2018-2019 Magazine Featured Piece
A cruise: the ultimate vacation. A place for relaxation, partying, and getting even fatter than you already were before the ship set sail. For teens, the place to start your experience is the club. Not the one you dance in, but the one where you play a lot of UNO. I suppose you do play Just Dance 4 every once in a while, but it’s really not the same. At first, this seems like a barren wasteland. However, legends have been passed down from generation to generation of the untapped potential of this area. If you have the finesse, you have the opportunity of a lifetime. One full of making out, and hot babes. To be honest that sounded a lot cooler as an eight grader. Now it just seems derogatory and… creepy, but I digress.
For me, this meant I had a chance for it to finally happen. The big one, the first kiss. Now as an eighth grader going back to my school with this story would be big. Popularity would immediately sky-rocket. In many situations, I was the most unlikely candidate for the magnificent locking-of-lips. I
mean, seriously. I’m over-weight and the combination of my short stature and red hair make me look like a leprechaun. But when you’re in the middle of the ocean with someone, and there is literally no one else left, my chances go from zero to “ugh, I guess.” I entered the teen club with sexiest clothes I owned, a t-shirt with The Flash logo on it and a pair of khakis. I immediately sat down next to three girls. As the only guy there, I knew I had to do it right away. So I started conversation off with my big pick-up line. “So, uhm, you play volleyball?”
“Oh my god, yes! How did you know?”
“It’s on your shirt.”
“Oh yeah. Ha, I’m so stupid.”
I was a sex machine. Okay, maybe I wasn’t, but I had never talked to a girl before so I made a lot of progress in those two sentences. Not to mention she was gorgeous. She had light brown hair, a toned body, and wings of angels. I mean to eighth grade me at least, she was a freshman so it blew
me away that she was even okay with being in my presence. Unfortunately, my luck had run out and two more guys entered the teen club. They were the hot guys. The ones who could throw these girls over their shoulders, who played sports, and actually had the ancient wisdom known as: swag. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s in the legend. Don’t kill the messenger. One of the guys sat in between myself and the lovely volleyball player. He looked her in her eyes and started his hypnotization. “So, uhm, you play volleyball,” he asked in his masculine voice.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“You just look like the athletic type.”
“No one’s ever noticed I’ve played volleyball before. You must be like a mind reader.”
“I guess you could say that.”
“So, how are you?”
“Okay, I guess. I’m looking for someone to go to the front of the ship with me, but so far I have no one. Do you know anyone that would like to go?”
The front of the ship? My chances were over if I didn’t stop him right at that second. My prepubescent body was nothing compared to the Hercules sitting in between us. He was tall, muscular, and was your stereotypical jock in every way, shape, and form. Once two people head to that makeout
point there is no chance at getting them apart. I had to act fast, I needed to stop this from happening. Conversation mode initiated. “How are you doing? I’m Noah Alewel.”
“’Sup, man, I’m Brett. What’s up?”
“Oh nothing, just chillaxin’.”
“Yeah… uhm… like a lollipop.”
Man… I sucked at talking. Sorry, I know this is off topic, but I mean every word I spoke was just awful. With how much I talk and ramble you’d expect me to be a wizard with words, but I am just nothing. Anyways…I just needed to get the attention back on me so she would realize how much of a stud was waiting behind my lackluster excuse as a man, but fate had different plans.
“Hey Brett, I’m Catherine. Did you mention going to the front of the ship? Because if you did, I’m like so in! I’d love to go with you.”
“Well let’s go then.” Brett and Catherine got up and started to leave. Just before Brett walked out though, he stopped and turned to me, “You’re an interesting dude, Noah. See you around?”
“Totally, man. Sounds… sweet.”
“Yeah, man.” After that, they both left for the front of the ship. That left myself, two girls, and another jock. This jock was different though. Brett was the kind of dude who was just cool about everything. He talked to anyone and didn’t care much about what people thought. This other dude, though. He was the human equivalent of a jock strap. He probably had the IQ of a jock strap, too. He was obnoxious, rude, and a waste of air.
The weirdest part of all of that is how he was nothing special. He just believed he was. He was average in height, only moderately muscular, and wasn’t all that handsome.
He finally spoke. “’Sup, I’m Kyle.” Welp, that’s a sentence-worth of air that the world will never get back.
“Hi. I’m Kennedy,” one of the girls said. She was pretty. She had dark hair, a polite demeanor, and seemed pleasant to be around; but the other girl caught my eye. I found out her name was Ava, and she was Catherine’s sister. As it turned out, the girl next to her, Kennedy, was their cousin. Ava was roughly my height, had red hair, and was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen up until that point of my life. I guess that isn’t saying much considering I had only been on Earth for thirteen years at that time. Her dark brown eyes reminded me of my dog. I mean, she didn’t look like a dog. I suppose if I had to compare her to a dog, it would be a puppy, but she wasn’t a dog. She was beautiful and everything any guy would want. Forget Catherine, I was in love.
