It was only Wednesday, I had another day to go, but today was the day that I had to do it. I reasoned if I tried today and chickened-out, I still had one more day to try again. It sounded like a good plan, so I ran to my next class to meet her.
I was sitting in classroom waiting for her to arrive. I was early for once, four minutes early to be exact and it felt really weird. A little too awkward actually, like something bad was going to happen, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Seeing that no one was around, I got up and decided to sharpen my pencil.
As I approached the door, I ran into her and Penni. Speechless, my reflexes suddenly took over; I looked at her and asked, "Hi Marielle, are you busy after class? I'd like to talk to you about something important." I don't know why, but I was surprisingly nonchalant about how I said it. Underneath my stoic exterior lied an entirely different world.
"Sure, what's on your mind?" she said. She seemed happy like always; as cheerful as could be, nothing out of the ordinary was on her mind. I wish I felt the same.
"Oh nothing really, I just have a question for you, but let's talk about it after class, OK?" I managed to say what was on my mind, but barely. Rapids of adrenaline were crashing through my ears and my vision started blur. Feeling slightly dizzy, I realized that I needed to breathe. I took a deep breath and decided it was best to sit down. But when I reached my seat and sat, I felt even worse. "There was no way I could go through with this!" My hands started to shake, my palms were clammy and my heartbeat became chaotic; caught in a whirlpool of self doubt, I began to drown in my own insecurities.
Suddenly a divine voice broke my despair, "Hello bad boy, how's it going?"
I looked and saw Penni; she was turned around in her chair and smiling. I never saw her reach her desk. I had no idea she was sitting in front me. She startled me, but not in a bad way. I don't know why, but her smile made me feel better. The fog of confusion vanished and my primal instincts took over. "Fight or flight?" I knew I had to choose.
Out of the blue, a name popped into my head. "Another possibility," I thought. Without hesitation, I asked. "Penni are you good friends with Becky? She's a junior and bowls with us on the weekend?"
"No not really, but we have hung out before. Why?" she asked.
"Do you know if Becky is dating anyone?"
Penni look surprised but answered my question. "Sorry we aren't that close; go ask her yourself."
"Oh forget it. I think she likes Ron anyways." I mumbled. I then realized that flight was trying to take over. Regaining some sensibility, I understood that cowardice would be disastrous with my friends. Fight was my only true option. Whether I liked it or not, I knew what I needed to do.
"Who likes who?" inquired a familiar voice.
I fell back into irrationality; I didn't know how to answer the question. "What?" was the best I could muster; as I began to seek the inquisitor.
"Who do you like?" asked Zoey. Her blatant questioning caught me completely off guard, but I sensed that she was determined to get it out of me.
"Come on Mike, who?" She had me stretched on the rack and she was slowly turning the wheel. Inexplicably, I knew I was going to tell her the truth. Marielle was in hearing distance, but it didn't seem to matter. If Zoey asked again, I would tell her what was on my mind.
Time began to move slowly and the girls began to talk. Penni and Zoey seemed to be comparing notes; then Gwen, Sara, and Marielle joined their conversation. The situation was getting out of hand, I knew my personal life was about to get exposed. Oddly enough, I welcomed it. Zoey turned around; she was ready to continue her questioning...
Then class started, and the uncomfortable ordeal came to an end.
It was a long forty-seven minutes and class was about over. It took the majority of the time, but I now felt at ease. Without thinking about it, I once again looked towards Marielle. I started to get a little nervous, but this time I felt really restless. "Oh what the hell", I thought. "I'll just do it and get it over with. Who knows, it may work out. It's only impossible if you don't try! That's what Ranger Ric would say."
Ranger Ric was right, if I don’t try, it is impossible. I had to do it, so I began to believe. Reassurance surged and I knew what I had to do. My heartbeat relaxed, my breathing calmed and I became filled with confidence. Nothing was going to stop me now; in a few minutes, good or bad, it would all be over.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Zoey leaning over from her desk. "Pssst Mike, I have a secret that I want to share with you."
I leaned over to listen, and I heard her say it; the words that changed my life forever. The words that every nerdy guy wants to hear, but only believes happens in movies. "I know someone who likes you. She's a friend of mine and she wants to know if you have a girlfriend?"
What? I began to choke on my own the air. Like a deer seeing headlights; I was stunned. I couldn't believe my ears. Maybe she was kidding; I took a second look at her and I knew she was serious. Waves of emotion began to run wild and my heartbeat quickened. Suddenly, a slide-show of all the girls that Zoey knew went flying though my mind. Gwen, Sara, Penni, Alice, Amy and a few others. Who? Why? Who? Then something else dawned on me, Zoey was good friends with Marielle as well. "Could it be?" I thought; maybe luck was on my side. I thought about it again and realized something even more important. I was saved! I could ask a girl out with no fear of rejection. I've never felt so relieved in my entire life. I didn't care who it was anymore, I just knew that Zoey was about to make my life easier. What perfect timing, fate was being kind to me.
I collected myself and whispered to her "Let's talk after class."
She nodded and the final minutes of the class flew by in an instant.
The bell rang and class ended. I stood up, smiled, and immediately walked over to Zoey's desk. I picked up her stack of Menudo folders and joyfully said, "Zoey let me walk you to your next class." I gave her a wink and she returned a smile.
As I got to the door a voice from behind said, "Mike didn't you have something you wanted to ask me?"
I looked at Marielle, she had a big smile but so did I. "Sorry I can't right now. Something urgent came up and I need to discuss it with Zoey. I'll talk to you about it later." Then I left the classroom with Zoey.
On the way to her next class, I leaned over, put on my cool voice, and asked "I'm not seeing anyone. Who is your friend that likes me?"
She smiled, poked me in the ribs, but didn't say a word until we got close to her classroom. I got the feeling that she just wanted me to carry her stuff, which I did gratefully. I didn't think any boy would be willing to carry her conspicuous set of Menudo folders in public, but today I was willing to do it for miles; I would have worn a Menudo t-shirt in public if she asked.
We stopped at the doorway to her classroom and she wiggled her index finger at me; asking me to come closer. I leaned over and she began to whisper into my ear. I felt her breath on my ear, it felt a bit warm. It felt a little weird too, but I was too intent on getting the name to back out now. Then she whispered it, the name; the name of emancipation.
I couldn't believe what I heard, luck was truely on my side. I smirked and slowly righted myself. I took a deep breath, looked her straight in the eye and gave her a big smile. She returned one as well.
I knew exactly what I was going to do next; I smirked and began preparing my rejection speech about joining Renno's club.
U-n-me-i is what the Japanese call it; we call it fate. I do believe in luck, but I don't believe in destiny. Having a pre-determined future never made any sense to me. If the future was inevitable, we might as well let time pass us by as we do nothing; we wouldn't be alive, we wouldn't have hope and the desire to improve our situations. But we do, we can't help it, it's innate to us. We all strive to make our lives better regardless of where we are today, or where it may look like we're headed. Good or bad, choices in life are ours to make and the outcome of those decisions determine the path we take. Ironically however, whenever choices became a little too precarious for me, fate always seemed to help out whenever I needed it. And that day was no different.