…And Then…I Kissed Her
By: Jamie Sommers
Rated: P/G 13 for language
Synopsis: Landon Carter needs help with his lines for the school play and Jamie Sullivan has agreed to give him a hand on one condition…he has to promise not to fall in love with her.
As I watched her singing in church, I remembered the morning after the incident with Clay. My mom and I were sitting in our customary pew and Jamie stared at me during her solo as though she were trying to send me some kind of personal message. On that day I was consumed with an uncomfortable feelings caused by her scrutinizing gaze. I wanted her to quit looking at me, but now…now I longed for her eyes to meet mine. ‘Look at me Jamie. Please. I just need to see your face.’ Thoughts of her were occupying my mind and I didn’t really hear the words to the song--that fateful song--until the choir began to sing softly and Jamie’s voice began echoing through the church.
“Why me Lord?
What have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known.
Lord, what did I ever do
To deserve loving You
And the kindness You’ve shown?”
“Lord help me Jesus
I’ve wasted it…
So help me Jesus
You know what I am.
And now that I know that
I’ve needed you
So help me Jesus
My soul’s in Your hands.”
“Jesus my soul’s in Your hands.”
She looked directly at me as she sang the last line and I had to close my eyes. I just couldn’t take it. ‘Be careful what you wish for, Landon.’
The choir sat down as Reverend Sullivan began his sermon, but there was no need for his lesson this morning. After 18 years of going to church every Sunday, I finally got the message.
It wasn’t really a prayer, it was more like an acknowledgment. I shifted my eyes towards the ceiling and began to speak. ‘You up there? Look God. I’ve never been big on prayer, or belief, but there must be something to it. Why would all these people come here every week if they didn’t believe in You? I know it’s not just to torture their children, even though as a kid I was sure that’s what my mom was doing. I don’t know yet if I believe as strongly as Jamie does, in fact I know I don’t, but I’m thinking…You might actually exist. I’d like to promise You that I’ll be the perfect Christian from here on out, but we both know that just ain’t gonna happen. I can’t promise that I won’t fu...mess up every now and then, but I’ll try real hard not to. Guess that’s all. Thanks for listening.’
As Reverend Sullivan continued with his sermon I noticed Jamie looking at me again, ‘There’s so much I want to tell you Jamie. So much I need to say,’ but I don’t think she realized she was staring at me because when I smiled at her, she kind of shook her head a little, like she was clearing it, then looked at her father again. ‘Tomorrow Landon. At school tomorrow, you’ll tell her. It’s time you made things right between you two.’ I smiled with the knowledge of what was to come.
I could feel someone’s penetrating gaze burning through my skin and I knew it couldn’t be Jamie--I was busy staring at her--so I turned my head and kind of looked around at the other people. That’s when I noticed her: Belinda. I gave her a nod of my head as if I was saying hello and she finally turned around. ‘This isn’t going to be easy Landon. If you want Jamie in your life, you’re probably going to have to give up your friends you know that don’t you? Yeah…I know.’ The thought didn’t seem to bother me as much as it did a few weeks ago. At this point all I knew was that there was a void inside of me and the only person that could fill it was sitting with the choir right now. ‘You’re gonna miss Eric. Nah…Eric would never ditch me because of Jamie. We’ve known each other our whole lives. If there’s one person I know I can count on…that’s Eric.’
‘Come on Landon…just go to sleep. It’s easy, just close your eyes and clear your mind………..Dammit! This is useless.’ I picked up my alarm clock and noticed it was just after 4:00am. ‘Just a few more hours until your alarm goes off. Just a few more hours. Now close your eyes…good…erase all thoughts from your head…come on…just think of a blank page. Blank page…. blank page…white page with thin blue stripes going across it…no, just plain white, like Jamie’s choir robe. She looked so beautiful in it while she was singing and her voice….argh! I said CLEAR your mind!!’ Trying to sleep was driving me crazy so instead I concentrated on Jamie—planned out what I was going to say to her when I saw her. ‘Jamie, how are you? Hi Jamie. You look nice today. No. Stupid. That’s stupid. Okay…hey Jamie, I’m in love with you and I was thinking…wanna go out with me this weekend? Yeah. Like she’ll say yes to that. Fine…how about this one. Jamie. I was wondering…would you like to go to a movie with me…no…not a movie…dinner…dinner would be better. Okay…would you like to go to dinner with me? When? Friday or Saturday? Saturday. Definitely Saturday. Then I’ll get to see her six days this week instead of five days. Yeah, but what if she says no? Maybe I’m pushing my luck with asking her out right away. Maybe I should just try to be friends with her first then ask her out. Okay… I won’t ask her out tomorrow, but I will tell her that I miss her. I really miss her. And make sure you look good tomorrow. Maybe I’ll wear that blue shirt, or that tan colored one with my khakis. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s not wrinkled. You’ll want to look like you cared enough about her to dress nicely. Right. So it’s settled then. Tell her you miss her and take it from there.’ I rolled over and looked at my clock again, ‘4:39am. Should I even bother trying to sleep now?’
