One Day, She Will Be Yours
I don’t like to ponder much about the future so much as I like to prepare for whatever it may bring. But sometimes my mind goes there and I smile at the thought of having a family of my own one day. If I’m fortunate enough to have children, I imagine there will be a bunch of things I will tell them about the life I lived before they arrived and the lessons I learned from it.
At times, my daydreams get super specific and I imagine I have a son who comes home from school one day all bent out of shape. You see, there’s a girl he really likes but she doesn’t feel the same way. At this age, he’s far too young to understand the concept of “more fish in the sea”. He hasn’t been around enough girls to know there are so many more he will meet, and of those many, some will like him back and some will like him before he even likes them.
So I will spare him the lecture, because there’s little chance a new girl for him to crush on will walk through his classroom door the next day. Besides all he cares about is the girl he likes. At that moment in his life, she is the one, and not having her is killing him, and since I know what that feels like I will tell him to take it from his old man, that girl, one day, she will be his. Maybe not forever, but one day, she will see in him what he sees in her. I’m sure when I say this to him, he will ask me how I know, and I’ll tell him the story.
We started 6th grade together, but I didn’t really notice her until she switched her hair style up in 7th grade. Then once I did, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I wanted her every day of school and even on days when there was no school. Luckily, she wasn’t a girl who I could only know from a distance. Her friends and my friends were friends with each other, we had a bunch of classes together, so there was never a shortage of her presence, never an awkward moment where she walked by and I couldn’t muster up the courage to say, “Hi.” We weren’t awkward around each other, in retrospect we were friends.
That’s an important point, and I can’t stress it enough. When the only option I had was to be her friend, I didn’t reject it, I accepted it. Granted, it’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be her boyfriend. I liked her as more than a friend, but then again, I also liked her as a friend so I thought, better to be a friend than to be a stranger.
High school would be much like middle school. Her and I would remain friends, even though by now it was a well-known fact that I was what we called “sprung” over her. I can’t recall now whether it was my sophomore or my junior year, but I do remember at some point getting up the courage to ask her if we could be something more than friends. Her answer surprised me, as she said, “I’ll think about it.” But the next day I learned via a heartfelt sincere letter she hand wrote for me that “I’ll think about it” usually means, “No, and don’t ask me again. I don’t want our friendship to be uncomfortable.”
Those were the exact words she wrote and they stung so much I still remember the exact spot at my high school where I read them. They stopped me dead in my tracks.
Still, I was a sucker for her. I would do anything she wanted to do and even if she didn’t want me to do it, I would try to do it anyway. To her credit, she knew my feelings for her never changed, and she never took advantage of them. We remained friends, and by our senior year, we were even able to joke about the crush I had on her. I would tell her one day we were going to get together, and she would smile and say “You wish.” I would say, “Everyday.”
Looking back on those middle school and high school years, the thing for which I’m most proud is the way I never let the crush overwhelm me to the point where I didn’t date other girls. A large part of this had to do with the fact that I remained friends with my crush, so we were usually hanging around each other. The thing about crushes is they never go away so much as they kind of move around from the front to the back of our mind. By high school, I was becoming more aware of other girls and I tried my hand at dating a few of them.
After graduation, I was one of many students who was off to college and so was she. She was going in-state, I out-of-state, clear across the country to the East Coast. At this time there was no Facebook, only buddy lists, but she didn’t have a screen name, which wasn’t a rare thing in those days. Staying in touch for us could be done via email, but by this time, I was too excited about all the girls I would meet in college. When I moved, the feelings I had for my crush stayed behind. We would stay in touch every now and then, but nothing too deep, and then by my sophomore year of college, I rarely if ever thought about her and when I would come home, she was never around.
Then on one of my vacations back home, a mutual friend of ours told me my crush actually moved back into town. I hadn’t seen her in probably two or three years, hadn’t talked to her in a year. My friend said she was working at the local mall and he saw her frequently. He also made it a point to tell me she was looking good.
All of a sudden, I got that old feeling, or rather, the feelings for the crush moved from the back of my mind to the front. I said bye to my friend and I drove to the mall to see if she was working. I didn’t need to go home and change, I didn’t need a full length mirror to see if I was presentable. I was a Howard University student, and by this point in my life I knew better than to leave wherever I was looking anything less than clean. I was one of those annoying guys who would come back home from a semester at college with their chest all out. I can admit that now.
When I arrived at the mall, I could see inside the store where she was working from afar. As I got closer I slowed down to see if I could spot her, and as sure as my friend said, there she was stocking some merchandise. I slid behind a pillar and coached myself up. “What are you going to say, Jozen? Just be cool. Don’t act like you came to see her. Or no, wait, act like you came to see her. Whatever, just go inside and say the first thing that comes to mind.” I took a deep breath, patted down my shirt, and walked from behind the pillar.
Her back was turned towards me, she was helping another customer. I shyly browsed behind her and as the customers she was helping walked away I said, “Excuse me, I need your help.” She turned around and her eyes got wide. She yelped, “Oh my God!” Then threw her arms around me and gave me a hug. I was laughing and smiled and didn’t miss a beat. “You look good,” I said. “Oh please, I’m a mess, I’m at work,” she said. I made eye contact with her and said, “No, really, you look good.” I needed her to see the confidence I had, I wanted her to tell I was different and the guy she said no to was going to be a lot harder to say no to this time around.
She said she was off in ten minutes but her sister was coming to pick her up. I told her I would wait, walk her to the pick-up spot. When we made that walk, I explained I was only in town for a couple of weeks to visit the family, but we should hang out. She said she would like that, so we made plans to do so the day after Christmas which was two days away.
The day after Christmas went as planned. We hung out that day, and the day after that, and the day after that, and everyday until I left. When I went back to school, she visited me two weeks later. I introduced her to everyone as my girlfriend, because that’s what she was and would be for a while.
Of course, this is the part where my son would ask why we broke up, and I will tell him that story is for another time and it’s really not the point of this story. This story isn’t about breaking up with a woman, it’s about being with a woman who once said no and years later said yes. One day, she will be yours.