by K. Ward
Sixteen-year-old Andrew is in love with a girl named Susie.
Andrew was a simple guy. Well, he thought he was the kind of guy no one complained was difficult to figure out, low-maintenance, and easy to please.
And it was true. Andrew was honest and open about himself with his friends. He didn’t have too much stuff lying around his room, and not too many interests. And he was not picky when it came to his choice in music, movies, and hangouts, but he was picky when it came to his choice in girls.
Her name was Susie. She had long, curly, blonde hair. Her complexion was rosy, her eyes a deep sea blue. She had a thin bone structure and a timid, humble posture.
He liked her. She wore glasses. She did not always speak up in History class, but when she did, she had very intelligent answers. She was the kind of girl who did not like to hurt anyone’s feelings. She had a soft voice, and she smiled at people.
She wore mascara, eyeliner, and a little bit of pink lipstick, he noticed one day when he saw her walking past him in the hall.
But he was too shy, himself, to say hello to her.
And that was the sad part. He would date her in a second, but he just could not speak to her.
On the other hand, other girls and some boys liked to poke fun at him.
“Hi, Andrew!” called one of the girls from the hallway. Her tone was sarcastic and he knew she was just teasing him. Ordinarily she would never say hello. She was an outgoing cheerleader with curly, red hair, and a loud voice. Andrew looked sadly down after he waved and walked by.
“Hi, Andrew!” a second girl called, and he could tell she also didn’t mean it. She was also on the cheerleading squad and was a blonde with shoulder-length hair.
“Hey, Andrew, what’s going on?” And this time it was a third cheerleader walking down the hall, and she had a boyfriend on her arm.
The guy, whose name was Jeff, laughed and said, “Hey Andrew, I heard you were looking for a girlfriend. Don’t give up. I’m sure the girl of your dreams is out there somewhere.”
And so the girls laughed, too, and the four of them walked away.
He didn’t know how they knew he was looking for a girlfriend, but he was glad they didn’t know he was looking for one of them in particular: Susie.
The next day, Andrew didn’t get any hellos. Not even from his friends, Joe and Mac. And it made him depressed. I mean, it’s not like he wasn’t the nicest, most charming guy you could ever meet. And it’s not like he never made an effort to meet people. But he didn’t want to feel lonely. He didn’t want to be a loner. He felt like his friends betrayed him.
His mother spoke to him when he came home from school. “Andrew, I left you some cookies I baked today and a glass of milk on the dining room table.”
He went into the dining room, picked them up, and took them to his room. When he put one of the warm, chocolate chip cookies to his mouth, it was so good and so sweet that he smiled and savored the taste.
He sat down on his bed, finished the cookie, and then opened up his Batman comic book to where he left off yesterday.
But then his phone rang.
“Hello, Andrew?” she said.
It was the girl of his dreams. It was Susie. He just knew it from the sound of her voice.
“I’m in your history class and I wondered if you’d help me study for the next test. This is a little hard for me. I thought you’d be the best guy to help me study because you’re doing so well.”
“Sure,” he said. “I’d be happy to help. And you are?” he asked this with a shaky voice. If it was Susie… he thought he might pass out.
“This is Susie Henderson.”
He couldn’t speak. He was so surprised. He felt his heart beat faster and his throat get dry.
When he found his voice, he said, “When would you like to come over?”
“How about tomorrow night?”
He said, “Yes.”
So, all day, he thought about her. He dreamed that she would tell him she liked him and that she wanted to hang out with him all the time.
He watched the clock until History class, and when he saw her walk inside the classroom, she said, “Hi, Andrew.”
He waved to her, and they walked to their seats and sat down for the class.
Afterwards, Susie came closer to him and said, “I forgot to ask you what time I should come over.”
“How about four o’clock?”
“That sounds good. How do I get to your house?”
So he took a sheet of paper from his notebook, and a pencil, and messily wrote down walking directions to his house.
“It’s only a few blocks away from our school,” he said.
“Okay, I’ll see you then,” she said, and walked away.
At 3:45 pm, when he arrived home, he put down his backpack and lay down on his bed for a few minutes to catch his breath. He looked up at the time on his digital clock. It was now 3:48 pm.
The doorbell rang downstairs at 4:04 pm. Andrew jumped up off of his football bedspread and ran downstairs to the front door. He looked through the peephole and it was her.
He opened the door and Susie looked up. “Hi, Andrew. I’m so happy you invited me over.”
“Come on inside,” he urged.
So, she walked past him, bringing cool air with her. She had a nice smell: she smelled like soap, roses, and sandalwood. He thought perhaps her perfume had roses and sandalwood in it, maybe citrus notes, and musk.
He wanted to tell her she smelled nice, but he controlled himself from telling her that. He thought it would sound like a come-on. He highly doubted she would react well, either. It would have been a horrible thing to say just after they met. “Follow me,” he said, instead.
Susie walked behind him up the stairs. He could tell she was a little nervous. She did not speak while they went up to the second floor.
When they were in his room, Susie took out her textbook and notebook, and a pencil.
Andrew sat on the bed. “You can sit next to me,” he said.
So, she slowly sat down, and started to chew her pencil.
“The next test,” he told her, “Will be on chapter fourteen. Did you do all the homework?”
“No,” she said, with embarrassment in her voice.
“Well, I’ll go through what you missed and then we can talk about what we’ve read. Does that sound okay?”
She smiled and looked up at him again. But she started to cry. A tear formed at her left eye and threatened to trickle down her face. And then it did. It fell off of her chin and onto his bedspread.
“Susie, what’s wrong?”
“Andrew, I didn’t do all the reading. I didn’t do all the homework. I am so confused. I don’t know what the teacher is talking about in class.”
He sensed she wanted him to hug her—well, at least, that’s what he thought in his little messed-up mind. So, he did. He said, “Susie, it’s okay. You can catch up on your reading and homework. It’s not the end of the world. The teacher won’t even care.”
“But she will care,” she cried. “And so will my parents. They’ll kill me. They’ll yell at me. They’ll punish me.” She let a few more tears go from her eyes. “I can’t let them down,” she said. “You don’t understand my parents.”
And Andrew said, “I’m sorry to hear that you’re so frightened.”
And after a few minutes, she calmed down.
“I’m sorry, Andrew,” she said in a stronger voice now. “I shouldn’t have come here just to open up about my sad life.”
But he said, “You didn’t do anything wrong. You needed to talk.”
Andrew reached over and held her hand. After several more minutes, Susie was ready to start studying. They studied for three hours. By the end, Susie was smiling big again.
She said, “I think I have it now! I’ve read the entire chapter, and I can remember everything in it! Thank you so much, Andrew!” and she hugged him.
But he didn’t want to let her go.
She got up to leave, but he stopped her. “Susie, there’s just one more thing I’d like to say.”
“What’s that?” she asked.
“I like you, Susie.” And he had said what he wanted to say from the beginning, he just knew that she liked it and that she liked him, too, and he also knew that it was the beginning of a long romance, filled with many hugs and sometimes tears, gifts exchanged and walks taken together, sweet words, and, of course, time together, just like this, as two people who really liked each other.