Joshua.
Thus, began the chase. While you were chasing me, I was hoping to re-capture Joshua. And no one was chasing you. It felt like a scene from My Best Friend’s wedding.
Remember *Chester’s party? Joshua didn’t show. He knew about us, even though there wasn’t officially an us. As grade eights do, we played Seven Minutes in Heaven. Of course, you dragged me behind the curtain, a.k.a., the utility room.
I sat on the freezer, nervous. Why was the room so dark? How much time was left? Those seven minutes felt like an eternity. And you kept trying to find my nose. I keep thinking, “Drew’s going to kiss me. And I don’t want him to kiss me. Joshua’s supposed to be my first kiss.”
My chest tightened, and I had my very first panic attack. We agreed to cut the seven minutes short.
Then came the day. Joshua called me. We talked, we yelled. Gave the silent treatment. We hung up on each other, racing to see whose end went dead first.
As usual, Joshua called back and he asked me out. Again. I accepted. However, the day before, I thought I made up my mind. I thought I wanted you. Us, full steam ahead into the grade eight sunset.
Fine, I realized Joshua wasn’t coming back. And I accepted your magazine cut-out note. I called and told you “yes” over the phone, early-1990-style.
Back to *Tesshua. We recycled our differences. We made it through the rain. Even though it was a dry year. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends. Until the phone rang. Ah, yes. The days before call display. Maybe it’s Joshua again. Possibly with an invite to his house. Or a marriage proposal. Young and idealistic, alright?
No. It was you. Somehow, within five minutes, you found out Joshua and I reconciled. Either news flies in a small town – or you learned via Joshua.
You were heartbroken. Telling me when I said “yes” you felt like the luckiest boy in our province. Honestly, those words broke my heart. You deserved an explanation and a proper goodbye before I rebooted Tesshua.
However, not a week later, you and *Stella started to date. It hurt. I wrote you a note to say, “Hey, that hurts. We just broke up.” You wrote a diplomatic note, basically to the extent:
“My Dearest Tessa, Suck it up, Buttercup. Thou mustn’t forget thou also waited less than a fortnight to court another. Regards, Drew.”
From our two-day relationship though, I learned to never leave someone waiting in the wings. On the back burner. Laying in wait. On standby. Ready to jump at a moment’s notice.
You probably don’t remember, but in grade twelve – after you heard about last-kiss-night, you put a future with Joshua into perspective. And I realized, holy shit, you’re right. And I walked away from *Tesshua for good, forever. Because of that, my last few months of grade twelve were awesome. And you probably have no idea.
Sure, I was Plan B. Just as I left you in ruins when I reconciled with Joshua.
As for us, sometimes it’s the thrill of the chase, rather than whose chasing you. And I confused the two. For that, I apologize.
Because, I really did like you.
Just not enough.
P.S. Thank you for opening my sugar packets when my hands were frozen.
*Names changed for privacy