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That moment right after

That moment right after
A part of “Those Awkward Moments” by Greg Martin

It was awkward. That’s the best way to describe that fateful Valentine’s Day afternoon where Brandon confessed his undying love to me through a series of notes, and I asked him out afterwards.

Wow, long sentence, but completely true. It was nothing more than awkward to a unprecedented level.

We had been talking – well, sort of, more like projecting words towards the other – and I had asked if he wanted to share the chocolate covered cherries with me, since he had said that they were good.

I would be lying through my teeth if I told you that he didn’t smile brighter than the sun. I swear, I’ve lost a bit of eyesight after that moment. But it was only for that moment… almost as soon as he realized how brightly he was smiling, it dropped.

“Uh, yeah, that’d be cool.”

Oh, how macho, my little Romeo.

I smiled and turned away. “Meet me at my locker? You obviously know where it is.” Even without looking back, I just knew that he must be deep red. If he’s going to go and be as cheesy as he was (hey, he SAID he was cheesy – so don’t look at me like that!) then I am at least gonna have a bit of fun.

“Uh, yeah, sure. I just gotta get my stuff…” his words were closer to a mumble. In the back of my mind, I knew the poor kid must be embarrassed as hell. I mean, he just outed himself to me through a series of incriminating notes that said that not only was he gay, but he was totally into one of the more well-liked guys in the school.

I’m not gonna say something stupid like how I’m the coolest guy in the school – ‘cuz I’m far from it – but I’m not exactly unpopular.

“You might want to wait a bit to show up, to avoid the wrath of Tiffany.”

No, she’s not my only friend. She’s just the one that WON’T GO AWAY. You know, those type? The ones that just drive you absolutely and utterly nuts, and just don’t take a hint.

We parted ways then. After walking a few steps, and hearing him doing the same, I took a glance behind me: he was walking kinda fast, but jerkily. Like he had a bit of an upset stomach. I guess those butterflies weren’t going away. Poor kid.

My Spanish class was on the 1st floor, not too far from O’Brien’s room. My locker was on the third floor, so it was always a trek. This is part of the reason that I normally walked home, it was practically impossible for me to catch the bus I was supposed to take. Opposite side of the school, up three flights of stairs.

Yeah, great.

As I walked, I couldn’t help but mutter to myself that it was liking climbing to the mountain top, only to head right back down without catching a view. Those stairs are wicked.

It was only with slight surprise that I found Tiffany waiting by my locker. When I was in a good mood (read: now) I guess I considered her a friend. When I was in a bad mood (read: most of the time) I considered her a pest.

“Ryan, dear, you get anymore chocolate? Find out who your creeper was?”

Oh, right, she knew about it.

“Yeah, I did.” Silence.

And more silence. It was drifting from waiting for more information silence to you’re not gonna tell me so this is becoming awkward silence.


“Nothing to tell you. And no, I’m not giving you any chocolate. Your fat ass is big enough.”

Now, you might think I was mean, or something. I’m not. In fact, I find myself to be a very nice person – this was my way of telling Tiffany in a subtle way that she really needed to go on a diet.

She didn’t pick up on the subtleness. “I don’t want the chocolate, I want the details. Who is she and did you ask her out?”

I balked. She just wanted the chocolate.

“No, I didn’t ask her out,” I said, putting minor emphasis on the her. Well, I guess I didn’t really ask him out either, but that’s beside the point.

Tiffany eyed me as my inner monologue continued. “And why not?”

“Maybe I want some more chocolate, ever think of that?”

She rolled her eyes, waved her hands, and made to leave. “I’ll find out Ryan. You know I will. I was the one that discovered Will and Lizzie, so you can bet that I’ll find out who your little beau is.”

Will and Lezzie. Now THAT is a story worth telling. Almost, perhaps even more worthy, than that of Brandon and I’s. However, this is ours, so I won’t excite you with their details.

“Bye bye Tiffany.”

This time, she understood my subtle way of saying “Fuck off before I slap you into next week with your own fat.” She left, and within moments, Brandon had reappeared.

I took this moment, while digging out my Psychology book (yes, O’Braindead gave us homework), to admire my “beau”. Well, not admire so much as check out.

As his notes had described, he was rather plain. Brown hair, rather mousy, green eyes that were forever shied away from me, like half a head shorter than me (and I’m not the tallest person around…) and wearing an… interesting outfit. I’ll wait to describe it until we ruin it.

“Got a lot of homework tonight?” I ventured, not quite sure how to approach the topic of What exactly are we doing?

He shook his head, then spoke briefly, “No. Well, maybe. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

“A lot on your mind today?” I tried to put some playfulness in my voice. I mean, I knew that had he been a she, she would’ve been turned away right away. But since he was a he, there was a chance, and I figured I might as well be nice. Or at least jokey with him.

But it worked, he looked at me with a shimmer of a smile. “You could say that.”

And then it became awkward again. Without realizing it, I had brought up a topic that really still should have been taboo. I mean, we hadn’t even left my locker yet, and I was bringing up the fact that he liked me. Dumb.

We stood for a few moments, and then I slammed my locker shut – making him jump.

“Don’t worry. It’s a bitch.”

“I know, took me forever to–” and then he stopped, realizing what he was saying. I gaped at him. “Erm, I mean…”

“You know my combo?”

“You’ve screamed it a few times…”

If it was awkward before, it was even moreso now. And this time, neither of us seemed to know how to break it.



“I like to draw!” I raised my eyebrows at him.


“Yeah, I really like to draw. I think I’m pretty good at it too. Wanna see some?” Before waiting for an answer – which was probably a good idea – he dug into his bag, and pulled out a sketchbook.

I slid down the front of my locker into a seating position, and watched as he showed me page after page of his drawings. It wasn’t quite cherries, but it had turned out alright.

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