I’ve had a crush on Sophia* since the first day of school. A crush that is platonic, but burning. It is much more than a wish-I-was-your-friend crush. It’s an obsession. It’s looking at pictures of her and memorizing her face, and trying to follow her to her classes so I can watch her hair sway behind her. She is perfect. Until last Friday, she did not know I existed.

Sophia is a senior this year. Friday was her last day of school, excluding exams. I had been spending two months vowing to say hi to her before she left for college and I’d never see her again, but I didn’t have the courage. Every time I tried to approach her I felt my heart race and couldn’t get any closer.

Then on Friday I was in study hall in the school cafeteria, sitting at a table with some acquaintances, just listening to music and minding my own business, when Sophia and her pack swooped through the door and sat down two tables away. She had her hair up in a bun and was wearing shorts and a tank top. She looked like a goddess. My brain stopped. I ran out of the room.

Fifteen minutes later I had gathered myself and was ready to re-enter. Just as I was about to walk through the door, Sophia walked through the other way. I experienced her passing in slow motion, free strands of hair framing her face and blowing backwards. I thought about how this was the last time I would ever see her. I felt my legs propel me forward and suddenly I was right in front of her, looking at her face.

What came out of my mouth was completely involuntary. I was so stunned by this sudden, unprecedented proximity and eye contact that I asked if I could hug her. She said yes and I wrapped my arms around her and didn’t squeeze because she is delicate and I was afraid I would break her. Then I did something else unexpected: I gave a very loud and passionate speech confessing my feelings about/for her. I don’t remember the words of it. It had something about “infinite beauty.” Then I ran away.

She chased me. I thought I was about to get beat up. But she caught up and told me to give her another hug. “You’re too cute,” she said. I said something along the lines of “uvhbsjkndckbs.” I walked straight into a wall. Then I waited for her to leave.

My friend Sam was in the hallway. I couldn’t hear over the sound of my heart. I yelled to him and he came over. I felt like I was in a dream. I could barely get the words out for my euphoria: “I hugged Sophia.” ♦

* Not her real name.