I stole a quick look out from behind the concession stand. My heart raced as soon as I saw Drew. “There he is,” I breathed to my best friend, Krista. My iron grip locked on her arm.
“Where?” Krista asked, peering over my head. I pushed her back, afraid that the boys standing behind the backstop might see us.
“I’m going to talk to him,” I stated. My stomach rolled with fear. Krista’s hazel eyes widened with the shock of what I intended to do. I didn’t care what she thought, “Today is the day I talk to Drew Miller.”
The summer after my eighth grade year, my best friend, Krista and I roamed the park for hours each day. We basked in our freedom from middle school and soared high on blue raspberry snow cones sold at the baseball field’s concession stand. We lingered around the worn gray bones of the bleachers desperate to catch a glimpse of the high school junior, Drew, our latest crush. In the cool misty mornings, we waited. Through the arid afternoons, we waited. Any sighting of him left us giddy for hours. Krista and I spent that summer, peeking out from behind the towering oak trees framing the field while Drew and his teammates played baseball.
That day standing at the edge of the field wasn’t enough. I wanted to get closer. I wanted to know Drew. More importantly before I started high school, I wanted Drew to know me. I had spoken to him a thousand times in my imagination. Today I craved the real thing.
The afternoon game had finished and Drew stood around talking to his friends. I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to say something to him, to start a conversation. Normally at the end of a baseball game, a crowd of girls surrounded Drew. They gushed and giggled over his athletic prowess. On any other day, I stood back and went unnoticed. Today, it was only Drew and his buddies. It seemed like the perfect time to strike.
“It will be easy,” I assured Krista. Our view from the park’s concession stand was not close enough for me. “ I am going over there.”
“You’re crazy.” Krista stated, rolling her eyes but then she asked, “What are you going to say?”
“I am going to ask him what time it is,” I replied. “It’s a simple question. Who knows where that will lead?”
Krista eyed me like I had three heads, “Do you really think it will work?”
“Sure,” my answer was quick and confidant. The bravado I portrayed was not what I actually felt. My stomach gurgled, my knees quaked and my hands trembled. A desperate ache spread across my chest. That ache canceled out my fears. I wanted Krista to believe that I was confident; I wanted to believe that…
“How do I look?” I tucked my sun washed hair behind my ear and pulled the legs of my shorts.
“Great,” Krista smiled. She was trying not to giggle, something she did when she was extremely nervous. I scolded her with a frown.
I replayed my plan over and over in my head. “All I have to do is ask him what time it is. All I have to do is ask him what time it is…”
There were three other boys standing with Drew; Phillip, his younger brother, Tyler, his best friend, and the third was a tall redhead from the high school basketball team, Scott. I knew Scott’s younger sister, Andrea. She was in my class. The nearer I got to Drew the harder it was to breathe. My chest heaved with panicked gasps. I thought, “I can do this. All I have to do is ask what time it is.”
I shuffled closer, trying to appear relaxed. It became clear to the boys that I was headed in their direction. Their conversation halted. They watched me with befuddled looks. I continued towards them, with what I hoped was a dazzling smile plastered on my face. None of them knew me, except maybe Scott. Tyler’s black eyes narrowed. I tried not to look at him. I kept my focus on Drew. He wore the baseball uniform with an easy confidence. I imagined how we would look together thousands of times.
With one last mental note, “All I have to do is ask what time it is.” I stopped and stood before them. My stomach flipped. My heart thundered in my ears. The high school boys towered over me. I balled my fists at my side, took a deep breath, gazed right into Drew’s beautiful brown eyes, cleared my throat and croaked, “What time it is?”
Time screeched to a halt.
“WHAT TIME IT IS! Is that what came out of my mouth?” I panicked. Drew’s brows were knitted together in confusion. I couldn’t look at any of the other boys but I heard Tyler snicker. Before any of the boys could respond, I whipped around and scuttled back to the hiding spot behind the concession stand.
“How’d it go?” Krista asked. She was dying for some juicy details. I was mortified. I couldn’t bring myself to look back at the scene of my social demise. I slumped against the back wall of the concession stand. “That good?” Krista didn’t press me for the details.
“I’m such an idiot,” I whispered. Before I could explain, we heard voices coming toward our hideout.
“It’s them. They’re walking over here,” Krista squealed. I moaned and froze, prepared for humiliation. If I didn’t move maybe they wouldn’t see me. I kept my eyes on my shoes. The boys chuckled as they passed. I refused to raise my head. Krista pretended to tie her shoe.
“Hey,” It wasn’t Drew’s voice. It was Scott’s. “Hey, It’s Amy. Right?” I groaned, so much for anonymity. I lifted my head and peered at him from beneath my eyelashes. Scott slowed his gait. “It’s 6:30,” His grin spread from freckled ear to ear, he turned and slapped Drew on the back
“Thanks,” I mumbled. The boys continued down the street out of the park. I prayed Drew would look back. He never turned his head. We watched the four boys walk until they were almost out of sight. My body relaxed.
Then loud and clear from across the park, one of them yelled, “WHAT TIME IT IS!”
Humiliation burned my face. Tears blurred my vision. I felt nauseous and exhausted. I couldn’t move. Krista agreed to wait for a few minutes before heading for home ourselves.


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