Ripples In Time

Sheila-Grade-10Back in high school, I had a crush on a guy. He was cute and funny and a year older than I was. He also had a girlfriend who went to a different school, which meant that as long as she was in the picture, he was off limits.

But I liked this guy and we became friends. Sure, there was some flirting. Mostly we hung around outside of classes and he let me store my books in his locker because my locker was way down at the other end of the school.

Storing my books in his locker was a great way to ensure I would constantly run into him between classes. It was a brilliant plan, one of the best catch-a-guy plans I ever devised. Unfortunately, he still had a girlfriend.

During those first two months of the school year, our friendship blossomed. In late October, with the Sadie Hawkins dance approaching – you know the one where the girl gets to ask the guy to the dance? – I wanted to ask him to be my date. But at fifteen, my experience with dating was minimal. Mostly the guys I had crushes on just wanted to be friends and the guys who had crushes on me … well, I just wanted to be their friend.

I kept hearing that he was still with this other girl, and even though I was pretty sure it was all over between them – all but the final “we’re done” – I kept finding excuses not to ask him to the dance. If you want to know the truth, I was chicken.  I was scared of rejection and scared of looking like a fool and scared of losing his friendship.

I lost it anyway.

Deep down, I knew my locker guy liked me, a lot, and was waiting for me to ask him to the dance. Perhaps if he’d broken up with his other girlfriend, I might have been braver. Perhaps if my friends weren’t pressuring me to ask their boyfriends’ buddy to the dance instead, I might have gathered up my courage and made my move.

Instead, I asked the other guy, and the budding relationship between me and my locker guy disintegrated until I finally gave up hope and moved back to my own locker. Other than the occasional nod as we passed in the hallway, he spent the rest of high school ignoring me.

dreamstimefree_2868839Fortunately, I was young and my heart was resilient. But was his?

He came to the dance alone, and I’m sure he expected me to be solo, too. Immediately after the dance, he changed. Even back then, I wondered if it was my fault. He dropped his girlfriend and began to hang around with a crowd of kids heavy into booze and drugs, and from what I could tell, spent most of his days high or drunk. Years later, I ran into him and we had a polite conversation. He’d never married, lived alone, and worked as an electrician in the oilfield industry.

Shortly afterward, I saw his obituary in the paper. He’d died, either from the drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two. I still think of him sometimes and wonder if his life would’ve been different if I’d been brave enough to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Or if his life was predestined to end up as it did and had I dated him, would I have been caught up in the murky mess of his life?

Do you ever look back and wonder if your actions could’ve made a difference in someone’s life? Or do you think we’re predestined to live our life a certain way?


About Sheila Seabrook

Author of contemporary romance and women's fiction.

Posted on January 30, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Wow, Sheila! I think we all can look back and wish we’d treated someone differently or had more courage to say what we really felt. Those incidents are part of the lessons learned that make us who we are today. It is fun to play the ‘what if’ game every once in a awhile. It has a way of keeping you grounded.

    • Tracy, your comment reminded me of other occasions in high school, especially when the majority of the students finally grew up emotionally and treated everyone the same. The cliquey groups were no longer fashionalbe or envied. 🙂

  2. I can surely relate to your story, Sheila. I had a crush on this guy when I was 15 or so and instead he went after a not-too-close friend of mine. He was a heroin addict and I often wonder if he would have had a negative influence on me in any way had my crush on him blossomed into a relationship. Thank goodness he didn’t like me back!

  3. Same thing….there was a guy that asked me out all through high school and I always kept him at arms length. He was sweet and funny but not my type. He went over to the dark side senior year, and stopped talking, dropped out two weeks before graduation and died of an overdose the next year. I’ve always wondered if I could have been a better friend and made a difference. But I’m a firm believer in things happening on God’s plan, so…I have to believe it was his time, and my involvement in wishing I was a better friend was God’s plan to show me how to do that. 🙂

  4. Interesting topic, Sheila. I think we all made mistakes in high school in our dealings with others. I was miserable in high school because we’d just moved to a new town and I was mad and didn’t make any effort to make friends. I always look back and wonder if I missed out on some special friendships that might exist today.

    I tell my kids my story as an example of what not to do. Live and learn.

  5. Sheila, I am torn on this topic. My comic answer to the issue of meeting “the man of my dreams” was simple. “My soul mate is married and living with some bitch in Long Island.” Yet, I remember one of those lost moments. A boy I dated before I met the man I married … a man I knew was not right for me. Did I set us up for failure? I think so. His second marriage has lasted for decades while I remained single.

    The one I let go was who I think was my soul mate … but I let him go in a moment of impulse. He came after me a dozend times before he finally gave up. Even though I’ve stopped thinking of all the “what ifs” … I still believe he was that one perfect mate I let go.

    THEN … I think of my two kids and my grandkids. I truly believe they were the real purpose for that failed marriage and for that I am eternally grateful 🙂

    • Florence, you are so right. If we had the opportunity to go back and change our decisions, the people or things we treasure the most now would not exist for us. I’m with you. 🙂

  6. Wow, that’s a heavy post. How sad for Locker Guy. But or course it wasn’t your fault. Friendship – and going on dates – is a two-way street. He could have asked you instead of leading you to believe he had a girlfriend.

    But, anyway, I wasn’t allowed to date in high school so I don’t have any stories to tell. I did have a crush on a really cute guy who was on the football team, but he didn’t even know I existed. I still wonder sometimes what ever happened to him.

    Thanks for sharing the story, Sheila.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. OMG, Sweetie, that’s an incredible story. I wish locker guy had had a different life. Who knows why things happen the way they do. However, your master plan–cool.

  8. Oh, Sheila. Do you wake up at three in the morning with what ifs like this one? Back in those days (we’re close in age, right?) a girl who asked an upperclassman to a Sadie Hawkins dance knowing he had an out-of-town girlfriend invited a backlash from upperclass girls. Don’t let guilt blind you to the do’s and don’ts of the era. I believe shyness AND reluctance to brave contempt from the social-mores Taliban kept you from acting. Your nice locker mate knew the “rules” and could have leaked news of his break-up.

    I’m sorry his life didn’t turn out better. I don’t think we’re predestined, but I think our personalities, backgrounds, and events influence us.

  9. Oh good, someone who remembers those Sadie Hawkins dances. Yep, we’re about the same age, Pat. Since I never had a steady boyfriend. I used to hate those dances. Not sure I ever went to another one after that one. And I can totally see what you mean about our personalities and events influencing us. So true.

  10. That’s a tough one. As a young gal harboring a crush on a different boy every grade, I think they were as flighty as me! It would be hard to think I had that effect on someone so young…

  11. Wow, oh wow. That’s heart-rending, Sheila. I understand where you’re coming from with your question, it IS easy to imagine how–if we’d done certain things differently–the outcome would have been different, better. But it’s important to remember we can control only so much.

    It’s also pretty eye-opening to look back and realize we’ve been guilty of self-sabotage. Harumph, is what I have to say about that.

  12. i am so glad I went to a girls high school. LOL. I was 13 when I went into grade ten and I was so far behind my peers in matters like these that I shudder to even consider it. thanks for your honesty Sheila, although I don’t think you have a shred of guilt…his parents, his genes, his biology an all take the blame but not you. sorry. let it go

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