This is Part 10 of the story of How I Met Superman. To get caught up, you can find the preceding chapters here.
After Superman flew away from the party, I immediately did what any teenage girl would do: I went to find my nearest girlfriend and squealed “Did you SEE that???”
She jumped up and down with me, and we overanalyzed everything: Did he look into my eyes or at my lips? Did he simply rest his hand on my hip or pull me closer at the waist? Did he seem to want to dance with anyone else? Did he say he’d call?
I stopped short at the last question. No. He didn’t say he’d call. He didn’t say “See ya.” He didn’t say anything at all, in fact.
Dawn frowned. We weren’t sure what that meant.
We two love sleuths tried to dissect any other clues we could, but just then the party was interrupted by a few of the guests who wanted to do something different. Dancing was getting old, they said. They wanted to play Spin the Bottle.
I’d never played Spin the Bottle, and assumed I never would past the age of 13, but the girls who suggested it (yes, the girls) had a few twists to the old game: Rather than spin and simply land on a person to kiss, each player would spin and land on a person he or she would set up to kiss someone else. And then he or she would name where in the house this kissing would take place. Someone called the game “Matchmaker.”
I was a little nervous about this. I couldn’t imagine kissing any of the boys left at the party – one was my ex-boyfriend who was barely speaking to me and who didn’t want me at the party in the first place; one was my phone friend who broke the ex and me up and then set me up with someone else; another was a boy named Wade* who was actually very cute but was the object of affection of my girlfriend Dawn; and another was a distant guy friend. I couldn’t imagine any kissing here. But, then again, maybe that made me safe. Probably no one would “match” me with anyone, since the real person I adored just walked out the door, and they all knew that now. So I took my seat in the circle, confident that no one would have the gall to set me up in anything awkward.
Of course, I was wrong. Awkwardness all around. I was set up with Keith twice, once in a closet and once on the stairs, and he acted completely shy and told me he’d just kiss me on the cheek to save us both the embarrassment. I was set up with Wade once, and the “place” was in the center of the circle, so we couldn’t fake anything – definite kissing — but I felt terrible because I had to return to my place next to Dawn.
But the worst was when someone had the nerve to set me up with Patrick. My heart started pounding immediately. I didn’t know how angry he still might be.
We took our places in our assigned kissing spot: “under the dining table,” which was bad and cramped and awkward, not to mention still within eyeshot (although not within earshot, thank goodness) of the rest of the group.
He settled in with his arms wrapped around his knees and stared at me in the dark.
“I can’t believe you got together with him here,” he whispered.
I knew. That was terrible. I felt bad immediately.
“We’re not ‘together,’ actually,” I tried.
He slid a sideways glance my way. “You’re together.”
I was surprised he was so sure. Especially because I wasn’t sure of anything. My two boyfriends before — one sitting right here in front of me, under a table, in the dark — had liked me first, and had convinced me, over a period of time, to like them back. I was starting to think that’s just the way things worked. You might have crushes on good-looking boys who made your heart hammer, but they were crushes from afar. Your real boyfriends would be ordinary people like you who you eventually got to know, slowly, and you simply learned to like.
But Chris was different. He was someone I’d had a huge crush on, and it felt like a distant, long-term affection that could never possibly be returned, like the Parker Stevenson glossies on my closet door.
I shook my head. “Not necessarily.”
Patrick gave me a look of incredulous disbelief. “Are you kidding me?”
“Courtney* seems to like you,” I said to distract him.
It worked. He paused for a second, as if he were laboring over our last argument, but then brightened up. “You think so?”
“She has such a hopeful look every time we spin the bottle, and then she looks straight at you.” It was true. I couldn’t help but notice.
“She’s pretty cute.”
“She is. Nice, too. And smart. She’s in my geography class.”
He nodded slowly. “So is this us being friends, then?”
“I think so.” I smiled. I really wanted to be his friend.
He thought that over for awhile, staring at his hands clasped around his knees, then finally shrugged. “Should we do one last kiss?” He glanced at the circle. They were all talking among themselves, waiting for us to settle whatever we needed to settle.
I nodded, and he leaned over and kissed me softly. But it was a different kind of kiss — one that spoke of some history, but also of the fact that we’d moved on. Things were finally over between us — not only the good times, but the bad feelings now, too.
“He’ll call you,” he said.
We made our way back to the circle, and the game went on. The party went on. The night went on.
And the next day at school, life went on, too.
Wade ended up being sick with a cold. We all glanced at each other across the room in history class and sniffled into our sleeves, ducking our heads with that awkward feeling you get the next day after you’ve danced too closely with someone the night before in the dark, or kissed one of your closest friends.
But Patrick had been wrong about one thing: Superman didn’t call.
He didn’t find me. He didn’t talk to me.
All I could think of was the conversation he must have had with Orly on the way home, or maybe him finding out about the Spin the Bottle game and dismissing me as much too fickle for his taste.
I saw him once across the quad, at the end of the day as I was leaving my art class, and I thought he saw me, but he didn’t acknowledge me whatsoever.
I had no idea what to think.
I’d probably blown it.
Click here for Part 11: A Lion Named Blue. …
*Names changed to protect the Don’t-Want-To-Be-Googled.