Confessions of a Lovesick Teenager with Social Anxiety, Part 4
Two years later, at 16, I still passed for 12. Both physically and emotionally. Yet here was this 19-year-old senior calling me the very night his best friend said he would. Mark’s* phone number flashed across the little screen on the front of my flip phone, illuminated by a little blue light that might as well have been a giant, flashing neon sign. Even I couldn’t pretend not to see it.
As you can probably surmise, my experience with Dan two years before left me pretty scarred and completely stunted my dating game. That is, if I had dating game.
I did not. No experience with the boys. No phone calls, no dates, no potential dates, no nothing. Zero. Zilch.
But I couldn’t ignore that beacon of blue light, bold block numbers, and unmistakable buzz forever. I couldn’t show up to lunch the next day knowing that Mark had called and I had ignored it and he and his posse all knew it.
So I did it. The unthinkable. I answered.
I would love to tell you in dripping detail how that first phone conversation went. Really, I would. Only I don’t remember it. At all. I could certainly make up our conversation based on how I assume it probably went, but I think the fact that I either blacked out, blocked it out, or both makes a fine point about the affects of SA on an inexperienced, lovesick teen.
What I do remember are bits and pieces from those first few months of cat and mouse.
“Going to the bathroom” during Chemistry on the days Mark had C lunch and I had D but actually going to the school’s convenience school during C lunch so that I could “accidentally” run into him.
Following him all the way to his car one day after school because I wanted to talk to him but didn’t know what to say and just couldn’t bear to leave our brief “goodbye” conversation as just a brief “goodbye” conversation. He, on the other, had no problem calling me a lost puppy as I awkwardly watched him get into his car. I’m sure this ended with a second hug goodbye because he probably didn’t know what else to do with me. Bless him.
Him greeting me in between classes with, “Hey kiddo!” which spurred my desperate need to shed my girl body and reveal the woman within by tossing aside my virginity before I ever had a boyfriend, let alone dated anyone.
My best friend gushing over the way he hugged me goodbye as he left campus: facing me full on, slowly wrapping his hands around my waist, our bodies pressed together a beat longer than a hug between friends. (See? I wasn’t always awkward and creepy. I at least knew how to hug without being a complete weirdo.)
Stretches of silences as he tried to pull words out of me over the phone, which we quickly replaced with AOL Instant Messenger, which my SA and I praised because — Hallelujuah! — I could finally pour my lovesick little heart out through my fast-typing finger tips. And by “pour my heart out,” I mean “say just enough to keep it cool but intriguing.” God I wish I still had those AIM conversations. I’m sure they were embarrassingly scintillating.
These bits and pieces turned into solid blocks that stick out in my memory to this day once we had our first and last date and landed face first somewhere between acquaintanceship and relationship. Otherwise known as dating purgatory.
*All names have been changed.