I spent the rest of my sophomore year of high school being mean to Todd Smith. Not terrible mean. But biting, scathing, sarcastic mean. Which he took as friendly.
Boys. [insert eye rolling]
So, Todd became more friendly towards me and would seek me out to talk to me at meetings and dances. Because I was mean to him and didn't want him around anymore. He even came to see the musical I was in that spring. (I did NOT go to see his. A fact that has been brought up several times in our marriage.)
Throughout my sophomore year, I discovered many other people on which to have massive crushes. Maybe "many" is overstating it a bit. I remember two. One of them was more plausible than the other, but I was desperately shy.
There are those of you who have only known me in adulthood. I can assure you that outside of my own little circle of comfort I was debilitatingly shy. I wouldn't call people on the phone until I was 10 or 11, and only then if they were my very best friends. I was so shy about talking to strangers that once when my parents wanted me to place my own order at McDonald's (I think I was 8 or 9 at the time) I responded by bursting in to tears. The summer in between my sophomore and junior year of high school I went to live and work in Wyoming. I lived in the apartment which adjoined my grandparent's house and worked in the hardware store partially owned and soley operated by my Uncle Garth. I realized upon arrival that for all the time I had spent in Wyoming, I had been to shy for anyone to actually know me. So, I decided that shyness was a choice. And I was going to choose to not be shy anymore. I talked to everyone that summer. I was still more quiet than most, but for me it was quite an acheivement. Granted, some of my conversations were more prudent than others, but still, it was a big deal for me.
When I returned to NJ, I decided that life would be different. I could carry some of my new found not-shyness back to school with me. And I did. Which is why it was so delightful that one of the boys I had a crush on was the only boy from my school to have also been selected for the NJ All-State Chorus. And I was the only girl. We would travel together to rehearsals on Saturdays. Neither one of us said a whole lot, now that I think about it, but it was still more than I had ever said coherantly to an almost stranger that I had a crush on. I suppose we were getting to know one another in a slow and quiet way. One night after a Halloween party, he offered to drive me home. I accepted and we ended up driving for a couple of hours before we made it back to my house. Just talking. Quietly.
All-State Chorus culminated in a weekend down in Atlantic City where we performed at the NJ Teacher's Convention. This boy and I were the only two from our school to be down there. Did I mention that? Our friends whispered that THIS could be the weekend. Two relatively shy people practically alone (with 300 other choir members)! Surely, under those circumstances we would figure something out?!
I don't remember the bus ride down to Atlantic City at all now. Did we sit together? I can't remember now. But we tried to coordinate meals and walking from the hotel to the rehearsal site together. I remember the fluttery feeling of walking down the stairs of the hotel with him, when Todd Smith came bounding up to me like an excited puppy. I was predictably mean to him in the hopes that he would go away and allow me to make doe eyes at my crush. As usual, my meanness made him stick to me like glue. For the ENTIRE weekend. There was only one moment where crush and I stood closer than necessary to one another. I was sitting on the rail of the boardwalk and he leaned his back into me while I put my arms around him. Every time I hear the creak and smell that smell of a black leather jacket, that's the moment I think of. A moment, I should add, that we only got because I sneaked out of the hotel purposely to avoid Todd Smith.
Our case was not helped by the fact that there was a very cute girl flitting around my crush when I wasn't around. But I choose to blame Todd for the fact that we never ended up together.
Which meant that I spent the rest of that year treating Todd Smith with even GREATER disdain than I previously had. When I got home from my weekend away, my Dad asked about Todd. I made a disparaging comment about his singing voice. My Dad said, "Well, he got in. He must be good." I shot back a viscious "Oh, please. He's a tenor. They don't have to be good. They just have to have a pulse."
And then I stormed up to my room. (It's choir geek vindictiveness. Trust me.)
I will say that it turned out for the best. The crush and I ended up going to the same college and even eventually lived together. He was a good roommate. I would have missed that if we'd dated.