Love Is in the Air

My fifth period is a small class, and it became apparent that E. had a crush on one of the cute girls. He fought for her attention desperately, and she seemed to reciprocate his affection. So much so, I learned the phrase “No mas coqueteando”—no more flirting—hoping that by teasing them, I might prevent the lovebirds from falling for each other. I knew from the way they looked at each other we were in for trouble, but the drama played out much differently than I expected.

Yesterday, the young boy sat at a completely different table. He said he had a stomachache and a headache. I assumed it might have something to do with the girl, but I didn’t ask. Toward the end of class, the girls pulled me over and said, “Miss, do you know why he’s acting like that? He asked P. out, and she said no.” P. nodded her head to confirm the tale.

After everyone went back to work, I walked over to the young man, his head in his hands on the table. He’d put a book up as though he were taking a test and hiding his answers, but I knew he wished he could be invisible behind the textbook. I tried to cajole him into returning with the rest of us, and he shook his head. I tried a joke. Nothing. Finally, I patted him on the back and said, “There will be more girls.” He turned his head to face me, startled that I knew. “You’re sweet and kind and a handsome young man. Trust me, there’ll be more girls.”

He tried at a smile, but it came out half-hearted. I returned to the group, and we reviewed their answers. A few minutes later, he joined us—the embarrassment and rejection hidden just behind his eyes. When the bell rang, he gave a quick grin and rushed out the door with the rest of the students.

How did you handle your first heartache?

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