Chapter 32

Knowing Sarah liked me felt like my coronation. It felt clandestine. Deep down I wasn’t surprised. I felt like I deserved it, like I was right where I should be. After the initial thrill wore off a bigger concern crashed down. What do I do now? This was the first time I learned, but far from the last, that getting the girl isn’t where the stress ends. It’s where it starts.

I was completely ill-equipped to handle the situation. Being high all the time didn’t help. The pressure I put on myself didn’t help. My friends waiting for me to fail didn’t help. It was funny to them but heartbreaking to me.

I missed every prior step I needed to experience before I got here. Before you get the Princess, first you have to get the coins, then you have to kill Bowser. I skipped way too many levels.

Craig was right. I was nowhere near advanced enough for a casual relationship with someone like her. I wanted a girlfriend but I was too immature to know what that meant.

She told me these rings on her necklace were for me. What I didn’t know was the three other rings were for three other boys. She saw that I was upset over it, and at a football game pulled me aside.

She said, “Harlem, they were before I met you. I really do like you. Things are complicated right now. I still love Rick. But there’s something about you…”

Just then we were interrupted by someone in the Crew who couldn’t believe he saw me with her. He heard she liked me but had to see it with his own eyes. He was congratulatory though and gave me props.

The disruption put an end to Sarah and I’s conversation. She gave me a kiss on the cheek and flashed me a look that still gives me feels when I think about her eyes. Then she was gone. She disappeared into the crowd and out of my life.

A few weeks later I saw her again, but she was with Rick. It was devastating. Everyone seemed to have forgotten we were even a thing. Because we basically weren’t. I had my chance but because of my inexperience I blew it. My friends made fun of that whenever they could. Rick was being super nice to me at that party, which made me sick to my stomach.

I vowed I would never blow it like that again.

A month later and I’m at a party at Sal’s. We’re having a great time. Some older girls are there. Sal has the ingenious idea to turn the heat up. His plan is brilliant. The girls start taking their clothes off. Everything is lovely.

The party couldn’t have been going any better, then it did.

Sarah and Kim, the other hottest girl in school walk in. I’m not nervous this time. I’d been drinking and I just saw tits. I’m feeling invincible.

An hour later and me and Sarah find each other in the kitchen. She’s staring at me. I’m staring at her. I’m still lost in her eyes. Neither of us are saying a word. We’re just smiling. She’s getting closer. I still don’t pull the trigger.

Kim’s standing behind her. For some benevolent reason she dares Sarah to kiss me. She does.

Time stops.

I know that as soon as her lips leave mine she’ll be gone again, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t say I blew it anymore. I got my first kiss, with my crush, the prettiest girl in school.

I knew I could do it.