I’ll never forget the day I realized that love at first sight really does exist.
I was 14 years old and I had just started my freshman year of high school. My last class of the day was on the other side of campus and I realized I’d have to walk fast so I wouldn’t be late. I made it on time and as I walked into the class taking in the other faces, my eyes couldn’t believe what I saw sitting at a table next to me. He was the most exquisite boy I’d ever seen. Brown skin, curly black hair, and a face that moved me in inexplicable ways. I stood there like an idiot, staring at him for what felt like an eternity. My stomach dropped to the floor. Yes, I was completely captivated my this boy and I had no clue who he was. He didn’t look like a freshmen. He looked way more mature than the boys I’d grown up with and knew from middle school. He had to be a senior. However, as time passed I discovered he was, in fact, a freshman like me and his name was Philip. As time went by I admired Philip from afar. He was everything I’d always imagined the man of my dreams to be. Not only was he gorgeous. He was also smart, kind, athletic, and funny. As far as I was concerned he was the total package.
The only problem was me. I couldn’t talk to him. I was so in awe of him that words often escaped me. Add to that the fact that I was painfully shy and reserved with strangers. So, in true “Turtle” fashion I hid in my shell and admired him from afar for my entire freshman year.
Sophomore year would prove to be a game changer.
As it turned out I had Philip in two of my classes for my sophomore year. My smart, handsome, jock was also taking honors courses with me. I talked to my friends of nothing but him. How wonderful he was. The way I talked about him caused another friend of mine to also develop a crush on him. He was just that amazing to me. Now that we had classes together we would talk briefly. Of course it was only related to school. I guess my love for him became very transparent to more than my friends because somehow word of my crush spread. It finally all came to a head halfway through my first semester of sophomore year. One of my friends began dating one of his friends. When a friend of ours turned 15 she invited her boyfriend and his friends to her party. Of course they showed along with Philip. I couldn’t believe it. I got to know him better that night. I actually talked to him with my friends around. After the party he had finally taken notice of me. However, I wasn’t aware of it.
In fact, I was getting tired of being head over heels in love with someone who barely acknowledged my existence. My feelings were starting to wane. I decided by second semester of sophomore year I didn’t stand a chance. I got to know one of Philip’s friends pretty well in a class we had together. We talked often and we were cool with each other. One day he said that he friend Philip wanted to go out with me. My reaction was of course that he was lying. There was just no way after all this time that he would finally sit up and take notice. I dismissed his words and basically said whatever. After that Philip started dating someone else. To this day I wonder what would have happened if I had taken his friend seriously and said yes to the guy who I would always remember as my love at first sight?
Fast forward to senior year. By now Philip and I knew each other pretty well. We didn’t hang out because we were in different social circles, but we’d always had at least two classes together every year. In Calculus we had a group assignment. The teacher put us into groups and who landed in my group? Yep, Philip. We spent the day with our group and when it hit night we all went to a movie. After the movie Philip drove me home. It was the first time I’d been alone with him and we just talked. It was then that I realized that while I’d always remember him as my love at first sight, we wouldn’t have made it as a couple. Philip and I were different people who hung out in very different circles. Even as I write this though, a part of me knows it doesn’t really mean much and I still sometimes wonder what if?
Of course I left Philip behind in college and after. I haven’t seen or talked to him since high school. I do know that he is happily married with a child. I would expect nothing less from him though. If he was wonderful as a boy, I knew he’d grow up to be an amazing man. Damn me and my “turtle” ways for not taking a leap. My problem is that I still feel unwilling to take that leap and believe that someone might actually be interested in me. I still feel like that 15-year-old girl who figured it would never happen for her so why bother?