I snapped out of my trance to see Ava staring at me. She seemed weirded out. “So, Kennedy, was it?” Kyle said. “How ‘bout you and I go to the front of the ship.” Kennedy didn’t even say anything, she just got up and left, pulling Kyle behind her. That left the goddess and me.
“Hi, I’m Noah Alewel.”
“Sorry, what,” she said.
“Oh. Cool. Uhm…”
“Do you like movies?”
“Yeah, well I gotta go meet up with my parents. Bye.” She got up and headed for the exit. I couldn’t speak. I wanted to say goodbye, but the words just came out as gibberish, “Ughnt.” She was it, she was the one. She was going to be my first kiss, she had to be it. Now as a ginger myself I thought that our chemistry was irrefutable. I mean, maybe I knew nothing about her, and maybe I was only interested in her for her looks, but I needed this. Just one time, couldn’t I have a big break. I had gone to church, why couldn’t God have given me this smoking hot piece of angelic beauty?
Later on that night I met up with Brett and Kyle at the jacuzzi. “Dude, Catherine gave me worst case of blue balls I’ve ever had,” Brett said as he sat down. They were both wearing basketball shorts, while I was wearing a pair of red swim trunks. It’s odd how I managed to still stick out of place.
“Same. Kennedy is crazy. Look at these bruises, dude,” Kyle pointed to bruise marks on his shoulders.
“Didn’t you get that from me throwing a golf ball at you,” Brett said.
“No,” Kyle said, clearly lying. “Yeah, well I got a hickey too,” Kyle tugged at his shirt to show us a mark on his neck. Now I had never seen a hickey before, but to this day, I wonder why it’s so cool to have a hickey. It looks like an octopus tentacle got stuck to your neck.
“Wait for tomorrow, man. My parents are getting off the ship when we get to port. I’ll have the entire room to myself all day. If you’re looking for Catherine and me, don’t bother. We’ll be there, all day.”
“I highly doubt Catherine would want to do nothing all day, but have sex. Kennedy on the other hand, she’s begging for me. I swear if my mom wasn’t in the room last night. We’d already have been doing it for like six hours straight at this point.”
“First, there is no way you’re going to sleep with Kennedy by the end of the cruise. Second, six hours? I’d give you six seconds. Third, Catherine’s knees will automatically drop on instinct after she sees this,” Brett motioned towards his crotch.
“Noah, who do you think would be more willing to have sex by the end of the cruise, Catherine or Kennedy?”
“Oh, I really don’t know. I didn’t really get the chance to talk with them,” I sheepishly answered.
“He doesn’t want to tell you ‘cause he knows it’ll hurt your feelings when he chooses Kennedy,” Kyle teased. But Brett ignored him and remained focused on me.
“Well what about that other girl we left with you? Did you get to know them? We’re they all over you? Did you guys go up to the front of the ship? How freaky was she?” He was so focused on this. It was like he was getting some kind of sick joy trying to figure out what me and the love of my life did.
“Oh, Ava? No, she had to go talk with her parents. We really didn’t get the chance to converse. Besides I bet it’ll be impossible to get with her.”
“Dude, it takes like no time to meet a girl who wants to hook up with you on a cruise. They’re just as desperate as we are when we board this ship. I bet they were so ready for you. What did you say to them?”
“I said, ‘Hi.’”
“You said, ‘Hi’?”
“Well, yeah, what else was I supposed to say?”
“I don’t know, maybe, ‘Do you want to go to the front of the ship?’”
“That’s a good a one, I’ll write that one down for later.”
“Noah have you ever kissed a girl before,” Kyle egged me on. I scoffed, acting like I thought he was an idiot for even considering that could be my problem.
“Of course I have. I’ve lost my virginity like five times already. I’m a stud at my school.” Brett nodded his head pitifully.
“Dude, you are such a liar. You can’t even lose your virginity more than once. You do realize that, right? I guess it makes sense you wouldn’t know that considering that you’ve never been with a girl,” Kyle teased.
“Well I have. So maybe you’re just not doing it right,” I said, but I was falling under. My lies were catching up with me. Luckily, Brett came to my rescue.
“Shut the hell up, Kyle. I’ve heard of a guy who lost his virginity ten times.”
“Brett, you’re actually sticking up for him?”
“Maybe if you weren’t such a douche I wouldn’t have to. Even if it weren’t true, why would it matter?”
