If By Eighteen | G.D.

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     When you were 13 years old you fell for a boy who everyone else hated. You never could figure out what was so wrong with him. He was so sweet to you, polite, generous and not to mention hilarious. But when you told your parents about your "crush", they completely rejected it. You weren't allowed to be around this boy, the boy your little 13-year-old heart was unknowingly in love with. So in order to make the feeling go away, you approached him at school and told him you could no longer speak to him. But you did make a pact, a silly pact that you'd forgotten about over the years. "If we don't find someone by the time we're 18, we'll find each other and try again." It was dumb, but you agreed.

     You fell back against the comfortable mattress in your room and stared above at the plain white ceiling. The guy you had been seeing for months told you that he didn't see you two going anywhere. It hurt, especially since you thought he was the one. But then again, you'd felt that "spark" before with plenty of others. You were searching for the one who made an explosion instead of a pitiful light. 

     It was 6:30 pm and you decided to get some food, return back to your apartment and mope. Shortly after you returned home from your "date" earlier you put on pajamas. You chose not to change out of them and got in your car. You drove for a little while, not approving of most of the regular restaurants you'd choose. But there was one that stood out to you the most. IHop (or IHob idc). You hadn't been to IHop since you were in Middle School and lived in New Jersey. But here you were, almost 7:00 at night and craving it bad.

     You checked your face and hair over in the mirror, not wanting to scare a child with your monstrous style. Your hair was up in a bun, your face was bare of makeup which wasn't unusual, but right now you looked like a zombie. Once you were fine with your appearance you went inside, finding an empty table and looking through the menu. Eventually, an older woman with white curly hair was standing beside you. "What would you like?" She asks, pulling out a small notebook from her smock. 

     "Uhm I'll have the Belgian dark chocolate mousse pancakes and a hot chocolate." You say, handing her the menu with a smile. She nodded and wandered out of sight.

    It was quiet since it was kind of late and the only other customers were a group of elderly people and a woman with her small child. You had gotten your hot chocolate a few minutes after ordering, so you sipped on it and played on your phone. The door swung open, breaking the peace that once calmed the room. Three boys walked in, wearing dark jackets and beanies. You ignored their loud voices and went back to your phone. That was until one of them laughed. It made you freeze, all the hair on your body stood up. You knew that laugh it was familiar and comfortable but from where? You peered up from your phone to try and put a name to the sound, but they kept their backs to you. 

     After they ordered, they sat at a table a few feet away. You could see the outline of his side profile, but not enough to make anything click. You hadn't even noticed how entranced you were until the sweet waitress tapped on your shoulder, your order in hand. "Oh geez, sorry. Thank you so much." You say, taking the tray and setting it in front of you. You stopped eye stalking the poor stranger and put your attention towards your food. You forgot how good IHop was until you took your first bite. Your mouth watered with each bite.

The table of boys got their food a while later, finally quieting down once they started shoving the contents into their mouths. They ate so quickly that they ended up finishing their food at the same time you did, even though you got yours several minutes before them. The woman dropped checks on both your tables and went to the back. You checked the receipt and realized she got them switched. The boys were still talking and didn't notice. You would wait, but you were really anxious to go home and be alone. So you got up and walked to their table, making eye contact with only one of them. He was wearing makeup, it looked a lot better than anything you'd ever done. He smiled kindly, not sure why you were disturbing their meal.

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