“Shit! SHIT!!” ‘Why is it whenever I need to get out of here on time, I oversleep?’
“You better hurry up. You’re going to be late!”
“I know. I know. Hey, mama? Can you do me a favor?”
“What is it?”
“Can you iron a shirt for me while I jump in the shower?”
She looked at the clock on the wall and then back at me, “Please mom?”
“Okay…where is it?”
“Thanks!” ‘This is great. I just might make it on time and not wrinkled.’
I ran around the house getting my stuff together and ran to my car with a piece of toast hanging out of my mouth and the shirt my mom ironed hanging off of my fingers. It was kind of chilly out this morning and I didn’t want to wear it under my vest and wrinkle it so I figured I’d just put it on at school. ‘Good thinking Landon. Yeah…I’m on the ball today. Shit…I’m gonna be late.’
I got to my locker just as the first bell rang so I didn’t have time to do anything, but get my books and race to class. ‘She’s not in your first period with you anyway. Yeah, but she is in second period with you. Second period. Can you wait that long Landon?’ It was hard, but I did it. When the bell rang I practically ran to science class. I couldn’t wait to see her. ‘All right so you’re the first one in class, that’s no big deal.’ I sat at my desk and watched as person after person entered the classroom. None of them Jamie. ‘Where are you?’
Morning break took forever. It was the longest ten minutes of my life, and then there was the longest fifty minutes of my life during history class. She wasn’t there either. ‘Face it Landon, she’s probably out sick or something.’ As the bell rang I stood up and got my stuff together trying not to sulk. ‘Well, there’s always tomorrow. Yeah…tomorrow.’ This sulking thing seemed to be dead set on happening so who was I to argue. It was then that I heard her laugh. I looked up just as Belinda and Eric rounded the corner. She was talking with Eddie Zimmerhoff. ‘That guy just rubs me the wrong way. You’re just jealous Landon. No I’m not. Yes, buddy. You are.’
I wasn’t sure what class she had next I tried to remember but I just had no clue. I saw her walking away from Eddie and I wondered if he knew. “Uh, I’ll be right back guys. I just gotta ask Eddie something.” I left the hallway and chased him down.
“Uh, hey Landon.”
“You haven’t…uh…well you wouldn’t know what class Jamie has next would you?”
“No. Sorry man.”
“That’s okay.” ‘Dammit. Now what? Think Landon, think.’ I did a mental check of which classes we had together and which classes I knew she had at what time. ‘Science was with me, history, drama is the last class of the day, English lit…we had that together.’ By the time I was done going through the mental checklist I came up with either gym, physch or trig. I went to gym first and watched as the girl’s class took their place on the field. ‘Nope. Not there.’ Then it dawned on me. She said that she sometimes goes to study hall instead of gym. I went into the library and checked in with the teacher seeing as that’s where I was supposed to be anyway. I walked through the entire thing looking desperately for her, searching the crowd for her innocent smile, but she wasn’t there. ‘Where are you Jamie?’ I walked to physch, then to trig both places turning up negative results. ‘Well it’s looking like you’ll just have to wait until lunch Landon.’ I walked back into study hall and sat at a table and just stared at the clock, counting the minutes until the lunch bell rang. My stomach was in knots when it rang. ‘This is it.’ I headed out the door of the library and felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Hey. Where were you in there? Belinda and I were trying to get your attention the entire time?”
“Oh, hey Trace. Sorry about that. I didn’t really sleep last night.”
“Landon, where are you going?” Belinda asked. “The lunch room is this way,” she pointed down the hall in the opposite direction that I was going.
“Yeah…you guys go ahead. I’ve got to go to my locker first.”
‘You’re stalling Landon. Yeah, I know.’ When I got to my locker I dropped my books off and took off the long sleeve shirt I had on and replaced it with the shirt my mother ironed for me earlier that morning. ‘Button it. No. that looks stupid. Unbutton it. Okay. Lets go.’
“Hey man. What’s up?”
“You wanna grab something to eat?”
“Nah. I’m not really hungry today.” I didn’t really want them to be in the lunchroom today. I needed to talk to Jamie alone, without any interruptions from any of them.
We stood by the lockers for a while and eventually Belinda and Tracy joined us. They stood there making fun of everyone that passed by. Eric kept making lewd comments about all the girls that passed, and Dean…well… Dean was being Dean. I looked around at them and wondered if I was ever as bad as them, knowing deep down inside that I was worse. ‘Time to make a change Landon.’
“Hey guys. I gotta go.”
“Where you going?”
‘To change my life for the better.’
I chose to ignore Dean’s question and said, “See ya later.” I walked down the hall and felt the beat of my heart increase within my chest with every step I took towards the lunchroom, towards lunch table seven, towards Jamie.