“Because he’s a loser. I hate those. You know what, whatever, I’m going to get a water.” Kyle got out of the jacuzzi and headed inside.
“Don’t sweat it. We are going to get you with that girl, though.”
“Come on, you must like that Amy girl right?”
“Her names Ava. I mean… I think she’s kinda cute. Like I mean I’m good with any girl I guess. Not that I’m desperate or anything, it’s just like whatever. Ava, though, she is awesome…”
“Okay… just, shut up. Meet us at the teen club at twelve tomorrow morning.” I got there at nine, I just couldn’t wait that long. I couldn’t have been more excited for the events that lay ahead of me. Unfortunately, I found out that it wouldn’t be as easy as I thought. I ended up having to deal with the counselor of the teen club.
“Hi! Welcome to the teen club! I’m Brittany, the club’s counselor for the week. No one else is here yet, but you and I could have lots of fun. We can play UNO, or play Wii Sports, or… UNO!”
“Wii Sports sounds kinda fun.”
“You’re right, that would be fun. Unfortunately the disc is broken, so how about we play UNO?”
“Yeah, how about we do that?” Three UNO-filled hours later, the rest of the group arrived. “Dude are you playing UNO,” Kyle mocked.
“What? No. That game’s for losers.”
“I don’t know, I kinda like UNO,” Ava said as she walked into the room.
“I mean I might have played one or two rounds. It can be fun sometimes.”
“Alright, boys,” Brett announced, “Catherine and I are going to the front of the ship. Anyone else want to come?” Of course Kyle and Kennedy said they would, but Ava remained silent. Brett looked at me, I averted my eyes, so he turned to her.
“Ava,” Brett said, “why don’t you come?”
“Oh, I don’t really have anyone to go with.” Brett waited the moment to see if I would finally grow a pair and ask her, of course I hadn’t though.
“Well you could go with Noah.” I couldn’t look her directly in the face, but I did peak at her out of the corner of my eye Her face read pure horror. Her eyes widened as her mouth shut. I couldn’t let her suffer like this. “Actually, guys, I have homework to do,” I said.
“You’re on vacation, what homework could you have,” Kyle asked as Brett glared angrily at him. Brett understood why I would want to get out of there, so he didn’t try to stop me.
“I have a reading assignment for English. My teacher is making us do it, and I haven’t even started reading the book.”
“Yeah, I need to go talk with my parents, anyways.” Then both of them got up and rushed out of the room. The area was filled with an awkward silence. No one was quite sure what to say.
“Well, I guess I should start reading.” I got up and left the room, but my pride and confidence did not come with me.
The rest of the week was fun, but there was no sign of romance for me. I guess I was just bound stay on my low popularity level forever. It was the final night and we were all hanging out together. “I’m really going to miss you guys,” Catherine said.
“Yeah. It’s been fun,” Brett agreed.
Kyle and Kennedy were too busy flirting to even chime in. I was off to the side, waiting for everyone to finish up. That was until I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye. It was Ava, and she was walking right towards me. The world slowed down. Spotlights followed her as she walked in my direction. Now, I wish I could tell you that we embraced each other. I wish I could tell you I got to push her hair behind her ear. l wish I could tell you I caressed her cheek as it blushed into a bright, red hue. I wish I could tell you that we shared a long and passionate kiss just like every rom-com out there. I wish I could wrap up this story with a perfect little bow and end it with the idea that hope comes out of the most unlikely places. I wish I could tell you all of that. That is not what happened, though. In reality, she stripped naked right then and there and we did the sex, or she walked right by me.
One of the two, I can’t quite remember. It’s difficult to keep those types of things clear in your mind. You want one thing, so you tend to believe it. In that moment, I was at a loss for words. I sat thinking to myself, “What is wrong with me? How could I have ever thought I had a chance with her, the
goddess sent from above to wipe away my sins? How could I have been so foolish, so naive to actually think that this girl would ever fall for me?
“Friendzoned again, what else is new?” Years, I spent think ing I was inadequate for others. Truly believing that they deserved better. Telling myself, why even take the chance when it’s just bound to end in disappointment? I have since realized, how inconsiderate I was being. Ava never owed me anything. She never promised me a kiss under the moonlight. She never said she even felt that way about me. The “friend zone” isn’t real, it’s a made up place where sorry jerks like myself can put ourselves in to make the other person feel like they are terrible. If she said yes, she was a slut. If she said no, she was a bitch. It wasn’t fair of me to put her in that situation. I would never talk to anyone if I knew those were
my only options.
To this day, two years later, I’m waiting for that first kiss. Now I get to wait for that special moment to come, and I know it’s going to be with someone I care about. Which means either the waiting is worth it, or I’ll never get my first kiss and I’ll die alone.