Friday, May 22, 2009

Saw My Old Crush on the Train Last Night

He came in with the crowd and I recognized him instantly. He hadn’t changed much. I quickly turned around afraid he’d see me and remember the girl who had written him that love note all those years ago. And just like that I was 14 again.

We were close friends in eighth grade, sitting next to each other in class, teasing and arguing over important matters like the correct pronunciation of Hobbes’ name. Not the philosopher. The comic strip tiger. I didn’t realize how I felt until after we’d already graduated. “At least we’re going to the same high school,” I thought. Only he never showed.

I held onto the pole with my back towards him hoping he’d stay by the door. But before long, his arm reached around me from behind, grasping the pole inches away from my hand. If I turned around my face would be right in his chest. On and on the train rocked from one station to the next as I replayed those memories in my head.

“Hi, this is Dorkys. I’m a friend of your son’s,” I said through the phone. “Is he around to talk?”
“Hi!” his mom replied. “Actually, he was accepted into a boarding school in Massachusetts so he's not here.”
“Oh…Then could I please have his address? I’d like to write him a letter.”

And so I wrote to him. I wrote about high school and about silly teenage worries and dreams. I asked about his life away from home. Weeks and weeks went by before he finally replied and, oh, how I read that letter over and over.

As luck would have it, a year later during a trip to visit family in Massachusetts, I learned that my cousin was in his class. I decided to send him a quick note with her telling him just how I felt. All day I anxiously waited for his reply. Until it came.

“Bull$#!t.”

Hurt and confused, I wrote him one last time once I got home. “He probably didn’t believe her,” I rationalized. “Or maybe he was embarrassed and caught by surprise.” I explained that what I had written was real. But I never heard back.

Standing there last night, I felt the embarrassment start to creep up again. As soon as a path cleared in the train car I moved away toward another pole. He followed. It’s funny how a city of 8.2 million can suddenly feel so small. As we stood there back-to-back, I wondered where he worked, what he’d done all these years, if he was standing there wondering the same things as me, also unable to call out my name.

But he probably just didn’t really see me.

Twenty minutes later, we reached his stop and he made his way to the door. And just like that I let him quietly step back out of my life.

Image: taru-int.com

40 comments :

  1. And your heart was racing....
    been there. Weird feeling. I hope it left you with a good, fresh breath for the weekend. :)

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  2. Been there done that...at the end burden lifted!"ahhh...." Chin up & move ahead... Anywhooo you have a fantastic weekend sweetie! ~Blessings as always* XO

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  3. 8.2 million people... Wow, what are the odds? Of course with all those people I think I wouldn't be paying much attention to those around me - other than to make sure nothing caused the "security alarm" to go off...

    That had to be a rather awkward ride none the less. I enjoyed today. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  4. oh my goodness, i was there too! doesn't it feel surreal when you see someone that you have a biggest crush on again? i wrote a card to this guy because he was leaving to join the Peace Corps and i thought what the heck, i won't see him again, might as well confess. imagine my complete shock when i saw him again 2 years later! but he was such a sweet guy and so unassuming so it made it easier.

    have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

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  5. Oh man... you need a hug!!!

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  6. This made me smile Dorkys - not because of your discomfort but because it's a relief to know I'm not alone in this. I bump into my equivalent occasionally when we are both in our old hometown and although it's about 30 years later, I'm convinced that he still thinks I feel that way. He always give me a knowing smile. It's excruciating!

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  7. Oh my GOd! you were just talking about him the other day too.. what are the odds.

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  8. Wow!! I would have turned around, you never know.

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  9. This is beautifully written. I could just feel every second of it.

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  10. So you know I'm reading this wondering who you're talking about? Hehe =)

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  11. tooj, you know, it was a weird feeling. My heart was racing a tiny bit, but it was mostly because I was thinking of the past. I didn't feel sad or wonder what could have happened because I didn't see him in that light anymore. When he stepped out, it was fine. I didn't wish I had talked to him at all.

    lenore, yup! Just got to keep it moving with some things. And thank you! Hope you're having a fantastic one as well!

    intense guy, the odds are clearly not in my favor. Months ago, I found out The Lawyer works a few blocks away from my job and ever since then I'm scared I'm going to bump into him (and bump into him when I look like a train wreck, which is even worse). The chat was great and I hope you're having a lovely weekend!

    odessa, it is surreal because it feels like you were transported back in time. I'm glad your guy was nice about it and you know what? I've written love letters to about three guys now. One in third grade, this one and the one that came after him. None of them went too well. But I don't regret what I said because then I'd still be wondering what would have happened if I'd kept it to myself (as I've done with others). I guess guys don't respond well to letters/ I pick the ones that won't like me in return!

    caren, I'm actually perfectly fine. Just felt a bit silly and embarrassed standing there next to him. I really wanted to hide!

    kendalee, yikes. I can't imagine having to live in a town where more people know your name and you keep seeing the same people you grew up with and went out with. Must be awkward! And I think he needs to get over himself ;)

    anonymous, I really doubt I was since I haven't mentioned him in aaages. I think you're talking about the one who lives where my family does. He's the crush who replaced this one and took an eternity to get over. An eternity! And you know what? Even though he lives where I used to, I haven't bumped into that kid since 2007. I only moved out last year, his stepmom is BFFs with mom and I go to visit the fam every week! But of course, now that I've said this The Universe will start to conspire...

    heidi, maybe. But eh, I didn't really feel like starting awkward conversation.

    curious girl & heidi, thanks! Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable because that's how I felt.

    la risa, oh I am most definitely NOT telling you! I forgot that people I've known since way back when read this! You're one of maybe two or three people I've known the longest (what? since kindergarten?) and still talk to today :)

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  12. Wow. Isn't it strange how with the billions of people in the world, it can still feel so small sometimes? I probably would have dived off the train and taken the next one. You're braver than me.

