by rugal b.
Time draws near. Only a few more chances remain for Cassie.
|I’m a positive person, or at least I always try to be a positive person. I think that it’s probably gotten me pretty far. I’m not the most popular girl around for instance but I think I do okay for myself. I’m not like a Cindy Vredenburg but I’ve still got friends and people I’m able to hang out with. I’ve got Beth for instance, who’s been my friend since the tenth grade. And I only met Melissa this year because I sit by her in eighth period but she’s kind of popular. There’s a lot of others too.
I guess I talk a lot; that’s what people say anyway and it’s probably true. But I’m just always so excited and like there’s always something neat going on or always something interesting that happened so how can I not talk about it? I like to to think that’s what makes it easy for me to get along with people. I just want to be engaged and I’m always bringing good vibes, at least I like to think that’s how it is.
So why is it so hard for me to feel positive about the one thing that I really want to feel positive about? The end of the year is coming quick. We’re coming back from Christmas break so it’s only a few months away. I need to make a move and I need to do it quick but I can’t. I think about it and I get cold feet. It’s just so unlike me. My friends are even beginning to notice it as well. Beth’s absent today but Melissa is there in eighth period and it’s during a down moment in class that she speaks up.
“You doing alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine!” I answered as I gave her a smile.
“You’ve been looking at that empty seat since class started.”
“Have I?” I responded. “I guess I’m just surprised because Beth usually never misses a day.”
“I’m not talking about Beth.”
“Well I don’t know what–”
“Cassie,” Melissa interrupted. “It’s not a secret and it’s not like you haven’t told me about it, like, a thousand times already.”
“I know,” I sighed. “But I’m feeling really bashful about it now and I can’t figure out why. I’m just so discombobulated about it that I don’t really know what to think.”
Melissa placed a hand on my back. “It’s probably because it’s coming up on the end of the year and you’re realizing you don’t have a lot of time left to do it,” she stated.
“I guess,” I said quietly. “Do you think I should do it? Just get it over with?”
“You’re going to hate yourself if you don’t.”
I bit my lip nervously. “You’re probably right,” I stated. “But I just… I don’t know. I can’t say anything today either because...”
“You’re just trying to make excuses,” Melissa responded sternly. “Tell him tomorrow. What are you so scared of anyway?”
“That he’s going to say no.”
“So what?” She grabbed my chin and turned my head to face her. “Cassie, you’re sweet and any guy would be lucky to get with you. If he says no then that means he’s an idiot and you’ll just be able to find someone better.”
“You really think that?”
“I know it,” she give me a faint smile. “You need to do it Cassie. Just rip the Band-Aid off.”
I could only smile shyly in response. “Um, so, what about you?” I asked. “There’s not anyone you like is there?”
She simply waved it off. “It’s not like I haven’t had boyfriends before,” she stated, “but I’m fine with being single right now.”
Melissa is so cool. She’s able to just go anywhere she wants and hang out with whoever she pleases. She can even just casually not worry about not having a boyfriend. Is she popular? Well I guess in her own way she is. I think she’s really cool at least and I really like that I have a friend like her despite being just a big old ginger dork. So I thanked her and class got back going not long after.
But as school let out for the day I had a hard time believing her. I wanted to, I really, really did, but there was something in my head that just kept planting all of this doubt. I talk to him, the boy I like, and we always get along really great. He’s really nice and he can make me laugh and he’s just cute. I’ve tried to make my interest obvious or at least what I thought was obvious but maybe I haven’t been obvious enough? Maybe he’s just not interested in me? Or maybe he has a girlfriend? I’ve never seen him with one at school but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have one.
I try not to think about it. I don’t want to not think about him but every day that passes I just keep making myself more and more anxious. At least I had work tonight to take my mind off of it.
I really like my job. I mean it’s just retail but it’s just a nice little store that my mom’s friend owns with all of these cool old clothes and accessories. The kind of stuff you don’t really see anymore; probably because most people find it tacky but we do get a lot of people in here who like the vintage stuff. A lot of artsy-looking girls from the college and I’ve even seen some people from school like Kelsey and Jelena. The effortlessly cool types who can wear anything and make it fashionable.
