*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I wanted to sit in the front seat next to my crush, but he had other ideas.
It was a hot summer day. My best friend and I were walking to the local grocery store to pick up a few supplies: macaroni and cheese, sparkling apple juice, and chocolate. Neither of us owned a car, and only one of us had a driver's license.
After we had walked nearly halfway to the store, a car pulled up alongside us. The driver rolled down his window to speak to us.
"Do you want a ride?" he asked.
My heart skipped a beat.
It was a young man who lived in our neighborhood.
I had a crush on him. Fortunately, the only two people who knew about that were me and my best friend. My secret love interest did not know how I felt about him.
It was better that way. I was very shy, and the thought of spending time with him terrified and excited me. I couldn't believe he would stop his car to offer me a ride. Could my feelings for him be mutual? I could only hope.
My best friend and I accepted a ride from the young man. We prepared to slide into the back seat of his car, but he stopped us.
His friend slipped out of the front passenger seat and into the back seat, effectively splitting me and my friend apart.
We exchanged glances before I started getting into the front seat.
"No," my crush said. "You sit in the back. She can sit in the front." He pointed.
My friend and I helplessly exchanged glances again. She looked contrite as she climbed into the front seat in the spot I thought would be mine.
Reluctantly, I climbed into the back seat next to the other young man. He smelled funny. I pressed my body against the inside of the car door to stay as far away from him as possible. I didn't want him to get the wrong idea, and I didn't want to inhale any more of what he was exhaling. It was making me feel nauseated.
From the back seat, I could listen to the conversation taking place in the front seat, and I didn't like it at all. As I watched in horror, my best friend and my neighborhood crush began holding hands.
My friend giggled. She tossed her long, curly hair back and forth. Then she kissed my crush on the cheek.
It was all more than I could bear. She knew how I felt about him.
I could only surmise that it was an act. Perhaps she was just being nice to thank him for the ride to the grocery store.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
My best friend and my semi-secret crush dated for the rest of the summer. They didn't break up until she left for college in the fall. By the time he was single again, I had lost interest.