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WHAT?” I shrieked, brandishing my hairbrush at
“I… umm kind of… may have…” her voice become softer
and then trailed off as her eyes followed the
sharp, harsh movements of the brush.
“You kind of, may have…TOLD SOME RANDOM BOY THAT
I’D HAVE LUNCH WITH HIM!” I shouted. “That’s what
you did!” Although I screamed these words, my anger
was already dissolving, and it’s place was dread.
My stomach was filled with butterflies and left me
feeling slightly nauseous. I was forced to finish
up my passionate rant in a weak, pleading voice.
“Katherine, you know how nervous I get with stuff
like this. It’s going to be really weird, I don’t
want to do this.”
Katherine, immune to the massive guilt trip I was
trying to lay on her, did not miss a beat.
“Don’t worry about it Court, it’ll be fine. I
don’t understand why you don’t want to do this.
Joe’s a really nice kid; he’s easy to talk to, he’s
really smart. And most importantly” she said in a
“he’s really cute!”
“Him being cute has nothing to do with it! I don’t
know him at all. It’s going to be awful! I’m going
to sit there, not talking because I’m so nervous,
and probably throw up all over his shoes, and it’s
going to be awkward and scary!” My voice rose in
pitch and hysteria. “And besides, his cuteness makes
it worse! He’s going to have high standards and
then be all disappointed. He’s going to think that
I’m a huge, mute loser.” My voice broke, and I
could feel my eyes sting as they filled with tears.
Unnerved and unaccustomed to see me on the brink of
crying, Katherine put her arm around my shoulders
and reassured me. “Aww, Courtney, I’m sorry! If you
want, I can just tell him to forget about it. Don’t
worry, I get a little nervous about meeting new
people too. A lot of people do; I understand.”
But she didn’t, she couldn’t. Katherine’s slight
discomfort at the prospect of meeting new people
was nothing compared my fear of it. A family friend
once told me that I took after my parents: I was a
social butterfly. Shortly thereafter, I began
searching the house for my adoption papers. When
the friend said that, he was conveniently
forgetting that … well, I’m not social! Don’t get
me wrong, I have friends, I’m not a recluse and I
do like people, but meeting them is a completely
different story. My hands will start to sweat uncontrollably before meeting people and my idea of
torture is going to a party where I don’t know
anybody. However, Katherine hadn’t taken this into account when she promised Joe I’d go to Me &
Ollie’s with him, and regardless of how I felt, I
couldn’t stand him up. So there I was, with tears
in my eyes, a stone in my stomach, about to spend
an hour alone with a boy to whom I had never
I reached in my closet for something to wear, and
caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair
was down, but I still looked younger than usual. My
face was pale and seemed to swallow my quivering
lips. My red, wet eyes did nothing to help the
situation. When I brushed the salty liquid from my
eyes, I realized that my hands were shaking.
“Katherine, look at these!” I thrust my hands in
her face and stared at her imploringly, desperately
begging her to do something.
“Whoa, that’s probably not healthy. Look, if you
really want me to, I can still call him and tell
him you’re not coming.” When I didn’t jump on the
chance, she smiled coyly and said, “See, you already
like him! Honey - it’s going to be fun, trust me.
And if it’s weird, and he turns out to be a jerk, I
promise that you can beat me up, okay?” I laughed
at her, and could feel my stomach loosening up. I
took a deep breath and twirled around.
“All right, how do I look?”
“Courtney, you look awesome. He’d be a moron to not
like you,” she said sincerely. “Just remember, no
matter how this turns out, you should be proud of
yourself, you’re taking a chance. There’s nothing
I knew Katherine was right. I took one more deep
breath and started walking over to his dorm.
Normally the walk would take thirty seconds, but
that day I stretched it out to two minutes. When I
finally reached the entrance, my heart was slamming
into my chest. I weakly grasped the doorknob and it
slipped from my slick, sweaty hands. My breaths
were short and rapid. Bile rose to the back of my
throat, but knowing that would only make things
more awkward, forced it back into my body.
I walked down the stairs to the common room, the
knot in my stomach slowly returning with each step.
As I opened the door to the room, all heads turned towards me. I felt my face begin to burn, and knew
that it was no longer pale; it was bright, flaming
red. I turned around, intent on going back and
telling Katherine to forget it, when I saw him. He
was walking down the stairs, looking directly at
me. There was nothing I could do now besides
bravely smile and give a timid ‘Hello.’
“Hey Courtney.” His voice was strong and confident,
and although I couldn’t relate to those feelings at
the time, I felt a little more comfortable. I
avoided his eyes though, still not completely
“Well, aren’t we the shy type,” he said playfully.
“You ready to go for lunch?”
“Okay, I guess.”
The walk to the restaurant was filled with those
awkward, first date silences, but remarkably, my
desperate urge to run back to my dorm subsided
after only a few feet.
After a while we fell into an easy, flowing
conversation that continued through lunch, and up
to the door of my dorm. Standing on the top step,
so that our eyes were at the same height, I stared
at Joe. I realized that my stomach was calm, and my
hands were dry, and that they had been since we
left his dorm. I began to laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
I smiled, and only laughed harder at his bewildered
“Come on Court, what’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” I reassured him, “It’s just…” I didn’t
know how to explain how much the simple act of
going to lunch with him had changed me. There were no words for it, so I settled for a simple kiss.
“Thank you Joe.”
“Wow. Thank you. What was that for?”
I thought of Katie, and smiled. “For not being a
jerk.” I smiled and left him on the stairs, still
That was a week ago, today. I don’t know what's going
to happen, or how any of this is going to end, but
at least I can say I did it. I took a chance, and there’s nothing I regret.
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