You’re a shy girl of sixteen. You keep your head down when you walk through the hallways, wear a shirt-and-jeans combo every day, keep to your circle of friends. In high school, when everyone’s obsessed with labels –jock, geek, loser, prom queen – you feel invisible, like glass on water,aimlessly floating adrift along the current.
You stand against your locker, just another no-name generic in your scruffy Chucks, when suddenly this boy, the most incredible, beautiful boy, gives you a smile. You look around; is that smile for you? Yes, it seems,as the boy walks up to you and asks oh-so-charmingly if maybe, just maybe,you’d like to go out with him.
You’re dumbfounded, and who can blame you? In a world of labels – wannabe, dork, freak, nerd —you don’t even exist, and yet this boy, an incredible, beautiful boy, the quintessential High School Jock, noticed you. Stuttering, you answer, yes, yes, I would love to go out with you.
You wear a dress on your date, a change of routine for you,and you blush crimson when he compliments it. You get in his car and try not to show your nerves when he starts conversing easily. You get awkward looking directly at him so you focus on the passing scenery. Sidewalks. Streetlights. Strangers.
You go to a somewhat upscale restaurant, where the food is expensive and delicious, but for all you care, they could serve you decomposing fish entrails and you’d still be happy, because across the table, this wondrous boy is smiling, joking around, and telling you how beautiful you look.
You see him the next day. He offers to give you a ride home. He compliments you on your outfit and you are delighted at him having noticed. Yeah, this is a new shirt. Well, this is my house. Right there. He leans over and brushes a strand of hair out of your eyes, and you seem to simultaneously freeze and melt at his touch. His hand was on yours, and after an excruciating moment’s hesitation, he gives you a kiss, your first, actually, and you are in awe of this magnificent boy kissing plain old you.
At that moment, you weren’t transparent. You weren’t invisible. The light has shifted, and you weren’t glass on water after all: you were an aurora, a shining ribbon of color across a bleak sky.
You start wearing skirts, each with hemlines shorter than the last. You let your grades slip because you had to do his homework—how could you resist him (and how could he possibly study when he’s taking you to the movies and restaurants all the time?), you say. You stay out late every night despite your curfew, because time flies too fast in his arms.
You don’t notice your friends drifting away. You don’t notice the stricken look on your mother’s face when you get home at midnight from your rendezvous. You don’t notice anything else but him.
You don’t even notice when you catch that incredible, beautiful boy in his lies.
You, yes, you, a bright young woman, have let your life shrink and revolve around a single person. You know nothing about life, except for what you have seen with him. As far as you are concerned, he is your life.
When I tell you this, you will raise your arms and your voice in defense and say, well, who can resist his charms? You turn a blind eye to his unfaithfulness, to his subtle cruelty, to the wounds he inflicts on you, because he drew you out from the shadows. With him, you are an aurora. Without him, you are worse than glass on water; without him, you are nothing.
You will read between the lines of what I’m saying, but you’ll pretend not to, and you won’t take my hints, my hidden advice.
And that’s okay. You’ll learn soon enough. We all do.