“Ooh, isn’t he dreamy?” Madison squealed, twirling her long blond hair around her index finger.
“Well, to tell the truth, I don’t know how you find him so attractive.” Brenda said dryly, scrutinizing the photo of her best friend’s crush from church. “Brown hair, brown eyes, he looks pretty normal to me.”
Madison snorted and sat up to tack the picture to the wall right next to her pillow. She glanced up at and it and sighed, then slouched on her pink and silver polka dotted comforter.
Brenda hung her head off the side of the bed and tried to calculate how long it would take for her black out if she stayed in this position. “He is just… Tyler. I don’t see what is so special about him.” Her voice sounded slightly nasal and her eyes bugged out from the pressure building inside her head. She swung her head and shoulders back upright, and her brown hair flopped in front of her face.
Madison ignored Brenda’s experiment and kept on ranting. “But he is Tyler! The one and only! I am so crazy about him; I just can’t stop thinking about his dreamy eyes and soft touch…”
Alarmed, Brenda grabbed a pillow and whacked Madison in the head before she could finish her sentence. “Soft touch?!” Brenda hollered. “You are way too young to be musing over a guy’s soft touch!” She whacked her on the other side of the head, and then both girls collapsed in giggles. “But seriously,” Brenda grabbed her friend’s shoulders. “You’re only fourteen. That is way too young to be thinking about guys.”
Madison smiled slyly. “Just wait Brenda; you are a whole year older than me. Your time will come.”
“Yeah right,” Brenda scoffed, but she felt some doubt. Certainly Madison was wrong.
“Hey mom, I can’t find my white heels!” Brenda yelled as she struggled into her lace shrug. It finally rested on her shoulders in just the right position, and Brenda surveyed herself in the mirror as she slipped her feet into her high-heels and adjusted the white headband in her hair, then dashed downstairs (as fast as she could in heels) and grabbing her Bible, slid into her seat in their minivan.
“And so brethren, we must learn how to forgive before we expect …”
Brenda yawned, and discreetly glanced around the church. “The Scotts are back from California. Man, Lauren got sunburned. There is Madison, and… wait, who is that guy behind Madison?” Brenda watched as the fifteen year old boy sitting behind Madison turned to look her way. He was too far away to see the details of his face, but Brenda could tell he was rather attractive. Brenda’s eyes stayed stuck on him as her mind wandered, then felt a twinge of embarrassment as the unknown guy smiled briefly at her and turned his gaze back to the pastor. “Why was I staring at him? I never stare at guys!” Brenda shook her head slightly and mentally kicked herself. “Get a grip; he probably thinks you are a creep.”
Right as church ended, Brenda grabbed her Bible and raced to the van. Just as she was passing out the door, an unwelcome voice called her. “Brenda, wait! Your parents aren’t leaving yet.”
It was Madison.
Brenda sighed, and slowly turned around to see the guy that had been occupying her thoughts for the last hour, and Madison grinning like the Cheshire cat.
“Brenda, I want you to meet Matt Prell, my cousin. He and his family just moved down from Dallas.”
Matt leaned forward and extended his hand with a winning smile. Brenda slowly reached for his hand as her heart cheered wildly and her brain screamed “What are you doing!?”
Matt gripped her hand firmly. “Hey Brenda, nice to meet you. How are you doing?”
Brenda stared into his eyes and was lost in a sparkling blue sea for a moment before she remembered to reply. “Uh, I was doing great until now.” Her eyes darted to Madison, desperately willing her to salvage this situation. Not a chance.
Madison smiled sweetly and employed her Texan accent. “Well, I will just leave y’all to become acquainted. Bye.”
Brenda glared at Madison’s retreating figure in silent fury, then took a deep breath and turned to Matt with a distinct sense of awkwardness. But he evidently did not feel this same awkwardness.
“So, Brenda…” Matt grinned roguishly, and Brenda began to realize how cute dimples were.
“What did you do that for? You knew it was going to be awkward!” Brenda yelled at Madison as soon as she answered the phone.
On the other end, Madison grinned imperturbably. “Well,” she said placidly. “Was it awkward?”
“Uh, not really. We hit off pretty well.”
“Madison, you set us up on purpose. Regardless whether or not we had a good time or not, I still resent the fact that you left us to talk alone!”
“Isn’t he cute?”
“What kind of question is that? Yes, he is cute, but that doesn’t change anything. I will call you back later, Mom wants me for something.” Brenda hung up, an embarrassed blush creeping over her face.
“Oh, how do I stop thinking of Matt?” Brenda rolled over on her bed, and flipped on her lamp. She sat up and sighed fretfully. “His blue eyes are everywhere!” She stumbled out of bed and padded into her parents’ bedroom. Brenda flopped onto the worn out sofa and tried to think of an opening sentence. Mom raised an eyebrow at her daughter, and Brenda took the dive.
“Hey, mom… I know we have talked about guys before, but somehow this is different. There was this guy I met at church named Matt, and he… well, he paid me lot of attention. We talked a bunch, it was so weird. I never got along with a guy so well before. And he is… really cute.”
“Ah, I noticed that.” Mom closed the book she was reading and laid it in the pool of golden lamplight spilling onto the bed. “And so you can’t stop thinking of him?”
Brenda stared down at her hands. She was comfortable with talking to her mom about almost anything, even crushes. But then again, Brenda had never experienced a crush.
“Yeah. Do… do you think I am beginning to… fall in love? I don’t know exactly what a crush feels like, but right now I can’t stop thinking about Matt, and I can’t wait to see him at church again next week. Is this wrong?”
Mom rested her chin on her hand and her eyes became distant. “What is a crush? Is it an indistinct, fuzzy warm feeling that is uncontrollable? Can someone truly fall in love? Is love only a blind attachment?” Mom smiled at the past, then looked into Brenda’s confused eyes. “Honey, you can walk into this blindfolded, but you have the choice to take off that blindfold. Love is a choice. For now, if you are interested in Matt, take some time and observe his character. What you see is what you’re going to get. But you’re so young.” Mom looked fondly at her. “I have a warning. It is not wise to build castles in the air with no foundation. Keep yourself from dreaming of a future that might not happen. It will save you much disappointment. You’re smart Brenda, you understand what I’m saying.”
Brenda smiled faintly. “Yeah, I get it. Thanks, mom.” She found herself walking back to her room. She sat on her bed and frowned at her rumpled blanket. “No castles, I must not build castles.” She swept her hand in the air above her pillow and down came her glimmering castles she had been building previously in a cloud of fairy dust. Brenda laid her head on the pillow and sighed, then closed her eyes to her dreams. She didn’t know it yet, but she had just opened her eyes to a life guarded by wisdom and guided by God.
Photo credit: Behance