It was a Friday night and the local high school was having its weekly football game. Always one to help out, I usually worked the concession stand at the ball game. This one particular night, I had finished early at the concessions, and was allowed a little time to hit the bleachers with my girlfriends. What a treat!
I scanned the crowed in search of my friends. I immediately spotted them at the top row bleachers. Slowly I made my way over to them and took a seat, hoping to go unnoticed for the rest of the night. The crowd cheered and laughed, and fun was being had all around me. Festive spirits the night brought, and it put me in a peaceful mood.
The game was at a time out, so I scanned the crowd to people watch. That was when I saw him. Just seeing him did something to me. I leaned over and whispered into my girlfriend’s ear about the one person in the crowd that gave me butterflies. She paused for a moment to take notice of the beautiful creature I was pointing out. Nodding her head in approval, she flashed me a smile, then went back to the current gossip at hand with the girls.
I sat in the bleachers quiet, thinking of the person I’d just seen. Lost in the game, I didn’t notice the object of my affection had made his way up to our area. He was now talking with my girlfriends. Too nervous and coy to be part of the action, I shied away and kept my distance. Much to my disappointment, I turned my head moments later, only to witness my so-called friend holding hands with my man crush. This made me feel some type of way inside, but not in a very nice way. The game ended. I couldn’t have been gladder. I no longer had to put up with my girlfriend flirting with the boy I was too shy to say hello to.
Walking aimlessly around the parking lot, my friends were trying to decide what to do next. The game was over, but we didn’t want our night to end. Our plans lead us to the local pizzeria to dine with my crush and his friends. My head grew numb as I tried to understand how I could endure another few hours of teenage flirting between friend and crush.
I told myself, “Just suck it up!” I would smile, laugh, have fun, and not let on to the inner disappointment that was beginning to build within.
As the hostess led us to our table, I made it a point to pick the chair at the opposite end of the flirtatious behavior. I wanted to sit somewhere far off where I wouldn’t have to witness my friend’s enjoyment of getting the guy. We sat and ate and talked and laughed. Most of my gazes were on the art decor that covered the walls. I’d much rather analyze the art on the wall, than have to see the frisky behavior that was taking place at the table. I’d chime in every now and then, as not to give away what I was really feeling inside.
Feelings of regret washed through me as I recalled how timid I was. A feeling of complete disgust for trusting my friend would never do such a thing. The feeling of disappointment, that my crush’s attention was on her and not me. I began to get angry with myself for not being able to overcome such limits. Every now and then, I’d allow my eyes to peek to my right, and I’d see the hand touching under the table. Damn, I lost.
It was this defining moment that taught me the virtues of patience. The entire night was a constant battle of feelings inside. Angry at my girlfriend for crossing the line after I told her what I had felt. What kind of friend is she? Confused with my crush for not seeing how fake she was. I thought he was smarter. Disappointment in myself for not stepping up to the plate when he was first introduced to me. I just met him, what kind of girl does that!
As I sat there taking in the night, watching friends and strangers fellowship, I knew it would be a night to remember. I made a self-note not to be so shy all the time. I moved the friendship I had with such girl from my ‘friends’ list over to my ‘acquaintance’ list. There is a difference after all. Most importantly, I learned to value who I really was. I was quiet. I was shy. I was timid. I was me. Had I acted differently, I might have landed the dream of holding my crush’s hand under the table, but exactly whose hand would he have been holding?
Later that night, as I lay in bed reminiscing over the events of the evening. I felt at peace. I was happy with who I was. I learned that no matter what situations life brings my way, I won’t let it change me. I’ve got to stay true to myself. Even if being me requires stepping to the side while others enjoy the guy.