The Delicate Art of Making Yourself Available

by Natalie

We had study hall together. I had never seen him before, but in a high school as big as mine that was not that uncommon. He was a senior, and I fell for him right away. Study hall was second block. First block his classroom happened to be across from mine. I became very efficient at packing my things up so that I could wait for the bell and dash into the hallway, hoping to be the first person he would see. Many a cute outfit was planned, and much time was spent in the bathroom fixing my hair; wasting precious moments in class that I would make up later in afternoon tutorial. If I was lucky, he would spot me. More often than not I would walk to study hall alone, where I would sit down and try very hard to appear nonchalant.

I never once studied. Instead I would sit and wait anxiously for him to ask me to the senior prom. He would flirt around the issue, saying maybe he should ask this or that girl, and I would of course agree or disagree, never daring to say, “Just ask me.” Other days we would sit and listen to country music, and I would daydream about riding in his truck. Yes, it’s true. We can move on now. Study hall would end, and I would try to engage him in conversation, so that we would be talking and he had to walk me to class. I was very strategic.

Now his cousin, Jen, sat with us during study hall. They were very close, and at that point in my life I happened to sell makeup. Which is how I ended up with a box full of skin care products and a 40 color variety palette of eye shadow. At some point during the semester, Jen was invited to a formal. I had a crush on her cousin, a bunch of makeup, and time on my hands. So I did what any girl in my situation would do, and volunteered to do Jen’s hair and makeup. The fact that she lived forty-five minutes from me did not factor into the equation; the whole afternoon was hinged on the possibility that at some point he could show up. He did show up for five minutes, and it was nothing short of confirmation that he was crazy about me. In my head. In reality, Jen’s hair did look very good that night.

Then study hall ended, and with it my main opportunity to see him. But that did not stop me from finding plenty of opportunities to bump into him in the hallway (spontaneously, of course). I did everything but wear a sign that said, “Ask me to prom.” Weeks went by, and despite all of my planning still nothing happened, until one day a cute boy in my cooking class asked me to the senior prom. I figured by that point it was no longer worth my time to sit around and wait for the other guy. He had had his shot, and clearly missed it.

Well word gets around, and later that day he came up to me in the hallway and said, “I heard you were asked to prom.” Figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, I mustered up the courage to say, “Why didn’t you ask me?” To which he replied, “You weren’t really making yourself available.”

Stupid boy.