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That moment it seemed like I was locked under his prison, and held the key for release. His voice was like music to my already musical ears. His name felt like velvet against the root of my mouth, kind of like I was eating the world’s most richest chocolate. I was probably staring at him the way the animals stared at their prey, kind of like I was willing him to say more. I probably was also creeping him out. My mind went blank, and I just focused completely and totally on him.
“So”, he said, as he finally took the plunge and broke the awkward silence. It was probably too awkward for either of us to bear. “Have you played the flute for very long?”
I nodded. “Yup, since third grade,” I said, as I looked down at my tiny instrument. “How about you? Have you played the clarinet for very long?”
“Since I was five”, he said.
“Why the clarinet?” I asked, trying to keep the conversation going.
“Because my mom wanted me to play the flute, but my dad thought that it was way too girly of an instrument. So, the clarinet was a compromise.”
“You don’t like to play the clarinet?” I asked. I was shocked, because he gave off the vibe as a clarinet expert.
“For a while, yes. I loved it. But, I can’t wait until high school is over so I can sell this thing and buy a car.”
I looked at him skeptically. “You really think that a clarinet would be worth the same as a car?”
He chuckled. “Yes. Well a used car, or a car that was driven very little by an old lady whose license has been removed, and she wants to get rid of her car for some pocket change. Probably for cab or bus fare.”
“Money for a car is pocket change?”
“To a rich old lady, yes.”
“Oh so now she’s rich?”
“Yeah. Didn’t you know that?”
“I guess that I should be more specific in my examples then.”
“I guess you should be.”
Before our flirty banter could continue, our no-nonsense band director sauntered into the band room. Needless to say he stomped all over my chances of getting to know this all too perfect stranger.
For a couple of weeks, our flirty banters continued. And then, after band, I would play back each and every word spoken by the two of us to my best friend Daphne. During both of those, I wondered would he ask me out? But, he didn’t, which was the agony of almost every teenage girl who was in love with someone who probably was none the wiser.
One Friday after school, I saw him getting his clarinet out of his band locker for the weekend. Coming from geometry, my head was already topsy-turvy and I didn’t want to get into more confusion than I already was in.
“Hey Kitty Cat”, he said, smiling.
“Hey”, I said, trying to sound cool.
“Do you have a moment? I wanted to ask you something.”
My heart began to race, and I felt weird, tingly. There was nothing more nerve wrecking than having your crush say those worlds, because they could mean just about anything.
“Yeah sure”, I said, trying to sound even cool and chill than I did before. Now, it was more of an effort. My palms began to sweat. What could he possibly have to ask me, I wondered.
“I was wondering if you liked to go to the football game next week with me?” he asked.
“Sure”, I said, failing at hiding my smile. It’s always a good thing when your crush asks you if you want to hang out. Even when you have no idea what kind of hanging out session it’s going to be? Is it going to be as friends? Or is it a date? The choices were so broad. I tried to hide my excitement, and have it bottled up. But still, I felt like at any moment, I was going to explode.
“Cool”, he said. He too was grinning. “Do you like pizza?”
“Yes, I like pizza.”
“Good. Would you be down to get some after?”
“Sure”, I said.
“Great. Can I have your number?”
“Sure”, I said. Clearly, I couldn’t find any other words.
He pulled out a black iPhone, and I punched my number in.
“I’ll text you later so that way you can have mine”, he said.
I nodded. I tried not to smile too much or look too overeager. But I still wanted to show him that I was very much looking foreword to this date. It was a hard thing to try to muster both. Of course, I wanted to jump up and down. But that would be saved for later, when I met up with Daphne to relive the events that just happened.
“I’ll look foreword to receiving your text at some point”, I said. ‘God, I sound stupid’, I thought.
“I look foreword to texting you at some point”, he said, as he smiled even more than I did. He had really nice teeth-very white, shiny, and perfectly straight.
“Hey can I ask you something?” I asked. I had to do this quickly, before I lost all of my nerve.
“Is this going to be a date?” I asked. It was way too blunt and direct for it to be me.
“Well, let’s see. It’s Friday night, and I’m planning to wear lots of hair gel, smell really good, and wear something that will make you unable to stop thinking about me. I also am planning to pay for the pizza, in addition to the game tickets. Does this sound like a date to you? I think it does.”
I nodded, smiling. It’s always a good thing when your crush asks you out on a date. It was a pretty much safe bet that he liked you just as much or even more than you liked them.
“It’s a date”, I said.
He kissed my on my forehead. “I am looking foreword to having the privilege to going out on a date with you, Miss Cathleen O’Connor”.
“I am too”, I said, as I struggled to catch my breath.
He just grabbed his clarinet, and I just stood there, unable to move, but suddenly had the unsual desire to do a lot of cartwheels.