All of a sudden my life was flipped upside down, in a great way. Suddenly, I wasn’t dreading school and the weekends. My phone was no longer used as a weapon to scare and control me. I was free.
The people that I had started talking to suddenly became friends and I was enjoying being around them. I walked to classes with different people and suddenly my phone was used for texting more than Jed, I had friend’s numbers and I was talking to them.
I began walking tall in the hallways. I was holding my head high running on the high of being away and free from Jed.
It was fall and had only been a couple weeks of my new normal, and I was loving every second of it. I had been taking French, and passing, but not really retaining what I was learning since 7th grade, and each year Ben had been in my class. He was a couple inches taller than me, with brown hair, and an athletic build. He was always making jokes and his French level was the same as mine, sub par. So, since 7th grade, we always partnered together for any activity. We would mispronounce everything and when the teacher was on the side of the room we would simply speak English and laugh about the pictures in our French book. (We might be onto why I was never retaining information). I had always liked Ben, we got along well and during junior high I even considered him a, gasp, friend.
He was one of the people that while I was dating Jed remained a friend, granted I only talked to him during class, but we would joke and laugh constantly. When Jed so amazingly left my life all of a sudden Ben and I would talk on our way to and from class, we would laugh in the hallways, and even texted. We were truly friends.
What was one of the best parts of high school? Dances. What do you need to go to a dance? A date. I didn’t have a date, so I wouldn’t be going to homecoming. I had hoped that I would be asked, but I also knew that I had been single for only a couple of weeks, so I had really no chance.
I was sitting in World History, NOT with Mrs. S, which I was extremely thankful for, but the class was still boring. I sat in the row closest to the window in a desk that had lots of scribbles and notes, not all mine, carved into it.
It had been weeks of watching boys come up with clever ways of asking girls to the dance, it felt like every girl in the school had a bouquet of flowers and a smile that was so wide it could hurt their face.
Last year, Jed had asked me to homecoming in one of the most disturbing ways I could imagine. He had planned with my mom to surprise me with breakfast in bed and ask me to homecoming. It was almost a year to the date when I woke up to a Jed sitting next to my bed with a couple of flowers asking me to homecoming. I hated it. I hated that he was in my room. I hated that I was asleep when he came in. I hated all of it. Frankly, I don’t think my mom should have let him in my room, but that was last year. This year, I wanted someone to ask me, but was glad that no one would be sneaking into my bedroom.
My mind was drifting to this memory when suddenly a student who I didn’t know came into the classroom with a bouquet of flowers and handed them to Ms. M (the teacher). I was suddenly very invested in the lesson and was fully interested in who the flowers were for. Even though I wasn’t going to be asked, it was fun to watch all the creative ways that boys were asking girls to the dance. Suddenly, Ms. M called my name. Me! I walked up to the front of the classroom suddenly very aware of my legs and feet and doing everything in my power not to trip, I grabbed the glass vase of flowers and walked back to my desk very aware of all the eyes on me and the fact that my smile was truly from ear to ear.
Who would have sent me flowers? In the middle of the bouquet I saw a note, I plucked it out and read it.
“I wish I could ask you to homecoming, but I have a hockey game. If I didn’t I would love to take you. – Ben.”
I was shocked. Ben. I had always thought he was cute, but never thought he would like me. In fact, I was pretty certain no one would like me – Jed had made that very clear. So I was incredibly surprised.
The rest of the lesson took forever, I wanted to see Ben and thank him. I WAS ASKED TO HOMECOMING. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t even go, he wanted to take me, and that was enough.
As soon as the class ended I walked out the door and saw Ben standing there. I rushed over to him as quickly as I could with a glass vase full of flowers and thanked him right away.
“I would love to go to homecoming with you, if you could have gone, thank you.”
“Sorry I can’t go, but I wanted to ask you anyway. Maybe we can go to a movie or something one night.”
“That sounds great!” My excitement couldn’t be hidden.
We both had to run to our next class, but suddenly, I couldn’t wait for French that day.