It was the summer that I was to begin my first year of High School. I was shy, I was ugly, I was skinny, I had glasses, I had a ridiculous hair cut – you know the type your parents gave you with the Tupperware bowl on your head? Yeah that one! And on top of that I had absolutely no self confidence what-so-ever.
I remember walking into this huge building, a very daunting time I can tell you. My mother was with me on that day, along with all the other mothers sending their kids to High School. As a typical young person I was embarrassed to be seen with my parents and at that time I thought my mother was just as ugly as me. But even worse, she was old fashioned, which made her even more embarrassing, and really daggy. Anyway we found where we needed to be and our parents were sent home – Thankfully.
As the days passed and we all settled into the new routine. Routine!! Something that was very different for us. I had made some new friends that later would become my rock for some time. One morning during our break I got to our seating area before the rest of my friends. While waiting I sat and got my food out, and as I began eating I looked up and from where we sat we had a pretty good view of the entire playground, an area that was called the Quadrangle, we simply called it the Quad. This is where most people hung out. As I said I looked up, and when I did the most amazing site was walking across the Quad. It was love at first sight. The very second I saw him I was in love.
I watched him go to his seat. He sat under this concrete area called the Bunker. In my opinion men or I guess I should say boys don’t get or didn’t get any better than him. He was lovely. Months later I learned his name was Jon Smith. Jon Smith was gorgeous. I knew he would never be interested in a girl like me. Especially when I saw all the other girls. And he had his choice of any one of them. They were out going and pretty. Many of which he would go out with during our school years.
For the most part of our schooling Jon Smith didn’t know I existed. But everyday I watched him, secretly whenever I could. Not even my best friend Natasha knew how I felt about him. I didn't tell her until many years later.
As our school years went on I became more comfortable with my self and hence gained some self confidence. I enjoyed those years very much. Even to the point of saying they were the happiest times of my life. If I could have I would have stayed at school 24/7. Anything would have been better than going home at the end of an enjoyable day. I guess I was really lucky to have had such great friends to make it so much more enjoyable than it was for many others. I guess too, that Jon Smith made it pleasant.
I watched him interact with his mates. I watched him in class. I listened to him read when the teacher requested it. I watched him play sport and most of the time his team won. There was nothing that I didn't love about him. I loved the colour of his eyes; they always had a determined look in them. Years later whenever I heard Jo Dee Messina singing I’m Alright it reminded me so much of him. I loved his freckles. I loved his dark hair. I especially loved the way he walked and he had the most amazing voice I had ever heard. His laugh just took my breath away. I knew then and there that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.
Over the years there were many wonderful experiences where I had a glimpse of him or I heard his voice in the class rooms or corridors. Joyous memories.
I remember one day in the canteen line he stood next to me and my little heart pounded almost out of my chest. You know how some kids are just too cool to talk to so you don’t, although sometimes I am not sure if it’s that you don’t, I think it’s more the fact that you cant. Even if you did open your mouth to speak the words wouldn't come out. You are just far too nervous. Especially when the person is extremely good looking with the most amazing blue eyes, and is extremely popular with both the guys and the girls. Not only that, they are good at everything, and really intelligent. For some reason some people are just naturally talented or is it blessed, in all aspects of life and he was one of them.
I on the other hand struggled to achieve. I had to study hard to get good grades. And sport was just something I could never do. I was far too uncoordinated to do something like aerobics but that was always the cheapest so I usually ended up doing that and looking stupid. I hated cross country at that point in my life. I couldn’t run to save myself. One thing I could do was swim. Although I was a pretty good swimmer I never attended swimming events unless I absolutely had too. I was afraid I would come last. Not being a popular kid, and skinny with funny hair and glasses I was always conscious of what people thought. I had always had my fair share of criticism from the cool kids or the rich kids so it was nothing new to me, but it was still something that did bother me as a child and something you never got used to. And the last thing I wanted was for him to laugh at me along with the others. Anyway I lived through that time without any communication from this boy, who grew into a gorgeous young man over those 4 years.
I finished year 10 relatively unscathed. The following year I returned to school to further my education. For two reasons. First and foremost I wanted to be a nurse. From the time I was a small child I knew that is what I wanted to do. My mother had lost a baby when I was 7 so I decided that nurses were hopeless and I could do a better job. I never changed my mind and I would eventually go on to study nursing and yes I was good at it.
