It was 2005 and we were wide eyed and naive and eager to start our careers and our lives. Andy and I were placed in the same high school for our fifth year student teaching experience. Rookies teaching on the same floor, we were constantly scrambling, trying to make a good impression, We quickly became friends over lesson plans and grading meet ups at Borders Bookstore where we’d drink coffee and share our struggles and complain about the kids not doing their homework.
I told my friend that Andy and I were meeting frequently to grade papers together. Her younger brother overheard, and said, “Mary, he likes you. No boy meets up at a bookstore to grade papers unless he liked the girl.”
My response: “We’re just friends.”
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know that his classroom faced the parking lot, and when he’d see me leave, he’d run out just so he could walk me to my car and talk to me.
I didn’t know.
And when other teachers would ask or would tease us, we’d tell them all, “We’re just friends.”
And when he complimented me in front of our mentor teachers in the teacher’s lunch room, and my heart fluttered, and I thought to myself, “I could marry him” but couldn’t explain why I felt that way, I still didn’t know. I still told people, “We’re just friends.”
We finished our internship and the summer past and we didn’t talk much. We both got jobs teaching at our high school alma maters, and we were busy again trying to survive as newbies.
At then it dawned on me. I liked him. And I knew if I called him, that was it. There was never going to be anyone else.