It’s just a harmless crush…The End

Her name was Bianca.  And she was just…there.  She appeared from out of nowhere as if Allen had magically conjured her with his mystical powers (which I was quite certain he possessed since he had such a mysterious grip on my heart).  When did he meet this girl?  Where was she from?  How did she come into his life and how the hell did she suddenly screw up mine?  I was truly blindsided considering Allen had been flirting with ME for the past few months.  He had never talked about another girl.  He was very adamant about not having a girlfriend.

“Hey guys, this is Bianca.”  It was as simple as that.

She was very plain: average height, average build, mousy brown hair that was always in a frizzy, messy ponytail, never wore make-up, attire consisting of a t-shirt, running shorts, and tennis shoes.  I learned she was from Farmington and she had met Allen at some local band’s concert.  They hit it off and started hanging out regularly…  Then she appeared at our church carrying the title of “Allen’s girlfriend”.

“Oh you didn’t know, ” my friend said.  “Yeah, they haven’t been together long, but Bianca’s awesome!  Allen really likes her.”  And I cringed with pain as I felt another crack spider its way through my heart.

*I’m going to skip the sobbing because it’s the same story.  There were a lot of tears, my friends were over the whole saga, and quite frankly I had nobody to blame but myself.*

It was the summer before my freshman year in high school – the summer of ’99.  Bianca was present for it all.  Even though it was one of my favorite summers, I spent most of it torturing myself.  I didn’t want to stop going to church because of their relationship and I would never want anyone to assume I stopped going because of their relationship.  Besides, all my friends were there, we had amazing plans to go and do some completely awesome things, and if I had quit going I would be bored and alone.  So that left me to attend all church functions…with them…watching them…envying them.  Oh sure I was the same old Heidi on the outside, but inside I was a mess.  Allen didn’t seem to notice, nor did he care.  Ultimately, that’s the act I followed; I didn’t notice and I didn’t care.

The saddest thing was that she was really nice.  I HATED that so much!!!  She was a little shy at first, but after talking to her a couple of times I found out that she was extremely intelligent and had a warm heart.  She did have a weird side, though, but she didn’t seem to care if she let it out once in a while.  All these great qualities made her a little prettier to me and I could understand why Allen wanted to be with her.  But it didn’t help me understand why he didn’t want to be with me.

Eventually the dog days of summer faded into the drone of back-to-school.  Despite Allen and his girlfriend I truly had the most amazing summer that year (which I will tell you about another time) and I didn’t want to see it end.  Add that to starting high school, becoming a cheerleader, and getting my old friends back and I’d say things were really starting to go my way.  I was even able at some point to lock my feelings away long enough to actually learn how to be “just friends” with Allen.  Of course, that could have something to do with the group of guys I met at church camp that were super cute…and one of them happened to be my new boyfriend…  But I digress.  The point is, though I didn’t have Allen I DID have a lot of other really good things going for me.

But like all good things they must come to an end at some point.  Just when I was finally able to accept the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be with Allen, the cycle began again.  My boyfriend dumped me, he dumped Bianca, and once again we were drawn to each other.  It’s like the song “Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads: “same as it ever was, same as it ever was…”  The flirting came full force attached with the line “let’s just be friends”.  My feelings came streaming out of their hiding place and I was once again consumed with Allen.  I found every way I could to be in his presence.  But this time felt different.  It felt like he truly cared about me and wanted to be close to me.  It was during this time I had one of the most memorable and special moments in my life.  I don’t think any girl (or guy) ever forgets….their first kiss.

It was a Wednesday night.  I remember this because that’s when our youth group always met.  After our class, our youth director would take turns shuttling people home.  I didn’t need the shuttle because I lived within walking distance, so I would hang around with Allen while he waited on his dad (did I mention before that Barry – the youth director – was Allen’s dad?).  Our youth room had probably once been an actual classroom, but we converted it to a much more inviting space, with couches and recliners.  We sat in there with some other friends of ours that were dating, flirting all night.  Then at some point – I guess to “set the mood” our friend turned off the light.  I continued talking to Allen about who-knows-what at the time.  We were sitting on the couch underneath the two windows in the room, the streetlights casting shadows while simultaneously illuminating our faces.  He was so beautiful.  I tried not to stare at him while he was talking to me, but I couldn’t help it!  Those perfect teeth, the tiny moles in his flawless skin…  *sigh*  About that time an awkward silence fell between us as we looked over to the other couch, only to see our friends making out.  I looked away quickly, embarrassed to have intruded on their moment, when suddenly I felt a hand on my cheek.  My heart started racing.  I slowly lifted my eyes to meet Allen’s, his face so close to mine I could feel his breath on my lips.

