|Image from HERE|
Her 16th birthday came and went, and was mostly forgotten. It's after the wedding of her sister Jinny: Sam is wearing a pale, pinky lilac bridesmaid dress, with a wreath of dainty flowers in her hair. She is the last one to come out of the church and when she looks up, she sees the sports car across the street, and unbelievably, her highschool crush leaning casually, looking at HER. "Me?!?" She mouths, incredulous. "Yeah, you!" Jake says quietly back.
And so highschool girls all across North America swooned.
What--you never saw "Sixteen Candles"???
Do you know why that movie was amazing to me? Sure, it was your basic 1980's teen movie, and yeah, it was funnier and better than a lot of other movies in that genre, but what really gets me, grabs me and lights my imagination on fire is this: the popular, gorgeous highschool senior, falls for a younger student he barely even knows. AND THAT ALMOST NEVER FREAKING HAPPENED!
When I was in grade 9, I felt like highschool was a SMORGASBORD of cute boys. Cute boys were my and my girlfriends' obsession. Who's cute? Who's cuter? Were there any "cute boys" on your summer vacation? Ohmygod, so-and-so went skiing and there was the CUTEST guy there with his family for the weekend! Quick, the carnival's in town! Try to look as good as possible because there are going to be BOYS there! Will there be any cute boys? Oh god, please let there be cute boys.
Nothing like a bunch of giggling, boy-crazy teenage girls with their radars up constantly for CUTE BOYS. But what were the boys doing? Were they as obsessed as us hoping to run into girls everywhere they went?
So, when I was in grade 9, there was this boy. He was in grade 12. He was on the basketball team, AND the football team. He was big and tall, and had black hair. And he was beautiful. To me, he was at the pinnacle of all the boys I had crushes on in those fickle, young girl days. He had this slow, casual way of moving through the halls. I would yearn for the moments between class to see him in the hall. I spent 2 whole school years obsessing over him, desperately trying to work up the courage to smile at him. A couple of times he noticed me. I wonder if he thought; who the hell is this KID who's always freaking staring at me???
When there was basketball practice, or a game, I would be there in the bleachers, swooning. I would watch nearly every football practice or home game, just so I could see him charge across the field, even if my feet were freezing in my cheap, flat shoes. At the highschool dances I would be thrilled if he actually showed up. I could hardly look at anyone or anything else.
And then, the unthinkable happened: he got a girlfriend. I was, of course, in teen devastation. I can't even remember what that girl looks like now. I only remember her name was "Marcy" and she was in the arms of the boy I loved. Teenage angst has no logic, of course, only pure, bald, melodramatic, over-the-top emotion. They danced close together to the slow songs. I stood back in the shadows and ached. At home I would lament in my diary how beautiful he is, how unobtainable, how I hoped this Marcy would be nice to him.
But yet, I never even knew him. And then he disappeared. I dreamed about that boy through two years of highschool, and then who knows where he went. So, "Sixteen Candles" was remarkable to me. Did every girl put herself in "Sam's" shoes? What if my highschool crush had decided one day that he didn't want to go out with his pretty, popular, senior peer? What if he had been waiting after school for me one day, because he thought it was "kinda cool" the way I was always looking at him?
Enh--I'd have blown it for sure.
So recently, in the great world of social connections, thanks to the internet, my highschool crush has resurfaced. Every now and then on Facebook, I would type his name into the search bar, just for fun, just out of curiosity. My friend B. sent me a little message not too long ago. There was a profile, with a guy who had that same name, with a teeny, tiny, frustratingly small, completely unidentifiable photograph. However, there were recognizable names from highschool on his friend list. Hm, that's kinda fun.
If you're on Facebook, you'll know that there's sub-section of the "find friends" search option called "people you may know," or something like that. It works on that whole "6 degrees of separation" concept, and lists people who are friends of your friends. It's fun to search through that list. Some names popped up of people I hadn't seen or heard from in years.
And so, one night when I was bored recently I scrolled down through that whole, long list. Hm...that girl looks incredibly familiar. Wait a minute! Isn't that my highschool crush's sister? I slipped in, undetected, to her profile. She's one of those fun people who doesn't have her privacy settings so tight that you can't see her photos. I lurv that, personally. Not because I'm a creepy voyeur, but because, well, some people have really nice pictures, and I guess I am a voyeur--just not a creepy one. There I found a picture of her and her family sometime in the early 80's. The pic was great: her dad looked like a more balding Chevy Chase, hairdos were feathered to perfection, and there was that boy standing there smiling out from the picture.
So now, here I am, years later. I have 2 beautiful children. The years between highschool and now have been at times, wonderful, amazing, lonely, extremely difficult and completely heartbreaking--not unlike anyone else, I suppose. I love my husband and family. I'm glad I never have to go through highschool again. While I think about my highschool crush every now and again, I'm certainly not in love with him. What the hell??? I never knew him, I never met him. Who knows if we'd even have gotten along if we'd ever exchanged any words.
there is part of me that was compelled to send that sister I found on facebook a little email. I even kind of considered sending "him" an email-not because I want to cause any trouble, or upset his wife, or stir the pot, but because don't you think it would be so cool if anyone ever sent YOU a message like that? Plus, when I was a teenager, I was so shy. So insecure. But now I realise that all of that silly stuff is NOT bigger than I am, and even though everything felt like THE END OF THE WORLD at one time, I'm old enough to realise that that just isn't so.
I never sent any message, of course.