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      Congratulations Canna


I don't imagine that most people can recall the first day and first moment they fell in love with a certain person. However, I remember the exact event very clearly.

I was at a friend's party. It was a gathering of nerds, a pot luck which included three homemade birthday cakes, way too much juice, some bar-b-Que, potato salad, and the freak appearance of some very out of place Vietnamese egg rolls. I had volunteered to do most of the grilling so that my friend, Lain, could play the hostess. We were seventeen.

Our friends began to arrive, and soon, with Frank Sinatra blaring on the radio and a game of charades with "Pikachu" as a prompt, I finally decided that I had had enough of cooking and went inside to socialize.

Lain and I were sitting on opposite sides of her couch, trying to figure out the latest charade (imagine how hard it is to mime "Theatre nerd" without pointing at everyone in the room), when Michael decided that he was going to plop himself on the couch between us.

I had known Michael for years as an acquaintance from middle school. It was only this year, when he had auditioned and gotten into our most recent theatre production, that we had really started to talk. Even so, he really hadn't meant much to me.

Until his hand suddenly brushed the side of my thigh, and my heart froze.

All of a sudden, a wave of heat flushed to my face with a force so powerful that I had to get up and leave the room. I went back outside to set up another batch of pork ribs on the grill trying to calm my pounding heart. Thus, my crush for Michael was born

Unfortunately for me, apparently that was the day Michael found out he liked someone too.

Lain came up to me after rehearsal the day afterward. I was about to tell her about my crush on Michael, when she told me that he and asked her out to the Homecomming dance last night. Needless to say, that part of my secret heart was torn to little bits.

It only got better from there.

Apparently, Lain seemed to like him more and more as time passed, and his like for her seemed to wane more and more. The horrible thing about that is, that every time she complained that he wasn't paying enough attention to her, or that she didn't feel loved by hi, it made me feel like I had a chance.

But friends don't do that. Besides, I was so ugly, I was certain the one Michael REALLY liked couldn't possibly have been me.

The year passed, as did summer, and my feelings for him only grew. I couldn't tell any of my other friends about it, and I certainly couldn't tell HIM about it. There were so many layers to this conflict because Lain had told everyone in class of 05 that she liked Michael, and since we were all such a close group, it was impossible for me to confide in ANYONE about my secret love. Needless to say, my Junior and Senior year of high school was both torture and ecstasy because , in retrospect, you're always happiest when you're stuck in unrequited love.

In all cases, time passed. I found someone else. Perhaps he wasn't the best person for me to be involved with, but we had so much alike that our friendship eventually bloomed into something else. Ironically, our relationship has the same anniversary as Michael and his girlfriend's (not Lain, by the way). The two of them are still together even now, three years later.

On my side, things happened. Incidents at school involving a vengeful wench who wanted to destroy me socially caused me and Lain to fall apart. I got pregnant at 19.

College and distance and time basically separated me from Michael, and I forgot about him entirely. I had my own life now, far above the pettiness of high school rivalries and stupid crushes. Welcome to real world, Canna.

The thing is, when I announced (with great courage)the birth to my son on facebook, I expected nothing but retorts. I was the smart nerd, all A's, destined to be the great writer or something.

To my great surprise, they were all wishing congratulation. People from college, people from high school, people I hadn't spoken to in years were congratulating me.

And one day, I opened my profile and looked at my messages, and there I saw it. "Congratulations Canna. Love, Michael."

All at once, it was like the years melted and I was a little high school girl, feeling a little flutter inside as he grabbed my arm in the hallway just to ask in the last seconds before he went to class if I had a pencil he could borrow. And the girlish way I blushed when his hand accidentally brushed mine when he took it.

As I closed my computer, my hand touched the bright red blush on my cheeks that a guy I hadn't seen in three years had put there with a single faceless sentence.

Maybe one day I'll tell him how much he meant to me. Maybe not. Either way, I can still feel him deep in the recesses of my heart. Because everyone knows that your first secret love has a way of always hiding inside of you.


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