I try it and it never turns out good like it does for them, at least I don’t think it does. I’m not cool the way they are. I’ve always wanted to ask them what to do to make that stuff look good but I’ve always stopped myself from really asking it. The college girls aren’t going to want to talk to a high schooler like me, Kelsey is just always so… busy, I guess and Jelena is very nice but I always just feel so small when she’s around. If you’re cool you probably don’t have to go around doing things like asking people how to look cooler. Also I’m not the type to just butt in on peoples’ affairs.
You also probably are able to get boys, or girls if you go that way, very easily. But I’m not like that, not at all.
In that way I really admire someone like Kelsey. I guess a lot of people see her as… frosty, and some other not-so-nice words but she’s always been friendly enough to me. Well not friendly like we talk but she’s never been rude. But she’s just so confident that it’s kind of hard not to admire her. Kelsey’s cool and a cool, confident girl like her probably scares off as many boys as she attracts. Oh jeez, I’d love it if I was so cool I was scaring the boys away. How neat would that be?
But I don’t think I’ll ever be that cool and that’s okay. I don’t think I need to be cool or admired in the way someone like Kelsey is. I just want one person to see me as cool. Not one person in general or something like that but one specific person.
I don’t even think he needs to see me as cool. Just… that I’m here. I want him to see me in the type of way that only those very close can see one another. But if he hasn’t yet… I start to worry more and more that maybe it really is hopeless. Maybe I won’t ever be seen as someone special to him. Maybe Melissa’s right and I should just move on and hope that I can find someone better. She believes I can after all and as the coolest person I know I think I can trust her judgment on the matter.
But then I’m ignoring the real issue, the other part of what Melissa said. That I should tell him how I feel. I can’t do that though. The thought of doing it is so intimidating and so dizzying. The fear of rejection is too strong. I know that I’d probably start crying right there in the classroom if that’s what happened and in the last few months of my high school life I don’t need that to be everyone’s lasting memory of me. Crybaby Cassie has a great ring to it which means it would be an awful thing to have attached to me.
After work I text Beth. I tell her that he wasn’t there either. I tell her about the talk I had with Melissa and my own increasing fears; that I need to do something before it’s too late but that I don’t think I have the guts to actually do it. But Beth is so supportive of me and she always has good advice. So when she starts telling me a lot of the same stuff that Melissa was telling me earlier I pause. Does she think that I should just talk to him too? Well yeah, she does. That’s what the texts I get back from her tell me after I send that same question to her.
At school the next day I keep weighing over the options heavily in my head. I don’t want to be rejected, I don’t want to cry. I’m not cool enough to just have a guy show interest in me nor do I feel I’m confident enough to tell him of my own interest. But my time is running out and the more I think about it the more I feel like Melissa is right. I’ll hate myself if I say nothing; if I go through all of high school without telling the one person I really like how special he is to me.
When eighth period comes I see that he’s here today and my heart skips a beat. Then it begins to beat faster and I feel myself getting hot. I feel the cold sweat starting to break out on my forehead. I catch Melissa and Beth as they walk in.
“I’m going to do it,” I declared.
“You’re going to,” Melissa’s eyes widened at the realization. “Cassie, that’s great. I’m in your corner one-hundred percent. You’ll succeed.”
I thanked tjhem once again as I took my seat. It’s right next to him so once more I could feel my heart racing, threatening to burst its way out of my chest. But I did what I could to calm myself because this was going to be it. This was going to be the day.
During one of the teacher’s daily quiet moments in class I got his attention. I was friendly but I wasn’t as perky as I always am. This was serious after all, that meant I needed to have a more serious attitude. I told him that I wanted to talk to him after class, just the two of us, because I had something really important to tell him. If he picked up on that then he didn’t allow the fact he did to become apparent. But that’s okay because before long I would stop dancing around it, stop being indirect.
Will would know how much he means to me and I hope that for one moment, for the most important moment, I can be just a little bit cool. No, I don't just hope: I know. I know I'll be cool enough for him. I'm positive.
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