“There’s something I’ve always wondered about you, Heidi,” he said.  I couldn’t respond because I was paralyzed from my toes to my eyeballs.  “I just need to know…”

And he leaned in.  I closed my eyes.  And with his hands firmly on my cheeks he kissed me.  My lips were trembling and my hands were shaking.  Even though I was terrified, nothing felt more right.  And I allowed myself to melt into him.  No moment in my life has felt more special and more incredibly powerful than that first kiss.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity, he pulled away from me and smiled.  Not the crooked closed-mouth grin, but a real smile.

“I just needed to know how soft your lips were.”

I could not speak.  I could hear no words.  My vision was blurry and I had to sit back against the couch.  The whole room was spinning, my body shivering, my heart about to explode.  Was I dying?  What was happening to me?!?!?!?!  Then suddenly I was overcome with the most sensational warmth.  My eyes fluttered opened and I thought surely this was some extremely vivid dream.  But he was there.  His hand in mine.

I don’t think he realized the fire he lit inside me, because after that all I wanted to do was make-out.  I wanted to kiss him all the time, anywhere.  I was a make-out whore!  Just with Allen, mind you, but obsessed none the less.  And we did, too.  Mostly at church, because we didn’t really talk at school, but any chance we got we were lip-locked.  This went on for a few months until things started getting weird.  He was resorting back to his old ways.  He would ignore me, and the times he actually did talk to me he acted as if there was nothing between us.  I was getting desperate.  This is where Andrea came into the picture.

Andrea was a girl that had moved to our area some time in middle school.  She was quickly adopted by my group of friends and the two of us became quite close.  We had a class together second semester our freshman year where we sat next to each other and passed notes back and forth.  One day, as I was spewing about my latest ups and downs with Allen she mentioned she had a class with him.  Oh that poor girl…  She immediately became my liaison.  I would always ask her to ask him about me, bring up my name and try to grill him for information pertaining to our relationship (or lack thereof).  She was willing, but she also wasn’t forceful, as I’m sure it was a pain in the ass and made her feel uncomfortable.  This continued for a little while with not much coming to light, when all of a sudden – in March – she started acting weird.

So there it was, the week of my birthday, and both of them are avoiding me at this point.  Even though I was completely blinded by love, I knew something was up.  I came to Andrea, begging her to tell me what was going on.  Was it something in her family?  Was she ill?  Did she know something about Allen that I didn’t and couldn’t bare to tell me?  She simply said, “I can’t tell you until after your birthday.  It’s nothing bad so don’t worry about it.  Please.”  Yeah…right.  No problem.  It only ate away at me every day until the night of my birthday, when I had a dream.

The next day at lunch I sat across from Andrea.  “Today’s the day,” I said.  She STILL wouldn’t tell me.  She, in fact, got really angry that I wouldn’t drop it altogether.  In a fluster she grabbed her things and stormed away from the table.  Too bad for her I wasn’t going to make it that easy for her.

“Hey Andrea!!!” I yelled.  She turned to look at me, startled.  “I had a dream last night.  It was about you and Allen.  You guys were together and so happy and I was absolutely crushed.  Weird, right?”  I said it with a stone cold face.  She was completely shocked and horrified.  “No,…I…no…never…” she said, scurrying off.  That really was the dream I had the night before.  Funny little thing, intuition…

After school that day, Chloe, Kayla, Lanie, Andrea, and myself all sat in the commons area waiting for our rides.  I guess at some point Andrea realized that I wasn’t going to let up about what was bothering her.  She knew I cared more about what was wrong with her than whether or not Allen liked me, which is why this next part was so hard for her.

