There was a logical part of him that said he would go on living. It wasn’t that he was going to die. Not really. It’s just what his body told him would happen if he didn’t succeed in his endeavor.
His back muscles were tense. He felt that he could lift a car. He felt that he could fly. At the same time, he didn’t know if he could take a single step. He didn’t know if he could even move his arms.
He’d decided he had to do it.
He was going to talk to her. She was so very cute. She had curly, brown hair that she sometimes straightened. This was one of those days. Her hair was shoulder length when it wasn’t curled into the cute mess that defined her for him. Her face was beautiful and her petite body was his ideal form of the feminine.
He had said it in his mind. He knew he needed to say something after this. Why would she want to talk to him if all he could say was hi? He had to show her that he was as special as she was so she would feel the same way about him. How could he, though? He wasn’t as special as she was. Not even close.
“Hey, you live down the road, right?” the girl asked him.
He believed he did. The answer to the question was yes. But if he just said yes, the conversation would be awkward immediately. He wished he had planned this out better.
“Yeah, and you live on Copper Street. Are you going to school?” he asked.
His face had to be flushed. He had to be bright red. He felt like he might vomit onto the floor. Worse yet, maybe he actually would vomit, and it would splatter all over her face. He didn’t even know her name.
“Yeah. We go to school together.”
“Can I walk with you?”
He didn’t know the answer to this question. The answer was because she was beautiful and perfect and he wanted her in every way a boy could want a girl. That wasn’t the right answer though. He had to lie. He had to think of a lie.
“I get bored walking alone,” he stated.
She seemed to accept that the answer. She still looked at him with suspicion.
She began, “I don’t like walking with people I don’t know.”
The chances of her wanting to walk with him were low, he knew. She was popular and smart. He was just a boy. He played football in the street and passed his classes. This was not a résumé that made him the prime material as a walking companion.
She continued, “but since we go to school together, we can get to know each other. I’m Emily.”
“Emily… I’m Mason.”
She seemed to still be judging him.
“I’ve seen you playing football. You play with my little brother? My mom hates you boys since he always gets hurt,” she said.
“Your brother hurts himself!”
“You don’t need to tell me that. I think my mom just wanted another girl. He yells the whole time my mom cleans out his scrapes.”
The feeling of fear was passing. He felt like he needed to sit down and recover. It was almost like he had run a marathon. He wasn’t out of breath. He wasn’t familiar with the feeling, but it was all the adrenaline that had left him. His body had gone into a state like he was a hunter. It was ready to run or fight to secure what it needed. His body had gotten no such release.
He wanted to hold Emily’s hand. His eyes were affixed to it, swaying back and forth as they walked.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked.
“No. Why?” she replied.
She didn’t seem to believe him and had taken a small step away from him. That wasn’t a good sign. He felt the distance and the feeling like he needed to vomit was returning.
“I don’t want him being mad at me for talking to you. Well, I didn’t want him to be mad at me for talking to you. But he isn’t a real thing. So I guess I am okay,” he recovered.
She eyed him suspiciously.
“I see Charlotte up ahead. I am going to try to catch up to her,” she said.
Could this be considered a success? It wasn’t a failure. Emily knew he existed. Mason knew he had to try to speak to her. He’d never be a man if he hadn’t done at least that. He could have asked someone to talk to her for him. Maybe he should have. Then he’d have just been told that she hated him.
That would have been better. He had no idea how she felt about him. He only knew that she was willing to talk to him. He knew nothing more than he had before. He’d assumed she’d talk to him. The challenge was in getting her to see him the same way he saw her.
Emily. She lived on Copper Street. She was beautiful. No one was more beautiful. Her smile was perfect.
Tomorrow was another day. He needed to think of things she would like that wouldn’t show her that he liked her. Mason had no idea where to even begin.