BY SOPHIA MOORE
I remember the sweat on my palms as I shook, concealing my phone in my backpack. I had never broken school rules like that. I remember how slowly the menu loaded and how frantically I looked from screen to screen. Sr. Reyes was teaching us about the subjunctive; I just wanted to order my damn pizza. I remember thinking that Sr. Reyes caught me fiddling on my phone, but he said nothing. His eyes kept my secret. I know the bell rang, but I don’t remember hearing it.
I remember how I had never had a real first date like this, how confusing my relationship with J was. Were we? Weren’t we? I remember wanting to know what we were. I remember feeling so stupid. So seventeen! Gangly and terrible and the oldest I had ever been. Then I remember seeing him standing, hands thrust deep in his hoodie pockets waiting for someone to arrive. He was shy, nervous. He ran his hands through his hair, scanning the crowd departing for lunch hour. I remember meeting him with a smile, and I remember the way his legs carried him effortlessly towards the pizza parlor when the conversation would not. I remember struggling for words, stressing how busy or interesting my life was, desperate to prove my worth to him. My tongue got in the way. So seventeen! I remember looking up at him, at his freckles, and wondering what he was thinking.
Pizza Parlor: You.
He remembered holding the door open for her, the warmth of the parlor alleviating the brisk December day. Southern California had never looked so gloomy, she had never looked so flushed? Why was she wearing that coat? He remembered her shaking hands and the way she gripped her pink wallet. She insisted on paying for him, rambling about being able to carry her weight because he was paying for movie tickets after all. He remembered smiling at her absurdity, her frizzy hair and overwhelming trench coat, why was she wearing that coat?! He remembered sitting at the counter. She was so close. Eye contact.
The Walk Back: Me.
I remember the walk back to school, with the pizza box in his right hand and the left hanging loose at his side. (Should I hold the box? His hand? Would I be able to take the leftovers home?) The pizza box would become remnants of where we had been. His left hand would become my favorite to hold. I remember coming so close to his face, so near to the warmth of his breath, red onions maintaining their hold on his tongue. I remember wondering why it was the barbecue chicken pizza that I chose, was that selfish of me? He said I could pick, but what if he didn’t like cilantro? As I panicked next to him, silently, I wondered: Would we have been closer to kissing if I picked the pepperoni?
Our First BBQ Chicken Pizza.
I remember feeling so young. Perhaps the youngest I’d ever be. I remember loving the way his arm pushed up against mine, and the contentedness of his easy conversation about Rhode Island and How I Met Your Mother and squirrels. I remember loving the way I had to look up at him, letting my serious resting gaze slip as I tilted my face skyward, so vulnerable to someone I hardly knew. I felt different with him, and I liked it. I remember thinking that I was in love with him, and if not now, eventually.
Sophia Moore is a first-year sociology and magazine, news, and digital journalism student. She enjoys writing poetry and personal essays, though reporting is her biggest passion. In her free time, Sophia is always looking for new music to listen to or scrolling through Twitter.