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  13. Very very small world. The question I have is....was it a purposeful follow he did or simply a convenience for those getting on the train? Who's to say he DIDN'T see you? Is there a possibility he did and he felt just as awkward? Just sayin...ya know.

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  14. katie, haha! I was NOT about to wait 20 more hours for the next train to come because of some GUY!

    ladystyx, I really don't think he purposely followed. As more people flowed in, we had to move farther into the middle of the train car to make room. But who knows?

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  15. I enjoyed reading this - you must have felt so nervous, if only for a moment, wondering what might happen! Visiting from SITS. Happy Memorial Day!!

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  16. I would have been nervous too! You write really well. I was catching my breath waiting to see if he was going to discover you!


    *from SITS

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  17. Wow. I have no idea what I would do in that situation! Probably better you let him go. What a great post! I felt like I was there with you =D

    Happy Holidays! Stopping by from SITS =D

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  18. great story, so well written! like a movie...or a book! came over from SITS!

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  19. i love your writing! visiting from sits.

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  20. Wow, what a post! Just popped over from SITS :0) Have a great week.

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  21. Just reading through some of your posts (I'm officially a fan already!)

    I've had something very similar to this happen, but it was with a high school friend and he had the crush on me and I didn't. We ran into each other, and even though I still don't have feelings for him we do hang out every once and a while.

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  22. That is crazy! I can't imagine running in to him in such a huge city! Awkward!

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  23. MANN! so u think he didn't see you? Well if he did and just didn't say anything then he probably didn't want to relive the past. It seems that you was over him anyways. Thats what we do, we live and learn and sometimes get crushed in the process but the crushness allows us to rebuild and str8 tin our selves back up. AWESOME!

    http://www.thrumommieiez.blogspot.com

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  24. Awww...that is so unbelievable. You actually had me on the edge of my seat :)

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  25. How many times have you wondered what would have happened if you had turned around? Chances are you would have found out that he wasn't as amazing as you remembered.

    Congrats on your SITS day!

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  26. Funny how quickly those old long buried feelings can creep back up to the surface. There's nothing quite like 14-year-old love.
    Well done.

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  27. Yeah, that would have been awkward! I would have done the same thing! I'm usually embarrassed to talk to people I knew from school that I have seen in years.

    Have a happy SITS day!

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  28. I can totally relate to this! Just last weekend I went back to visit my parents, and as I stopped in town to get gas, who happened to be standing in line with his girlfriend? Non other than the guy I had a HUGE crush on in high school. We said hi, he introduced me to his girlfriend, we hugged goodbye while promising to look each other up and talk more.

    After all those years, I still felt a rush. It's crazy how quickly we can be brought back.

    Stopping by from SITS!

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  29. What a great "short story!" I love when people share stuff like that. Truth be told, he probably knew it was you and was too afraid to speak.

    Found your blog through SITS.

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  30. Came over via SITS... Loved this story. That is such an awkward feeling not quite knowing what to do.

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  31. I teach high school, and sometimes I forget how powerful those emotions are when I see girls mooning over a cute boy who ignores them. So glad you were able to close the door (the subway door!) on that memory!

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  32. Because I am such an advocate for romanticism, I somehow feel that you should have made eye contact with him. And maybe, just maybe, this may have been the perfect time for your reconnection. You never know what may have happened as a result of it;-)...in a positive way.

    Congrats again on your SITS Day!

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  33. Ahhhh!!!! You must be dying. I mean the whole not knowing...but this way you get to at least make up any ending you want instead of god forbid he recognizes you and then, gasp, ignores you...I couldn't take it!!!! :)

    Happy SITS...

    Alex

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  34. THAT WAS DEEP!! I FELT THAT IN MY HEART LIKE I KNEW YOU GUYS!! I WENT THROUGH A SITUATION LIKE THAT NOT TO LONG AGO. NOT THE WHOLE SEEING HIM ON THE TRAIN BUT GETTING THAT LETTER OF DISAPPOINTMENT. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE YOU GUYS COMING FACE TO FACE... UH OHHH!!

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  35. Awww...if I were in your shoes I would have probably done the same exact thing!

    Too bad you didn't go for it though and see where it could have taken you! But I guess that's why they call it a "crush"!

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  36. I was feeling sad for you until I read one of your comments that you didn't even wish you had spoken to him after he got off the train. That's good. At least it didn't leave you wondering.

    Happy SITS Day!

    Cheers :-)
    - CoconutPalmDesigns

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  37. So great. So great. It's funny how no matter how accomplished we become in our lives and how confident and happy we are, those old loves can just shred all of that with just a glimpse.

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  38. I too have bumped into an old crush nearly ten years after last seeing her and can relate to this experience. She looked somewhat different, but those blue eyes stared right through me - same as before. All of a sudden, all those happy endorphins flood brain and you are crushing hard all over again. Time moves on, but I don't think there anything quite like young love. If she asked me to marry her today, I would accept without hesitation.

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