Early during my freshman year in college, I took notice of a beautiful girl walking down the sidewalk. In fact, I took notice every time I saw her after that. I was dating someone at the time, so it was nothing more than admiration from a distance. (I would have been too scared to introduce myself, anyway).
Over the following three years, I saw her almost every day. Yet even when I became a single guy again, I was too afraid to introduce myself. Because of her beauty, I had immediately classified her as out of my league, although I really didn’t know anything about her.
Somewhere along the way, I learned her name, as well as a few bits and pieces of information about her. (I’ll call her Jenna in this story, but that’s not her real name). She was even in one of my classes once or twice, but I never spoke to her. I spoke about her to my closest friends, though. They agreed she was beautiful. They also agreed that I was a chicken. And they absolutely agreed that she was out of my league.
For three years, I watched from a distance. Not stalker-watched. Just watched. Over time, it became a joke with my friends. Whenever we talked about girls, they brought up Jenna. (Or maybe I did?) When it was time to find a date to a party, they suggested I ask Jenna. Then they would laugh, knowing I never would.
For three years, I had created the perfect woman in my mind, and it was Jenna. Yet I never spoke to her. Until this happened…
I was in the cafeteria, walking my tray to the trash, and there she was. Jenna. Walking straight toward me, and even looking right at me. My heart started pounding just a little bit. Could she be coming to talk to me? She waved. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of her, yet I needed to see if she was actually waving to some really cool guy behind me, so I slowly turned my head enough to see behind me, but still keep her in my peripheral vision.
There was no one behind me. My heart started to pound a bit more as she continued to walk toward me. I’m not sure, but I might have been frozen in place as she walked right up to me. She stopped just inches away, looking me right in the eyes. Her sweet voice said, “Are you Keith Kirkland?”
This is what I said in my mind. YES!. YES! I am Keith Kirkland! You actually know my name? I can’t believe that you are talking to me! I’ve noticed you for a long time and I’ve always wanted to introduce myself. Are you really talking to me?
This is what I said with my (cracking) voice: “Yes”.
I waited for what seemed like an hour. Waited for whatever sweet words were going to come out of her mouth, now that she had finally noticed me after three long years. I looked into her eyes as I relived all those moments of watching from afar. I thought about what I would tell my friends, thinking that the joke is really over.
She finally broke the silence, and the long-awaited words out of her mouth were this: “You bounced a three dollar check to our sorority when you bought a balloon-a-gram from us last week and I need to get that three dollars from you.”
You know those downward-moving musical sounds you hear on game shows when someone loses? Yeah, that’s what I heard right then.
I never got to talk to her again.