February 14, 1983

High school was about survival. Keep your mouth shut, your head low, and try to survive the day without being intimidated, confused, or made fun of. If a class didn't have assigned seats, head for the back and hopefully sit behind someone tall so the teacher couldn't see you when it came time for questions to the class. Joking around with your buds was some of the lone fun of the day; but if a girl should happen to speak to you, stare at your sneaks and try to think of something to say - all the while planning your exit. After school, head for home to watch TV, read, and listen to music. At night before bed, blast tunes on headphones in the dark. The week was mostly spent waiting for the weekend, when you would have more time to keep to yourself.

Your High School Crush was a break from all of this. She was a very pretty girl (Elisabeth Shue in The Karate Kid) and a very kind girl. She would take time to talk to you, she seemed genuinely interested in you as a person. She was naively sweet and would blush when offered a compliment. Then she would immediately disagree with your words. This made her all the prettier. Through most of high school, she was just about the only girl you had conversations with. She offered hope - hope that things might someday be different. A day when that ever-present uneasy feeling in your stomach and mind would be replaced by always knowing what to say, of knowing exactly where you were going. A day when a girl like her would drop her boyfriend to spend time with you. To talk to her in class or in the hallway made your week. When you listened to "Candy's Room" in the dark of your room, you imagined it being about the two of you.

It was true you had nothing in common with her. At the time, you didn't think boys and girls ever had much in common. That's why the genders had headed for opposing sides of the battlefield when first grade started, right? Surely it was hormones and hormones alone that were getting boys and girls in their teens together. Your Crush was based on 1) her being a very pretty girl, and 2) being flattered beyond belief that a girl - especially a girl like her - would take time to talk to you. You kept your Crush to yourself, as you kept most things to yourself. To confess it would show weakness, and this was a time when strength - no matter how poorly faked or feigned - was needed the most.

A few times during the school year, such as Christmas and Valentine's Day, the student council offered a service. You could pay a dollar or two, write a note to someone, and that note along with a flower or a piece of candy would be delivered to the person in a class.

During senior year, Your Crush was thoughtful enough, playful enough, and kind enough to send two (as opposed to the standard one) carnations along with a note to you in your sixth-period class on Valentine's Day. It was a Monday, and because your sixth-period class was an independent study course, you didn't always go to class as you had the rest of the week to finish your work. So while her flowers were being delivered to class, you were at Mother's Records up on Gateway Drive, scoring a used copy of Focus's Moving Waves album. You got the note and flowers in class the next day.

Your Crush seemed a little hurt when she found out that you were at the record store instead of in class to receive her gift. You came across her Valentine's note the other day when going through your yearbook. You haven't played the Focus album in years, it's in a closet somewhere. You don't miss it much at all.

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