Middle School Crush

As a kid, I was shy and had a hard time making friends. Kids my own age usually didn't want to be friends with me, so the friends I did have were usually much younger. I guess I didn't really fit in. I was probably the only biracial (half black, half white) kid in the neighborhood. Also, as an only child of a single mother with little contact with other family members, I was socially awkward. At least I was smart.

When I was in middle school, also known as junior high, a certain girl in my class caught my eye. She was really pretty. (She was voted prettiest girl in class one year) I think I was about twelve or so, and in the sixth grade. I didn't think too much about her at first, but the more I saw her, the more I started liking her.

Now, I was totally petrified around girls. I didn't know what to say or how to act around them. Even when girls made it clear that they were interested in me, (and several did) I didn't know how to react. I usually froze. I thought that maybe she would start being friendly with me if I could get her attention somehow...

I started working out to get her attention. And boy, did I work out. I did one hundred sit-ups every night, among other things. I whipped myself into amazing shape. But if she did notice me, she didn't show it. Except on two occasions, that is.

One time I was standing outside of a classroom and saw her walking down the hall – and noticed her staring at my chest. I happened to be wearing a close fitting shirt that day. My exercise routine seemed to be getting the results I wanted! I felt so good.

The other occasion took my breath away. I was sitting in class working on something, and she came over to talk to her girlfriends, who sat near me. After a few minutes, she ran her fingers through my hair! But I froze, unable to speak. But just the fact that she did that made me feel great.

But other than those two occasions, nothing else happened. Well, except for a very mortifying moment...

One day, at lunch, me and some friends were talking. Guess what about? Girls we like. We all said a bit about those particular girls. Then I said "Well, you guys know who I like." Then suddenly, one of my friends started shouting, out of nowhere, "You like Asuka?! You like Asuka?!" I was like "No! Stop! Be quiet! Shut up! Nooooooo!" while grabbing my friend's arm. (Asuka was not her actual name. Only a few know what it really was, and it shall remain that way.)

And guess what? "Asuka" was sitting at the other end of the lunch table with her friends - and they heard everything.

I was so embarrassed. But I don't really get what happened next – I think her friends started making fun of her. They got loud and were starting to laugh – at her. I started feeling bad for her. I didn't like seeing her in that situation, because I knew how bad it felt. Then she said it, loud and clear, for everyone to hear-

"F**k Steven!"

Yeah. F**k me, alright.

I guess she was really embarrassed herself. But it really hurt for me to hear that. I wasn't mad at her, though. I was mad at my "friend" for causing this mess. He just made light of it, however. Our friendship was not a lasting one.

What really surprised me is that my feelings for her didn't change. I still felt "in love" with her, even though I didn't know her. Even though she had a few boyfriends. My feelings continued through 6th, 7th and 8th grades. I didn't respond to other girls' interest in me because of those feelings. Yeah I know. I was a loser, and a big one at that.

On the last day of school, in eighth grade, I had the horrible realization that I might never see this girl again. I had to make a move. I was too scared to tell her how I felt, so I wrote a note. I kept the note in my pocket, watching and waiting for an opportune moment when she was alone so that I could give it to her. For some reason, I was really scared to give her the note in front of her friends.

That opportune moment never came. When school was out, I saw her outside the school talking to her friends. I thought about giving her the note anyway, but I froze at the mere thought. The note was in my hand. Do it! Forget about her friends! Give her the note! Do it! Just walk up to her, and give it to her!

I didn't do it. I chickened out.

I gave in to my fear. And I walked home, feeling like dirt. Like a coward. A dirty coward? More like cowardly dirt. Anyway.

I did my best to suppress the painful emotions – to stuff them away and not deal with them. (This doesn't actually work by the way – I found out the hard way years later.) When I got home, I left my jacket on a chair, and went back downstairs to get some snacks at the corner store.

When I returned with the snacks, my mother was acting very strangely. Well, stranger than usual, anyway. She started laughing and making fun of me...

"Don't you bring any black girl into my house! Ha ha ha!" she said, followed up by mock advice regarding the wording of the note. "Don't say 'Would you like to go with me' because her parents might think that you want to "GO" with her! Ha ha!" She emphasized the word "go" in such a manner to reference having sex. I was speechless - thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated.

I had left the note in my jacket pocket. Unbeknownst to me, my mother went through my pockets, and found the note. I guess she went through my pockets regularly, and I was very hurt and angry at discovering the violation of my privacy.

But the ridicule was a new twist. I didn't think that I could feel any lower, until that moment. My mother went on for a bit. She finally shut up after she had her fun. I believe she really enjoyed tearing me down. I just didn't realize it before this.

That night, after she went to bed, I waited until she fell asleep. When I was sure that she was, I went to the bathroom - the only place for some privacy in our studio apartment.

Then I cried.

I cried for what seemed like an hour or two. Why'd she have to find that note? Why does she have to be this way? Why did this have to happen?

I decided never to trust my mother again. I severed all of my emotional ties to her. I had to protect myself. I became emotionally detached from her so that any future ridicule wouldn't hurt so much.

Obviously, our relationship (if you could call it that in the first place) was never the same after that.

Yes, my mother was wrong for what she did. But I still wish I knew a better way of dealing with that situation at the time. I had no one else to talk to or confide in, so I dealt with it in the best way I knew how.

Oh, yeah – I don't think I ever saw "Asuka" again. I did eventually get over her – it just took quite a bit of time.

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