Surely you must be feeling neglected by now, and I'm so sorry. This week while the city repaints yellow lines, I'm spending copious amounts of time at the middle school selling Spirit Wear. To be in that lunchroom is to feel like one is sitting in on some sort of sociology observation; it's very much like watching heartwarming and heartbreaking coming-of-age rituals from another culture.
This past Monday was Valentine's and so the other volunteering mother and I were witness to a particularly sad Valentine moment -- the would-be Valentinee was not cruel, just not actually into the young man at all. And immediately I remembered My Worst Adolescent Valentine's Day Ever.
---insert tragic, telenovela music here. I suggest the plaintive notes of a lone violin. ---
So at one of the high schools I attended, the cheerleaders ran a Valentine's rose exchange as a fundraiser. For maybe $2, you could send a rose to anyone else in school, with the colors of the rose having different meanings. A red rose meant you were in capital-L-Love, a pink rose meant you were in lowercase-l-like, white meant we are friends, and yellow was from a secret admirer.
Y'all, when I was sixteen I sent a yellow rose.
And it was supposed to be anonymous, but the minute that boy walked into English on Valentine's Day, the only class we had together and the period after homeroom when roses were delivered, when he walked in and looked straight through me, I knew without the slightest doubt that the cheerleaders had told him, that he knew, and I knew in that deep gut way you know things about ailing relationships but usually pretend you don't know, no, everything's fine, really, it is.
He never looked at me again. Forget the friendly chin nods and occasional heys I'd been receiving in the hall, the impersonal but friendly exchanges before English began. Ptuh, I was dead to him. I spent every English class from February on with clenched hands and a knot in my stomach.
(Looking back as an adult, I cannot imagine why I believed it was truly anonymous, that there was some sort of sanctity of the secrecy of the admirer, because hello, if there is one thing adolescent girls cannot do it is keep a juicy secret.)
I wish I could say and then I said something snappy that made it into a funny joke or then I called the cheerleaders out and won, but I did no such thing, the best course of action seeming to me to be: ignore the fact that you're being ignored and if confronted deny, deny, deny.
He never confronted me. In fact we never spoke again.