On a First Date

It was creeping towards 6 p.m. on a cloudless evening in the one and only, New York City. I had been waiting there for only a few minutes at most, but it felt like the lazy sun had been shining its pale rays on me for an eternity. I stood on the corner of dusty 112th street and bustling Broadway, waiting with waning patience for a moment that I had dreamed about for at least this entire school year, maybe even longer. Ever since I had first heard of straight-A hottie Roy Diamond, I had been hopelessly in love. I hadn’t been alone, though; at least ten other girls had fought me for this moment, but somehow I was the one who won him over. And now, here I was, standing right outside Tom’s Restaurant (he had picked it –– apparently something he loved to watch was filmed there) waiting for my first date.

“Oh, when will he be here?” I wondered, almost not noticing that I was talking to myself, “Wait, why do I want him to be here now? I still don’t know what to say, or what to do. What’ll I do if he turns out not to like me?”

I had been fidgety ever since I got there, but was now more than ever. I tried to think of something that would calm me down, but I came up empty. Just as I was about to fly into a panic, I heard a faint echo of music coming from inside. A slow, calm song that faded away as soon as I had heard it. That’s it, I thought. Try to sing a song to calm yourself down.

I searched through my mind for a song that I would love to sing. When that didn’t work, my Spotify playlist. As I would when I was stressed, I scrolled really quickly to the bottom, and then really quickly back to the top. It was then that I noticed “Where are U Now” by Justin Bieber. I laughed a little. Early last summer I had liked that song for some reason or another, but now I had no idea why it was even here. My first thought was to get rid of it, but then I figured it would be funny to try and sing it, as a memento to the days when I would do so 24/7. Of course, there was the crushing shame of being the kind of girl who sang to Justin Bieber, but at least I wasn’t doing it as if I liked the song –– it was a kind of mockery of my former self. With that thought in my mind, I put in my earbuds and pressed play.

Just listening to the song gave me an interesting feeling. I remembered loving it with a burning passion, but now, I noticed so many flaws in it, and the only thing I could make of it was a cheesy, burned out fan-bait. How I had changed over the last few months. I still had the lyrics memorized –– My head for words hadn’t failed me yet –– and I started singing a bit. Ew. I got about halfway through the first verse before bursting out laughing. Sure, I was going against many things I believed in, but this sure was a better feeling than waiting for a guy who just thinking about gave me massive butterflies in my stomach and pretty much everywhere else.

I had three more laughing fits before I had to turn off the song because it was too painful to listen to. To think I used to enjoy that! As I was dusting myself off and thinking about how some of the lyrics actually kinda described me at the moment, waiting for a guy who I was crazy about, I looked up and there he was. Roy Diamond, the sassiest kid in school, the guy who won at everything, the person all the girls wanted and all the guys wanted to be, was standing there, watching me look completely ridiculous.

“Am I late?” he asked.

I was as flustered as a polar bear who had suddenly teleported to the Sahara. “Hi! No, you’re right on time, actually. Uh, how are you doing?” I managed to stutter out.

“I’m ok. You have a beautiful voice, by the way,” he replied, smiling.

When I realized he had heard me singing, the gargantuan butterflies that had been propagating in my stomach turned into demons. “Oh! Well – you see – um… Thank you. How much did you hear?” I had no idea what to do at this point. If he thought of me as a girl who sang Justin Bieber, he would almost definitely drop me like a white-hot potato. I steeled myself for utter despair.

“I actually heard most of it. You sing it a lot better than Justin Beaver does, if I do say so myself. You know, Skrillex worked on that song, and he’s one of my favorite artists. I like your taste,” he flowed through his words like cool water through a silly straw. He was still smiling and seemed genuinely happy with me. I couldn’t believe it. Roy Diamond, happy with me? The king of the school, happy with a girl who had just chanced upon him and somehow won his heart? This was the happiest day of my life.

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