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An Open Letter to the Girl I Pretended To Have a Crush On in Eighth Grade

A writer recalls being 14 and in the closet in 1995:

"I had never been more proud of myself. I decided to notice you so no one would notice me, and now I was not only assumed straight, but assumed worthy of conversation. I just had to keep broadcasting straightness loud enough to drown out the gay humming underneath.

"Despite having two classes together, I had still barely met you. Ms. Hughes’s class was divided into fifteen tables, each with two students. She had already changed the seating arrangement twice. We couldn’t tell if this was a deliberate strategy on her part—obedience through churn—or if she just couldn’t decide how she’d like us arranged. Each time, you and I had ended up at different ends of the class.

"‘Table six,’ she was saying as we waited near the door, ‘Michael Hobbes and Tracy Dolan.’

"The class, as one, made a kind of awwwww sound, like the studio audience on ‘Full House’."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 15, 2013
LENGTH: 23 minutes (5791 words)