"Start with the first point whose coordinates you are given or can figure out. Imagine the infinite number of lines that could pass through the point. You can simulate this by thinking of the line as a spinner, anchored by the point…"
I barely look up, doodling flowers in the margin of my notes seems far more important than whatever my teacher is talking about. Besides, I think, like any of THIS is going to help me figure out how in the world I'm supposed to get over Brent. Because that's what I have to do. Get over him. OVER. DONE. The feelings need to stop existing. I am seventeen. SEVENTEEN for crying out loud. I am going to Northwestern in a year. I am going to study secondary education. I am going to move on, make friends, grow up, become more responsible, and GET OVER HIM!
Spritzing on some "Hawaiian Ginger," I slide into my tennis shoes. I take one more glance in the mirror before flinging on my coat.
"See ya, Mom. We'll be careful."
"Okay. Have fun. Be home before 10:30…and grab anumbrella, it looks like rain!"
"Eh, we'll be alright," I bound out the door as Micah pulls in the driveway.
Fastening my seat belt, I peer out the window at the incoming gray clouds. Following my gaze, Micah laughs, "What? Never watched a football game in the rain?"
I smile, adjust my seat, and try to suppress the fact that I am worried what my curly hair will DO if it rains. After all, this is the first football game I am going to get to see Brent play.
Twenty minutes later we pull up to the football field. I see the blue and gold uniforms and quickly find number 3. Oh how I want to be wearing a t-shirt with that number on the back, proclaiming that he is mine, taken, off the table, unavailable, with someone,…
"Kels, come on!" I blink my glazed over eyes and trudge forward. I am always looking forward to seeing him, but the pounding in my chest sometimes makes it nearly impossible to know how to respond to normal moments with him.
I plop onto the bleachers just as he begins huddling up his guys and calling out the play. A quarterback. Sigh. And football pants. Oh, thank you Jesus for football pants! I hardly notice the first rain drop, but by the time the next one hits it is a full on downpour. Someone comes over the loud speaker abruptly, "Sorry but we will delay the game thirty minutes. Please clear all players from the field." We high tailed it to the car, and occupy ourselves with food for a bit as the storm blows over. The next couple hours are a blur of soggy socks, muddy cleats, cheering, and him-- never taking my eyes off him.
As time expires I find myself following Micah down to the edge of the field. Wet, frizzy, and elated, I spot him at the fifty yard line, slowing making his way toward the sidelines. He has stripped himself of his pads. My toes are tingling as he walks toward me, wet hair, muddy pants, rib protector, and undershirt. He has never been more attractive. I am completely sunk. Getting over him seems impossible.
I scrub the dirt that has made its way between my fingers at softball practice. I can't help but think of number 3 from time to time…all the time. I saunter to my bedroom, grab a pen and notebook, and begin scribbling furiously.
Jesus, I can't do this anymore. I want to let him go. I want you to be in control of this situation. But, if I can't have Brent please give me someone as caring as him. Let me end up with a guy who loves his family as much, who is as good looking and sensitive as him; someone who love YOU as much as he does. I trust that you know what you're doing, and if I can't have Brent I just ask that you give me someone that has all of the qualities that he has. Jesus, I need less of me and more of you in this situation.
Rolling over on my stomach, I bury my face in my pillow.
"Happy birthday, dear Brent, happy birthday to you!" I take a side glance at the others in the room. How much can they tell about the way I am feeling about this birthday boy? 18 years old. My mind races back, picturing him at 13 standing in the foyer of the church. I stood opposite him, an awkward 13 year old myself: retainer, bangs, knee high socks. Rebecca introduced us, he reached over and shook my hand, and then was off to find his friends. And now here I was, 5 years later, watching him blow out birthday candles and completely and utterly intrigued by him.
The others meander off towards the living room to get the movie started, and I lean on the counter offering my assistance cutting and plating the cake.
"Sure. And thanks for coming. I didn't even know who all ended up being invited, but I'm glad you could come."
Has he said this to everyone, or is he glad that I am here, that it is ME in the kitchen with him cutting the cake? "Yeah, of course. Besides, I hear we're going to watch "Finding Nemo" and I still haven't seen it." I throw a smile on my face but have no idea why everything I say sounds so incredibly lame
"I think you'll like it." He plops a piece of chocolate cake onto the plate I'm holding out. "You still thinking you're going to go to Northwestern next year? I know in your last email that's what you said, but I'm still holding out hope you'll change your mind."
"Really?" REALLY!!! "Yeah, that's still the plan."
"Well, I think you need to come to Ozark." He slides his finger carefully down the plastic knife, transferring all excess icing onto his finger and into his mouth. My mind is exploding and I'm trying to hold the loaded cake plates still in my hands.
He NEEDS me to come to Ozark!? "Oh yeah, why is that? So you guys can continue to make fun of me throughout college," I say jokingly and as coolly as I can muster.
"Well that, and the fact that if I can get someone to sign up I get $100 off my tuition." He throws the knife in the sink and it clatters against the other dishes. He turns around, flashes me a smile, then picks up the other plates and heads into the living room.
Seriously? This guy has NO CLUE. I shove some cake in my mouth and force my dejected self into the other room.
I slide into the back seat of the cherry red Passat. Brent hollers at Derek, and soon the four of us take off: Derek in the passenger's seat, Brent driving, and Jon in the back with me. We stack our bibles in the middle and begin the 25 minute drive to St. Joe for youth group.
Turning on the radio, Derek leans over and engages Brent in an intense discussion. With the speaker in my ear I can barely make out what they are talking about.
"Brent?" Jon whispers over at me, indicating that he has been watching me watch Brent the past couple of miles.
"What? Huh? What do you mean, 'Brent?'" I defend myself a little too much.
He grins at me and shakes his head like an older sibling who has just caught his little sister in the middle of something he knows he can use against her for years and years.
"I mean…what do you mean? And no. It's Brent. I mean, it's Brent. He's my friend. My really good friend. I wouldn't want to…He wouldn't want to…"
"Kels." I'm still trying to whisper as passionately as I can my defense. "KELS!" We're both leaning towards each other in the back seat because I don't know if any of this is registering to the two up front. I look down at my hands. I look out the window. I have done such an excellent job of hiding all of this, how could Jon know anything? He doesn't know. He can't know. He's just making this all up.
Slowly lifting my head, I peek at Jon again. His eyes bore into me.
How does he know!?
As if reading my mind he simply says, "I just know." I look at him, my eyes pleading him to stop this conversation yet also begging him to give me hope.
"Please. Don't tell." It's barely audible over the front seat conversation and the music and the beating in my chest and that look in his eyes. "Please."
"You would too."
"Shhh. Jon, I'm serious."
I throw myself into the possibility that he actually won't tell, and resume watching fence posts out my window.