Crush – infatuation
My mother doesn’t understand how I feel.
She flipped over a few more pages and ran her finger down the column of words.
Love – to hold dear, to cherish.
No one would ever tell her how to feel again.
Cassie peered over the top of her math book and settled her eyes again on his wavy brown hair. She watched the way his strong fingers moved the chalk across the board.
“Cassie – do you know the answer to this problem?” She dropped her eyes and fumbled to respond. Mr. Thompson had called on her – how could she get her heart to beat normally so she could breathe? He always picked her to answer the first problem of the day – because he knew she was special and that she loved him – only him.
“How about you John, since Cassie seems to be somewhere else today?” Snickering around her – again. Why was she always tongued tied in class? She scribbled down the answer and fumbled for her purse. She always sat nearest the classroom door for a quick exit. When the bell sounded, she bolted from her chair as fast as her 200 pound body would allow. A chorus of laughter followed her dash to the women’s room.
Cassie locked herself in the stall trying valiantly to stop the tears. Mr. Thompson had to know how she felt about him – she’d always said hello and offered to wipe the boards down after class. Why had he ignored her this past week? Was it something she wore? Was it the new haircut her mother had forced her to get although she preferred her wild mane?
“Cassie – are you in there?” A soft tapping on the stall door. Jana from her math class waited. Cassie flushed the toilet and mumbled she was busy. “I want to talk with you. Please,” her assailant persisted.
What does that Barbie doll want with me? Curiosity crept around her heart. She opened the stall door and stepped into the nearly empty girl’s room. Jana stood with her arms crossed. “Are you alright?”
“What do you care?” Cassie had come against her share of do-gooders before. Not one had ever been sincere. She rinsed her hands under the water and reached for a paper towel. Catching a glimpse of her face in the mirror almost made her cry again. Her red rimmed eyes and a snout for a nose stared back at her. It was no wonder Mr. Thompson ignored her.
“Listen Cassie – I’m sorry about the way everyone treats you. It isn’t right. I know you are a nice person.” Jana glanced at the doorway and back again. Cassie caught her movement and instinctively grabbed her books and purse. She flinched at the memory of the ink covered shirt she had to toss after the last attack of well meaning “friends.”
“I wanted to invite you to a get- together at my church this Saturday night. It’s for teenagers and we have a really cool teacher I think you’d like. Anyways – here is my phone number if you want to go. My parents can pick you up on the way.” She pressed a note into Cassie’s hand and rushed out of the bathroom. Cassie unfolded the paper prepared to read a slur – not Jan’s name and phone number and another name. John had also been written with some numbers after it - 3:16. Was it code for something?
Later that night at home, Cassie couldn’t get her mind off the note.
“Are you eating tonight, Cassie? I made your favorite dish – macaroni and cheese.”
“Not tonight, Mom. I have too much homework.” Cassie unfolded the wrinkled note for the tenth time. She reached for her phone and dialed.
A month later…
“What are you doing tonight Cassie? Want to come over and hang out with us?” Jana’s voice giggled through the receiver.
“Not tonight, Jan – I want to get my Bible study done so I can beat you in the memory challenge.” Jana laughed with understanding and promised to meet Cassie at lunch the next day.
Cassie ran her finger down the column in her Bible study.
Worship – to revere, to honor.
Her finger stopped.
Jesus understands how I feel.
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