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"Would You Like to Dance?"
"Would you like to dance?" Those words just tickled my skin. The beautiful guy with jet-black hair, interesting dark eyes and a gracious, sly smile reached out for my hand. Obviously, it hadn't crossed his mind that I might say "No."
We danced. And danced. His name was Tyler Redding. He was funny and made easy conversation. And though a year younger than me, he was taller than me! By the fourth dance, I learned that Tyler Redding loved soccer, had two younger brothers, and we each knew a couple of the same kids at school. He told me he loved my blue eyes and my smile, that my hair smelled "good," and that even with the "zillions of people on the planet," finding me "was just a matter of time." And that's when it hit me: I really liked this guy. I kept looking down, making sure my feet were on the ground because it felt as though I were floating a foot off the floor. We were inseparable for the rest of the party, and the rest of the summer, too.
When the school year resumed, we took our fun and exciting relationship back to school with us. Though we had no classes together, we were with each other every chance we got. School is different when you have someone in your life; it's so much better. Actually it's not just school that is better; your whole life is. My parents liked Tyler, so he hung out at my house a lot. Whether it was watching movies, Saturday bowling extravaganzas, dinner with my parents or taking a nap on my couch on Sunday afternoons, he was there. It felt as though we were one person.
One clear Saturday night while we were stargazing, I told him I loved him. He said he loved me, too. I already knew it, of course, but it felt life-changing to hear the words.
One month later, my life changed again. It was nearly five o'clock on a Saturday afternoon when Tyler called, talking at first about the baseball game he'd won that afternoon, and then explaining that he needed "a little space"ùnot from me, but from dating. Because my parents were telling me I was spending a little too much time "being a couple," and they'd like a little more of meùwithout Tyler presentùI thought easing up a bit would be okayùat least for a little while. I just assumed he was getting the same message from his parents. But when the very next day, Monday, he wasn't waiting for me at my locker as he always did, I wondered why he wasn't there. And then, when I saw him in the hallway later and he turned and walked the other way, I knew something was wrong. All day long, he wasn't in any of the usual places we hung out. The moment I got home from school, I called his house. His mother answered, saying he was "tied up and couldn't come to the phone." So then I knew that something was seriously wrong; I just didn't know what.
The next day I didn't see him. And the very next, I saw him walking down the hallùhand in hand with a girl in our class.
Confused, furious and saddened to the point of being sick to my stomach, I cornered him in the hall and said, "I can't believe your feelings for me have changed. Let's kiss. If we kiss and you feel nothing, then I'll let you go without a fight. But if you still have feelings for me, then I'm going to fight for our love."
I kissed him.
He didn't kiss back.
That said it all.
Standing there, having just kissed him, and having him receive it like a mummy, was a stunning blow! Tyler had found someone new. The timeùand loveùthat once belonged to me, to us, now was hers, theirs. That he didn't kiss me back took all my inner-fight away: Trying to win him back would be a waste of time.
Every day I see them in the hallways walking hand in hand. They eat lunch together, and I see them standing by the lockers kissing. It's really hard, and it really hurts. The two of them have a definite chemistry between them. And she has pretty blue eyes and a pretty smile, and probably her hair smells "good." Was it just a matter of time that out of the zillions of people on the planet, she'd be his next in line?
There is no happy ending to my "love story." Tyler didn't come running back to me, and there is no new boyfriend in my life. But life goes on. I've learned firsthand that eventually, you really do run out of tears, and your heart gets tired of aching. It's been a big lesson, and one that's changed my views on love. I'm no longer so nanve to believe that there's one and only one love that's meant for you. I've not given up on love. I'm just more realistic. Truthfully, I'm still more than a little hurt from the whole experience. But I know I'll be okay, too. So for now, I slide my sunglasses on top of my head and face the world, knowing that there are zillions of people on the planet, and it's just a matter of time before, once again, there'll be someone special for me to love.
Aly Hutzel, 15
¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Taste Berries Ö for Teens #3 by Bettie B. Youngs and Jennifer Leigh Youngs. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.