“Dood!!!! Matt ALMOST LIKED ME FOR ONE DAY!!!! We spent the whole day in the special needs room helping and he touched me 3 times, COUNT EM’ 3 times! FOR NO REASON AT ALL! ALSO! He talked to ME about his COMPLETELY UNWORTHY girlfriend. AHHHHHH! ::Dance of Victory::” -Age 16
:: I am closing my eyes and shaking my head in embarrassment:: Puke.
The most embarrassing/ kinda awesome part of this entry (which I am unfortunately unable to replicate in computer-land) is the stick figure drawing to the left of it, detailing each herky-jerky, fat-girl step of the victory dance. Someday I’ll get a scanner so my angsty illustrations can be made public. You guys will love it.
Omitting the “fat girl dance of dashed hopes”, this excerpt reads like a teenage self-esteem pamphlet. I was ecstatic that he ALMOST liked me?! Somebody should have signed me up for a building confidences seminar, or a dignity workshop or something. Even tattooing the word DESPERATE across my forehead would have been a step in the right direction. I am slightly worried that while reading this passage I felt twinges of long-begotten pride. “Yea, he DEFINITELY liked me for one day” my nearly 30 year old self just smirked. Get it together, Courtney. Get it together.
DISCLAIMER: I want to make sure all my readers know this is the same Matt who appears in every diary from high school. The worst of myself was consistently on display around him, and it makes my “not leaving the country immediately and forever” all the more heroic. So please, take the time to re-read all of “his” entries to familiarize yourself. Go on, I’ll wait here. Good. Now, THIS particular day went down in awkward girl history, and was glorious.
It started in first hour art class, where Matt came and sat down next to a pleasantly surprised me. (Pleasantly surprised is a devious understatement. His class was in the upstairs art room, so he had no business being in mine. I’m using the phrase “pleasantly surprised” to convey “had a small asthma attack and spat out some of my sausage biscuit onto the table”. Just so we’re all on the same page.)
I managed to say hello as I was wiping up the biscuit chunkies, and Matt started in on being upset about his girlfriend. I honestly can’t remember who he was dating, or why he was upset with her. Because the entire time he was pouring out his emotions, I was only hearing this:
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! OH. MY. GOD. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I HOPE I DON’T LOOK CRAZY?! WHY IS HE TELLING ME THIS STUFF?? DOES HE LOVE ME? HE CAN’T POSSIBLY LOVE ME. EW, EW, EW! THERE’S A PIECE OF RENEGADE SAUSAGE ON MY SHIRT!!! GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF! OKAY, OKAY, OKAY GOOD, HE DIDN’T NOTICE. MAYBE I CAN GET A QUICK PUFF OFF MY INHALER WITH HIM BEING NONE THE WISER…”
When he finished explaining his inner turmoil, there was a significant pause. It looked as though I was expected to say something profound, helpful or comforting. I needed to get this JUST right, I wanted him to see how much I truly cared for him, how much my presence could establish his well-being. I was going to help him through a difficult time in his life, and later he would realize true happiness was right in front of him. So I took an asthmatic, ragged breath and said as lovingly, loudly and quickly as possible; “MAYBEYOUSHOULDBREAKUPWITHHER.”
This is when he took his leave of me, being always the gentleman with a “thanks for listening” and a half-smile. I gave him a short wave, and after he had bounded up the stairs I slammed my face onto the art table. I was simultaneously ashamed and exhilarated. I took out my inhaler and checked for any left-over sausage matter. The bell rang and I made my way to the special needs room where Matt and I would be together for the next four hours. I didn’t know whether to be jumping for joy or hiding in a locker, but considering my general propensity to face humiliation head-on; I strode into that classroom beaming.
Those next four hours I was in 7th heaven. It was some sort of a holiday, or close to a holiday and the kids were in happy spirits. Matt seemed to have forgotten my previous art-room debacle and was no longer fretting about “Ms. Not Worth Remembering”. It was here that he touched me 3, (count em’ 3) times:
1. I asked for an orange crayon and Matt handed it to me, but held on a fraction of a second too long. You’re thinking it was just my overly desperate teenage mind playing tricks on me, but I wasn’t the only one who noticed. Justin, a sweet natured Downs Dyndrome boy ALSO noticed. He may not have been the most reliable source, but at that moment he was The New York Times. Justin always had a bit of a crush on me and when Matt (finally) pulled his hand away, he said “Matt, is Courtney your girlfriend? No, she mine girlfriend!” Oh, how we laughed at that. I quietly explained to Justin that I wasn’t his girlfriend or Matt’s girlfriend, that Matt had another girlfriend who didn’t have time to come to the special needs room because she was too busy killing baby kittens.
2. Because it was such a beautiful day, the class went outside to throw around a football. I, being completely lacking of any hand-eye coordination, watched on the sidelines. Matt came up and asked me why I wasn’t playing. I explained to him my sport deficiencies and he said (oh my god, he actually said) “I’ll teach you how to throw a football”. He then did the classic move of positioning himself behind me and teaching me the proper football throwing technique. His arm on my arm, his hand on my hand. It was like something out of a John Hughes movie and it was delightful. Immediately afterwards I was a hundred different shades of scarlet, and was expected to show off my new football skills. I wanted to boost his ego by proving he was a great teacher, but the ball (and I don’t even know how this is scientifically possible) flew 1 ½ feet at a completely downward angle. It hit the ground and bounced back up at my face. It didn’t hit me, but I screamed and ran.
3. After the final bell rang and we were packing up our things, Matt came over and put a hand on my shoulder and said “I’ll see ya later”. It was simple and perfect. The perfect ending to a (for the most part, especially for me) pretty good day. Honestly, it was almost awkward…on HIS part. I nodded and gave him a half-smile. We were strange, “sort-of” friends and I believe he was acknowledging that.
Re-reading through all of my diaries I’m starting to see a pattern; people enjoyed my company a lot more than I remembered them enjoying it. It’s obvious in the great LENGTHS classmates went to save me from my own humiliating actions. They were constantly trying to throw sandbags whenever I was cracking, even some of the “pedestal dwellers”. My journals serve as detailed reference guides so that now, unfettered by teenage hormones, I can look back and understand the truth of the situation; I was awesome. It’s unfortunate for those who don’t have such resources, because it’s eye-opening to have written your own coming of age story; if only to realize that your most reverent memories are total bullshit.
::DANCE OF VICTORY!::