“Heidi…I don’t really know how to tell you this, but…”  She didn’t really need to continue.  I already knew.  “Allen and I – well your dream last night….  It’s true.  He likes me and…I like him.”

And that was it.  It was all over.  Just like that.  One of my best friends was going to be with the boy I chased, the boy I LOVED for almost two years.  The boy I put my heart and soul into – the boy that stringed me along – didn’t like me at all.  He wanted to be with my best friend.  I could no longer restrain the warm tears as they flowed down my cheeks.  The other girls were looking back and forth between us completely astonished.

“How could you do this to me?” I choked out, barely audible.

“You guys weren’t even togeth-”

“HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!?!?!?!?” I shrieked.  I got up from the table and made my way to the door.  I was blinded with tears, but I didn’t care.  I had to get out of there.  I needed air.  My friend Kayla followed me and wrapped me up in her arms.  She had no idea this was going on.  None of them did.  She allowed me to cry silently, comforting me. By the looks of us you would have thought a family member died or something.  I looked in through the window at Andrea and her head was down on the table, her body wracked with sobs as Lanie and Chloe rubbed her back and tried to console her.

That’s when the final crack spidered through my heart and it completely shattered.  I felt every…broken…piece.

*That was my first real crush, my first love, my first kiss.  That was my first heartbreak.  I was completely heartbroken for a good long while.  I let every emotion come into play.  Things were weird in the group for a while because I wouldn’t speak to Andrea and she wouldn’t speak to me.  It wasn’t like I could talk to them about her or what she’d done, because she was their friend, too.  So…there was much silence for the next week.  She knew damn good and well how much I loved that boy and EVERYTHING I had gone through to be with him, but she didn’t care.  I had never been so crushed.

Eventually, I forgave her, for the sake of the group.  I mean, she was right: we were never together.  But, even though I forgave her I could never be her friend again.  I couldn’t look at her the same.  They started dating and she kind of drifted away from our group to the point of being non-existent.  I ended up moving on the greener pastures, a senior boy named Blake who was super popular and smokin’ hot.  He was actually my first real boyfriend.

I look back on this time now and I can’t help but smile.  I sigh and think, ‘ah, young love…’  I will never forget what all of that taught me.  Not just about boys and heartache, but about relationships and friendships.  Most importantly, though, was what I learned about myself.  Allen was actually a pretty great guy, despite the drama.  But, he like myself, I’m sure, had a lot to learn about himself, too.  And Andrea was always a really great girl.  No matter what happened, she was at one point one of my best friends and that’s something I’ll never forget.  I hold no grudge.  The wound was healed a long time ago.  Trust me – that’s nothing compared to the heartache I would endure later on in life.

Fate’s a funny thing, isn’t it?  You just can’t stop it from happening.  Which is why Andrea and Allen are still married to this day.  :-)*


It’s just a harmless crush… – Continued

*Before we go any further, we are going to have to back up a little bit.  As I was driving to work the other day thinking about this story, it occurred to me that my timeline needs some refreshing.  Possibly some clarification as well.*

