Texting Age

I had gotten home awhile earlier, texting my friend Sarah on the bus ride home. It wasn’t that interesting of a day from an outsiders’ perspective – I got to my classes on time, turned in the homework, and got more homework in return. Maybe it was a little less than usual? But the lighter weight in my backpack was really all you could pin as any different today than any other.
But there was still something nagging at me, that made each minute between one class bell to the next feel adrenaline-filled, and with the reminder from Sarah in the form of a pop-up text notification, it didn’t seem like I was going to be able to relax anytime soon.
See, I made the mistake of telling her who my crush is, and she had convinced me that I needed to actually tell him. That I liked him. You know, romantically.
It was a good idea in theory, sure. I could tell him, we would date or not, and then it would be over with. But even to me, that didn’t sound convincing. There were too many what-ifs that just thinking about doing it made my heart race.
Telling myself that it would be over with as soon as I told him just didn’t feel convincing. If we started dating, what then? Would I call him my boyfriend? Would we go out, kiss, would our parents know? What would happen to our friendship? And if he said no… what would I have left of him?
So I sat myself down on the couch and opened my textbook instead. This had to be one of the few days of my whole life where I wanted more homework and not less. At least now I had an excuse not to think about him, and his beautiful blue-grey eyes, and that one cute freckle on his cheek, and the way he would make me smile at his sarcastic quips, and –
Ah, damn, I needed to stop doing it.
The evening seemed to fly by. It wasn’t enough time to process everything in between writing out equations for math. One minute I was thinking about SOH CAH TOA and the next I was trying to figure out if this, telling him, would all be worth it. But then again, all last summer wasn’t enough time either.
My phone buzzed, and I checked it. It was Sarah. “You’ve got to just do it,” she had written. It was dark outside, so I figured I would at least consider it before the day truly ended. I packed up my homework, shoving papers haphazardly back into my bed before making my way to my room.
I hadn’t even done anything, and it already felt like my heart might explode.
If I didn’t do it now, I knew I never would. I was enveloped by darkness, sitting in my room, with blankets haphazardly draped around me, staring at the screen of my phone.
A paragraph of text glowered back at me.
My thumb hung over the send button. I reread what I had written. It was a bit awkward, but that gave him an out. And maybe it would be endearing? God, I just hope it wasn’t creepy. But the message was clear. I liked him. I wanted to know if he liked me back. That’s what I needed to say to him.
And if I didn’t send this stupid text message now, I knew I never would.
The whole day I had been meaning to tell him. I was going to pull him aside at lunch, away from our group of friends at the lunch table, and into the hallway. Or I was going to hand him a note. Or read the note. At lunch. Today.
But the timing wasn’t right. I waited until after school, and I walked with him to the bus and the timing still wasn’t right and trying to ignore him until now turned out to be in vain since he was pretty much all I could think about.
So I did what I do best, and I wrote. One draft after another, sending it back and forth with my best friend, tweaking it, and second guessing myself. It’s embarrassing to even think about, but just that had taken over an hour.
But now… now I needed to send it. Worst comes to worst, he would just say no, right?
I closed my eyes. My hand was trembling. I pressed send and at once wished I could take it back.
After five minutes, I couldn’t bear it, waiting, sitting still, and watching my phone for the sign of the cycling grey dots that meant I knew at least he had seen it.
I paced around my room for the next five. My volume was turned up – I would know the moment he replied.
The next five, I spent laying down, muttering to my phone held above my face. When I finally got a text, I dropped my phone, and it smacked into my nose.
I scrambled to pick it up.
“I think you’re pretty cute too,” he said.
Wait… what? I wasn’t even sure if that meant he liked me back or what! It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t help my head from spinning.
Immediately, I opened the text conversation with my friend Sarah. I sent her a screenshot, typing in all caps: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?!
With all the books and movies about high school crushes, I don’t any of it really prepared me for this.

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