I’m not too sure when I began noticing him. I think it was when my friend mentioned “some guy” in the grade above us she knew in Pre-K, and I wanted to know what he looked like. My intuition led me to notice one person who I thought could be “that guy,” and so I kept observing him. Turns out, he wasn’t my friend’s former friend. But that didn’t matter for some reason.
Early on, I was sure this was going to turn into a crush, and I didn’t particularly care. I just wanted to know about this person I had discovered. All I knew was that he was a year older than me, as well as his appearance; and his face wasn’t exactly someone you’d notice. Yet I did.
First of all, I wanted to know his name so he wasn’t just “the guy.” The school yearbook hadn’t come out yet, so that wasn’t an option, and I was afraid to ask any of my friends. They’d think I was just weird. Plus, they wouldn’t know. (This would have been much easier with Facebook.) I decided to keep calling him “the guy,” until I happened to hear someone call his name. Which was practically impossible unless someone was screaming at him from halfway across the hall.
Meanwhile, I kept asking myself why I even cared about him. And the truth was, I didn’t know. I just had an inexplicable urge to know what he was like. And maybe he was kind of cute. Kind of.
I started looking for “the guy” at lunch in hopes of learning something, anything more about him. There was just one kind of huge problem. He would eat in the cafeteria, and my friends would eat outside. Sometimes, I would try convincing my friends to eat inside, but I had no reasonable explanation why, or at least a reason that I was willing to tell them.
However, we were forced to sit inside whenever it rained, and on those rare days, I would notice a few things–he would always sit at the same place with the same people. We never sat close enough to his table to hear what they were talking about, but he seemed interested enough in what the people around him was talking about.
And after a few months of keeping my ears open, I finally learned his name. As I was walking out of a teacher’s classroom at the end of the day, I heard someone call his name.
“Timothy?” He turned around.
Yesyesyes. I finally knew his name. I “casually” hurried out of the room, secretly excited at knowing more information about newly-named “Timothy.”
The name “Timothy” would constantly run through my mind until it rolled off my tongue as a word with a unique rhythm. Not that I ever said his name in public.
The rest of the year was filled with random snatches of scenes thatt I could pick up– calling out to a friend, walking into a classroom, changing binders at his locker, anything that I saw him doing.
Soon, the school year was coming to a close, and I was confronted with the reality that I wouldn’t see Timothy for three months. The last few days of that school year, I tried soaking in every detail about him, hoping I could retain a somewhat accurate image of him over the summer.
Surprisingly, Timothy didn’t occupy my thoughts that much during the long break, although I occasionally wondered what he was doing. Then again, he was never a huge obsession, just a name constantly at the back of my head, one of my unsolved mysteries.
The following August, I roamed the halls looking for a familiar blue and grey jacket. However, when I found him, now an 8th grader, reality settled in. Over the summer, my mental picture of Timothy had changed to something better than he actually was, although I barely had anything to base “better” off of. This disappointment wasn’t enough to stop me though.
As the year progressed, I memorized his locker location, and I would pause in front of it whenever I was alone in the halls, staring at the plain Master lock restricting access to its contents.
I tried compiling his schedule based off the classrooms he walked into, and when I was finished, I memorized it. (Yay for schools with one hallway.)
A teacher would sometime come around with a list of students who hadn’t shown up for lunch detention and ask if we had seen any of them. Timothy’s name was sometimes on it. I never said anything.
Once, on a “cold” Houston winter day, we were waiting outside to be let into the main building at the end of lunch. Out of nowhere, Timothy and two of his friends in the crowd start hopping up and down, three bobbing heads among the masses. Perhaps it was to warm themselves up, perhaps it was for some other reason; without context, I had no explanation.
The whole time, I would be reminding myself that Timothy was just a normal person and that I probably should stop noticing his life in such detail. I felt kind of like a fangirl whenever I thought about Timothy, although my case wasn’t as pitiful. Or you could call it more pitiful, considering I actually had the chance to talk to him, but I just…couldn’t.
A one-sided stalker relationship got boring after a while though, and I wanted him to notice me as well. So I would exaggerate my actions whenever Timothy was anywhere close in an attempt to catch his attention. Laugh a little harder, speak a little louder, wave my hands more, all while stealing glances in his direction. No response.
From what I could observe, Timothy was a quiet person who kept a small group of friends. If anything, I had to get him to acknowledge me by not being outlandish and crazy, unless I wanted to be perceived as an insane 7th grader. On the other hand, he had no reason for noticing me unless I stood out in some way, say, being outlandish and crazy. (Nevermind actually, like, talking to him.)
In the middle of the year, I promised myself that I would go to the same high school as Timothy no matter what. However, this was based off some assumption that he would be going to the high school that I was expected to attend, and so when he chose to go somewhere else, I declared that promise broken.
With the hope of a common high school gone, I somehow had to make the best of the few remaining months we had together in the same building. Timothy still had no idea of my stalking ways, and I even began feeling sorry for him. If someone were massively stalking me, I’d like to know about it, yet I was hiding everything from him.
Once again, I made another vow that would never be fulfilled: If I ever saw Timothy in the halls alone, I would tell him everything, no matter how weird or stalker-like. And just to my luck, he never appeared alone in the halls.
By the end of the year, Timothy had become a dull part of my life, something I routinely looked for as I walked through the halls every day. Even so, I felt a slight panic at the thought of not seeing him on a regular basis, and I wanted more to hold onto before he left.
What was there left to know about him though? Had more than a year of stalking not given me enough information? Ignore the fact that I never actually held a conversation with him. As I mulled over this question, the last day of school came and went, and I was left with no choice but to leave my memories of Timothy as they were.
The next year meant a school without Timothy, and I had a strange acceptance of his absence. I claimed his former locker as my own and he came into my thoughts every now and then, but aside from that, he was officially gone from my life.
To this day, Timothy has no idea of my former obsession over him, and I haven’t seen him upon entering high school.
…Something tells me that this is one of those stories best left in middle school.