… every step you take, I'll be watching you." ~ "Every Breath" by The Police
Once upon a time, Mo was a stalker.
(I'm pausing while I wait for the laughter to die down because those who know me well know I still have mad Google stalking skills).
This is a story about my early stalking days. Before computers were as popular a household appliance as a washing machine. Before the mainstream population knew what the Internet was. Before Google even existed!
Yes, yes, there was such a time. Believe it or not, when I was in high school, getting a teacher to give you a pass to the computer lab was kind of a big deal.
Kind of, sort of digressing again. Needless to say, this is the story of my high school and beyond crush.
For my fellow alum readers, could you just bear in mind that this story took place more than 20 years ago? And if you figure out who it is I'm talking about, just laugh, shake your head, and do your typical "Oh Mo" thing. Please? I'm beggin' you.
But there was one boy in particular that I was always sweet on. We'll call him Heath, because that's my favorite candy bar. There's a little irony in there too but I can't just come out and tell you what it is.
Anyways, the day Heath stepped foot in Royal Oak Kimball High School ("Let's give a cheer for Kimball High School, let's give a cheer that's long and strong…"), my heart was claimed. Though in Heath's defense, he most likely didn't know it (and perhaps still doesn't?).
I gawked at him in the hallways. I forced my friends to attend basketball games just to see him. I was over the moon when I found out he actually lived on the next street over.
To this day, I always take the longer route to my mom's house just to pass his house even though he hasn't lived there in about 15 years.
The kids I used to baby-sit for lived across the street and six houses down from him. One evening, after a particularly harsh rainstorm, the street flooded. Travis, bless his little heart, wanted to go out and play in the puddles. I had already consented as, not going to lie, I wanted to too, but imagine my delight when Heath and his brother came outside. About thirty seconds later, imagine my mortification when little Travis called out, "Hey, Mo! Isn't that the guy you like?"
God willing, Heath didn't hear him. Or if he did, he never said anything about it.
As the school years merged one into another, my crush on Heath never faded. By senior year, I was still gawking at him, making a point to visit with my friend Dee before second hour only because Heath was in there too (which was right across the hall from MY second hour), and driving by his house every chance I got (thank GOD it was one of the few ways to get to my house from that particular "busy road"). By the time basketball season rolled around, even Heath's mom knew of my unrequited love crush for her son, thanks to my good friend Irish Politician (they worked together believe it or not).
You know, looking back, it would actually be a small miracle if Heath didn't know about my crush….
In the midst of basketball season, yours truly got the thrill of her high school career: I somehow managed to land the Varsity Basketball Team layout for the Lancer yearbook. Which meant I had to interview the team captains, Heath included (y'all are digging out your yearbooks now aren't you?). I still remember that brief 20 minute interview fondly.
It was about this time that I came up with a completely harebrained idea. I swear, this is the truth: I once read a book, in high school (it's an impressionable age okay?), about a girl who had a crush on some guy and she would basically go do this little Indian War Dance/African Rain Dance thing in his front yard.
You see where I'm going with this, right?
So you can only imagine what a complete lunatic I've become in the years since high school.
It started off where after the basketball games and while Irish Politician was driving my friends and I home, we would stop in front of Heath's house. I would simply kneel and wave my arms up and down (much like a praying Muslim, I admit) on the sidewalk chanting my undying love. As basketball season progressed, my daring increased. I went from the sidewalk to the top of his front steps (his house was on a hill and there was a small set of stairs leading from the sidewalk to the front yard). And then halfway up the sidewalk. And then as basketball season reached it's climax, I was in the middle of the front yard.
I should mention two things here. One: there is a HUGE plate glass window on the front of his house. It's probably about six feet by eight feet and takes up one entire wall of the living room (never having been in the house before, I can only guess). Second: Kimball's basketball team was doing so well, we were tied with Troy for the district title (or some such nonsense, I really don't remember except that we were going beyond the usual basketball season because we were kicking butt).
So one particular night, my friend Irish Politician decided we needed to up the ante a bit. Okay, a lot. Not only was I to do my own version of an Indian War Dance/African Rain Dance thing in Heath's front yard, but Irish Politician was going to pull into his driveway with the lights of her unreliable 1980-something Ford Thunderbird on.
Again, I mention that Heath lived on a rather steep hill for a house. I should also mention that this particular Royal Oak Boulevard was a Boulevard in the true sense that there were boulevards in the middle of the street separating the two sides of the streets.
I should also clarify that no, I was not on drugs nor did I have a single sip of alcohol until I went to college.
I'm not sure if that fact makes me braver or a bigger idiot, but it is what it is.
So Irish Politician went around the boulevard, dropped me at the sidewalk, and then continued to pull into Heath's driveway with the car running and headlights on, shining directly into the darkened living room of Heath's house.
In the meantime, I ran up into the front yard and began running in crazy circles and figure eights waving my arms around like a lunatic and even began chanting a bit.
You can imagine everyone's surprise when a light suddenly went on in the house.
Now imagine the light going on to reflect Heath's dad standing in the living room in his boxer shorts.
Are you picturing this yet?
It gets better. Because Irish Politician's car conked out right in the middle of the driveway at this point.
They say that in panicked situations, adrenaline is a force to be reckoned with. I can attest to this. It's the only way I managed to run across the front yard shouting, "Put it in neutral, put it in neutral!" before shoving the car back down the driveway with Irish Politician and two of our other friends in it.
At some point, Irish Politician managed to get the car started again. Behind me, another light came on in Heath's house as the front yard suddenly got brighter. And there was Mo, running as fast as her legs could carry her down the driveway, across the boulevard, and diving head first into the car before Irish Politician peeled away.
I can only hope and pray that this is the first time this story has seen the light of day for many of you.
And for you others who didn't know me in high school…. Don't I sound like a hell of a good time? 😉