All the Times I’ve Never Been Kissed, Part 3

(Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.)

I’m seventeen.

We talk for the first time when we are asked to present a problem to our chemistry class. You take point because I am embarrassingly bad at chemistry and have a terrible phobia of public speaking, but you don’t mind. You don’t think any less of me because of it. I appreciate that about you. When you smile at me and tell me I’m still brilliant, my stomach does a somersault.

For almost a year you text me every single day. Sometimes I reply and sometimes I don’t, but I can always count on feeling my phone buzz sometime between 3 and 5 pm and experiencing the thrill that means you’re thinking about me at that very moment. It feels good to be remembered. Sometimes I know you’re flirting with me but I pretend I don’t notice because it’s easier to be clueless than scared.

By the time you’ve made your intentions clear, I’ve already overanalyzed every thought and emotion that’s gone through my head. It’s already too late to reach me.

We don’t talk much, other than electronically. Sometimes we make eye contact and I wonder which of us is going to look away first. Which of us is more scared of the other. When I feel my blood getting hot and things are a little fuzzy, I imagine you’re feeling that way too. One time we try to go out on a date and the whole time my body is boiling and my ears are ringing and I’m so alarmingly aware of your closeness that I can’t think straight. But you never touch me. You never say a word. You just sit there silently and I start feeling sick to my stomach and ask you to take me home.

You torment me before I go to sleep at night. I wonder how you are so clearly interested and yet so sullen and aloof. Why you’re the life of the party but you’ve never tried to make me laugh.

We both have walls up. I’m waiting for you to knock mine down and you’re waiting for me to do the same to yours, and all the while neither of us are happy. We are too consumed by our insecurities to let each other in.

Someday, someone will get through to you, and part of me will always envy her for being braver than I ever was. And for getting to see the special person you are.

I still think about you all the time. I always will.

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