Anthony Holden was the guy I wanted to marry. All I had to do was ramble around the corner to catch the yellow school bus to see him. It was our first day of seventh grade at Cesar Chavez Middle School when the driver opened the flappy folding doors of the bus. I stepped up the two stairs and peered over at all the rowdy children, throwing paper balls across the seats.
Magic happened when his ogling eyes met mine. Seconds dragged into minutes while my heartbeat pumped overtime. The whole world was in slow motion. Birds chirped in the morning air, vigorous teens chattered in their seats and orange sun rays shined through the windows. His brown sugar skin, little peanut head, and bright puppy dog eyes made him distinctive. Denim jeans covered his legs and those of the antsy boys in his crew.
Nervous was an understatement. I zoned in on him, not wanting to halt but rather search for a seat to fit in with everybody else. I’d fallen in love before I could even scan the rows for a vacancy. I’d never been so anxious to find a seat in my life. His eyes were burning a hole into the side of my face as I watched him in my peripheral vision. I rushed into the first open seat I saw in the front of the bus.
If I were a cool girl, I’d have tried to sit next to him, but I was only a shy one. I sat my bookbag on my seat, glanced up and rolled my eyes at him. He couldn’t have me already. If he wanted me, he was going to have to chase me. For the rest of the ride, I felt butterflies swirling around in my tummy like the wheels of the yellow bus, rolling us to school.
Every morning and after school, we’d see each other on bus twenty. Our friendship quickly developed and Anthony revealed that he’d fallen in love with me on the first day of school. Between the green rubbery seats, we talked, kissed, and socialized with our friends. He asked me to be his girlfriend and I turned him down because I was too afraid. I didn’t know the first thing about boys, but it wasn’t the first time I’d liked one. He took the rejection hard, but he still walked me home.
I stuck my house key into the door, but I let go of it when the knob turned from the other side. When my father peeked his one eye outside the cracked door, Anthony jetted off down the street. For me, that sealed the deal on us ever having a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. Yet, we were still friends who loved each other deeply.
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