The second reason was that I knew Jon Smith would be at school. I had heard at a class meeting the previous year that he had intended to return to do his High School Certificate. I didn't have a job at the time that paid enough to support me so I thought “yeah, why not. I’ll do it”
To my total and utter surprise school in year 11, as a senior was an awful lot harder education wise but a lot more relaxed discipline wise. We were given more freedom apparently because we were older and more mature. We were seniors now. We didn't need baby sitting anymore, apparently.
With only a small number of students attending year 11 we got to know each other better in just a few weeks than we did the previous 4 years.
It was during this time that I actually got my first association with Jon. One on One.
About 4 weeks after we started school for the year we had a school camp for our year. After getting our itinerary we all boarded the bus and left for the hour long trip to get to the Bright Sunnywaters camping/cabin grounds. We alighted from the bus and assembled into the main hall for further instructions. After introductions were made and we were given our list of instructions, rules, routines and the like we made our way to the cabins that we were allocated. Bright Sunnywaters itself is located on the waters edge. Hence its name. The cabin I was allocated was with 4 other girls was on the waterside of the park. Which I really enjoyed. I have always been a water person so personally to wake up every morning with glorious views of the bright sun rising over the waters was something else.
Each day we had activities planned for after breakfast, but other than that it was mostly just a nice and relaxing time. Maybe that was the plan. Get us all nice and relaxed in preparation for the grueling time we would have once we got back to school.
One of the days we were there our activity was canoeing. I had never in my life been in a canoe before. So it was something new to me. We put on our swimmers and threw a T-shirt over the top. Over the school holidays I had become aware of the fact that I had a reasonably nice body. This gave me confidence that I didn't have before. I began to notice boys were looking at me.
At our local pool I had been asked out by a really popular, good looking boy from the private school by the name of Tony. Which I declined only because he had a reputation and I had no idea what to do with boys. At that time in my life I was still a virgin. I had only ever kissed one boy before. So I literally ran away scared leaving my 2 older sisters and younger brother there at the pool. Embarking on the 4 kilometer journey home alone. I was running as fast as I could. It wasn’t long before Tony’s friend came running after me. For some reason all the popular good looking guys have the little people that do their running around for them. Anyway, as I said earlier I was never very good at running as a youngster so it was easy for him to catch up with me. Grabbing the handle of my towel bag he stopped me and on catching his breath he asked, “What is wrong with you?”
“Nothing” I said
“Yeah right, do you know who that is?”
“Yes I do” I said, “and I don't care who he is. I am not interested in him.”
“Why not? You would be the envy of every girl in school” he had said.
He was right I would have been the envy of every girl in school. Every girl that had not already been out with Tony that is. And to be honest I’m not sure if there were that many left. I really didn’t care what all the girls thought about me by this stage. And if the truth be told I was afraid of not putting out and the stories that would go around about me not putting out that stopped me even wanting to go out with him. But damn he was cute.
Taking on a cool casual stance now Noel said, “Oh so you’re interested in someone else then huh?”
“Yeah I am, but I’m not telling you who” I said on the verge of tears.
“That’s ok; I don’t need to know who. I know someone who likes you though”
I wasn’t in the mood for childish games so I kept on walking, ignoring him. I knew no body would be interested in me. I was never popular. I wasn’t pretty, although I did get better with age. I wasn’t out going, I was shy. I continued to walk. Noel stopped and yelled as I kept going “I’ve gotta get back but if you want to know I’ll tell you”
Just to humor him I stopped and turned to face him and said “Fine, tell me who”
“Come back to the pool and talk to Tony and I’ll tell you”
Just at that point I saw my sisters and brother coming around the corner trying to catch up to me “I can’t go back now” I said, pointing to me family.
Walking the short distance between us he said “Jon Smith”
What!!!! My heart almost skipped a beat at the sound of his name. I remember thinking not even my best friend knew I liked him so there is no way this guy would know. Trying to keep my composure I said “What about Jon Smith?”
Oh my God did I just say his name? Out loud!!!
“Its him, he is the one that likes you”
“Yeah right “ I laughed at him
By now my siblings were close enough to hear the conversation. “Go back and tell him that I am not interested” I said speaking of Tony back at the pool.
“I will” he said, “but remember what I said. It’s true”
Not giving it another thought I walked home with the constant badgering I got from my sisters about how stupid I was not to go out with Tony.
Now back to the canoeing……………