Hopelessly Out of Place
by Jerome Baquilar

March 26, 1987

I awakened. 5:30 AM showed on my cheap watch. The alarm on it had just sounded on this Friday, time for me to get ready for school. I usually take half an hour to have breakfast, and slightly less than that to get dressed and backpacked for the day's three classes at Waipahu High School.

This day was different than most, if not all. All through the morning routine I was thinking of how to ask Leilani out on a date. She seems different than most other people I see, aside from her stunning looks. I got refused every time with other girls, maybe because I'm not good looking enough, don't have a car, don't have popularity in school, don't have lots of money, whatever. I'm not like anyone else in school, or even in all of Hawaii for that matter, probably. I like hockey, lacrosse, reading Shakespeare and Asimov, watching Star Trek and British motion pictures, and hate drinking and smoking. Pretty much everything my peers don't like or aren't interested in. It's hard enough to relate to classmates, much less the girl I want to ask out. I never give up, though.

I walked out of the house. Somewhat chilly, sometimes cold enough to wear a jacket, but today's dawn rays shone strong. I took the five minute walk to the bus stop, and shortly boarded the bus. I wasn't in the mood to take the thirty minute walk to school, nor possibly have Leilani pass by me, riding with her friends to school. Not today, at least.

The bus was, as I usually see it, packed this morning. Full of grownups going to work in or around downtown Honolulu, and no schoolkids other than me. It always make me feel kind of "grownup" myself, no matter that everyone else in school drove or hitched with friends to school.

I got to school at half-past seven, early as usual, since school started at eight. I spent the time sitting on a bench, reading part of a book, which still is, "Skeleton Crew". Sometimes I sense pity from other kids passing me by. Pity me not, dear colleagues, I'd rather spend that time reading something interesting than having to speak and listen of things which aren't interesting to me!

Homeroom at eight, which was, as usual, twenty minutes of sitting down and hearing mostly meaningless school bulletin messages. Of course, I spent some of it thinking of how to approach Leilani.

First class, math. A few sample problems solved on the board, and then homework given. Surely there must be a more interesting way to teach math! Found myself daydreaming about Leilani for at least half the time.

Recess. Bought a soda, and drank it while walking to...

Second class, P.E. If only the school had an ice rink! Today it was hula dancing, it was pretty fun actually. I tried pretending that my partner, Cheryl, was Leilani. It actually made me feel more nervous about asking her out. Can't wait for field hockey to come up in the class plan, though.

Lunch hour. Had lunch for the first half (a hotdog, applesauce, milk, and I couldn't identify the rest!) and studied a bit for tomorrow's test in Social Studies the next. It was almost time, and my knees wouldn't stop knocking!

Third period, english. My favorite class, not just because it gives me my only creative outlet in school. While we were given something to work on in class, Haiku poetry, I found time to gaze at Leilani from across the classroom, as has been the norm lately. She was wearing black jeans, and a red blouse. Her hair was tied in a ponytail. She looked, as always, beautiful. Something shocked me near the end of class, though. Mrs. Anderson went up to me and said softly, "Why don't you just ask Leilani out already?" After I got over the surprise of it, I told her "I will, if I don't chicken out!" Most of the teachers in school are really cool people. Mrs. Anderson grinned, and said "Good luck, and be sure to tell me how your date went!"

2:15 PM on my watch, and the school's bell rang. School's out, and my heart's out, pumping for Leilani. I walked up to her just outside of english class. I said, "Hi". She said, "Hi". I was at a loss for words! She followed, with "Can I help you?" This was the moment of truth. I quickly blurted out, "Would you like to go out to the movies sometime with me?" She, almost instantly, responded, "Nah, I going with my friends." My heart sank, in more than one piece, once again. "You sure?" "Yeah, sorry". She just walked away, towards her friends, who were laughing at me, I think. I walked away too, but in a different direction. I walked all the way home! As usual, "draining" my energy like that makes me feel a little better. Kind of drains my sorrows too. Aside from that, a lot of thoughts run through my mind when I'm walking like that.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm trying too hard to find a girl. Or maybe I'm not trying enough. Perhaps there's some place where I would have a line of girls waiting, all wanting to go out on a date with me. Or at least where one girl, the perfect one, could appreciate me for who and what I am, without having to pretend I'm something I'm really not. I want to find that place. Or, make that place here I am. Somehow, I feel I will, crazy as it may sound. I can't be "out of place" forever!

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