I met Allen during the second semester of my 7th grade year.  Obviously I was smitten, but I forgot until just the other day that Allen had a girlfriend at the time.  She was the same age as Allen, and just like him I didn’t know her, but I knew who she was.  Now, at some point he was told – or simply figured out – that I had a crush on him.  He would use this as a tool to torment me!  Back then I thought for sure he was flirting with me because he liked me, but my older self has come to the realization that he was simply teasing me.  For instance, I’ll never forget this one day in particular….  During the spring I had joined track, as did half of the kids at my school, including Allen’s girlfriend.  She ran the 400 meter.  Well, I know you’re not going to BELIEVE this, but it just so happens that I, too, ran the 400 meter.  So, there we were, together every day at track practice, in the same running group, running right next to each other (actually, I wasn’t so much next to her as I was 20 feet behind her, because unlike myself she really was good).  And, to top it off I was kind of afraid of her.  I mean, she was older, she was popular, and she was the girlfriend of the boy I was in love with.  I’m sure at some point she was also told or figured out that I had a crush on her boyfriend.  But, she never said anything to me.  Anyway, after track practice I had to take the bus home since my middle school was in the neighboring town.  Luckily, the bus stop was right across the street from my house, however this particular day it did NOT feel like a short walk.  Apparently, the girlfriend rode the bus to Bonne Terre to attend church with Allen that night, and the church was within walking distance.  It was very awkward when I got off the bus only to see him put his arm around her and begin walking the same direction as me.  I tried to stay a good distance behind them, but Allen kept turning his head around and staring at me, smiling at me like ” Ha ha!  You want me and can’t have me”.  I decided to walk on the other side of the street as to avoid him, but Allen – being a huge tease – called my name.  I looked up and they were hand in hand, his girlfriend’s head resting lovingly on his shoulder.  And, all he said was “hi” and flashed me that crooked, mouth-closed sly grin.  He did this just to embarrass me.  I instantly blushed and hurried as fast I could to my house.  Once inside, I ran to the window and watched them walk until they were out of sight, smiling and laughing.  Probably at my expense, no doubt.  I was mortified and hurt.  But, it just made me want him more.

That’s another thing.  Since Allen had a girlfriend who regularly attended church with him, I didn’t actually START attending Sadie’s church until the 8th grade, when they broke up.  It was during my 8th grade year that things started looking up for me.  I had made quite a few new friends that year, started attending church regularly, and towards the end of 8th grade year I had also made up with Chloe, Kayla, and Lanie.  Most notable, though, is that I got to see more of Allen.  He went off to high school and that’s when – if I remember correctly – he and his girlfriend broke up.  He confided in me.  He trusted me.  He flirted with me.   I was wasted with infatuation.  But, all I remember from that time is how much he seemed to like me, and it didn’t seem like he was teasing anymore.  One of my favorite memories from that time was the weekend we spent at Ladybug Palace.  It was this really old, extremely ginormous cabin in the woods…somewhere?  I don’t remember where.  It was a youth group weekend retreat (being a church function, the boys were in a completely separate part of the cabin from the girls).  I don’t actually remember much from that weekend anymore except we exploded a can of WD-40 in the bonfire, and that I got to spend a whole weekend with my friends and, of course, Allen..  We stayed up late, we snuggled, we talked until all hours of the morning….  It was completely innocent and very, very sweet.  I will remember it always.

Now, it’s important to remember this is Allen we’re talking about.  Through all of our flirting and becoming close, he still had not asked me out or even verbalized his feelings for me.  Sure, there were more good times than bad, but the bad times stung like a bitch.  A great example would be the time Sadie and I invited a mutual friend to go on some sort of youth group outing.  I don’t even remember now what it was, but I remember very clearly that he flirted with her the whole time.  Just…completely ignored my existence.  Then, on the way home, I had to sit behind the two on the bus and watch as he told her how hot she was and that she should call him.  WHAT THE F*$%!!!!!!??????  How could this be happening?  I stayed as strong as I could, biting back tears the rest of the way home, but as soon as I was dropped off at my house I let the waterworks go.  I sat on my front porch until I felt better to face my parents (they didn’t know about this crush, nor would I ever tell them).  The next day at school my friend asked me what was wrong.  I told her everything, again fighting back the tears stinging my eyes.  She was horrified!  She had no idea that I liked Allen, because I hadn’t told her until just then.  She hugged me an assured me that she would have never allowed the flirting if she’d known.  Not only that, but how could Allen be so cruel?

I was mad at Allen for a while.  I even shifted my focus to other boys; I had a couple of short-lived boyfriends, but I didn’t have the courage to be mad long.  Especially since he actually apologized to me, and even went as far as to tell me he liked me. He explained that while I was a great girl, he didn’t want to be tied down and that he hoped we could be friends.  I said I understood and of course we could be friends.  And the cycle started over again.  We flirted any chance we got and even though we were “friends”, it still felt like more to me.  By the end of 8th grade I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before we would officially become a couple.  I mean, he made an effort to be near me, hug me, hold my hand, call me…  And it was just when I thought FINALLY we would be together – out of nowhere – Allen got a girlfriend.

To be continued…