In The Name Of
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About a month before my freshman year of high school, I was invited
to join the school's marching band. There was a two-week practice
session before the school year was going to start. It's the same
concept as summer football practice. So we were to have practice for
two weeks, enjoy one last week of summer, and then start the school
I lived with my cousin at the time, whom was a cheerleader for our
school. What I'd learned from most of her friends about my new
school, was that there were plenty of beautiful people, and I was
about to embark on a social journey unparalleled anywhere else in my
life. I was finally facing the fact that I was growing up, and
becoming closer to an adult.
Well, on the second day of practice, we were supposed to meet on
Tuesdays at night to practice on the actual stadium field. It was a
weekly ritual that soon became one of the most significant memories
of my high school life.
As I walked along the side of the theater toward the band room where
we were supposed to meet, a car slowed to my pace, and followed from
a few feet behind me. In most areas this isn't anything of any
worry, but where I'm from my reaction could have meant the difference
between life and death.
I sped my walking, but didn't break into a running stride. I didn't
know who was in the car, but I did know that there were people that
wouldn't mind seeing harm come my way. Not because of anything I'd
done, but because I was part of a family that was well recognized in
our large but seemingly small town.
As I rounded the corner at the parking lot, the car sped off, but
swerved around to face me before screeching it's tires and sliding
into a parking space. I knew I couldn't escape even if I wanted to,
and the curiosity had me planted in my place. I had to know who was
in that car, and why they were fooling with me.
I was relieved to see a young, beautiful girl step out of the driver
seat, but as I started to think, I was even more intrigued than
before. I stood in front of the door, waiting for her to get closer
so I could ask her why she'd did that.
She was giggling when she got close enough for me to read her face,
and blew it off saying, "I was just messing with you."
Her name I found out later that night was Angie Rivera. She was a
flag twirler in the marching band. She was also a senior, and not
only did she have a boyfriend, but he was also best friends with an
older kid that lived right across the street from me. I immediately
blew it off to a little freshman hazing. That was until school
Band was the last class of the day, but being that I had absolutely
no friends at my new school, I hung out with the kids I'd met over
the summer, in our two weeks of practice. Every morning Angie would
come into the band room, and put her stuff in her locker, or get
books for her first class. Every morning I'd say, "hi," and try to
figure out what it was I thought was so compelling about her.
One day, out of the blue, after band practice she came up and started
talking to me. It was mostly small talk, but to me it was the single
most intriguing conversation I'd ever had. It was getting late, and
missed the ride home I'd planned to get with my cousin. Angie, who'd
noticed she and I were the only two left at school, offered to give
me a ride home.
As I rode home in her Fierro, I felt somehow older than ever before.
I'd never gone to school with anyone old enough to drive, and I'd
certainly never expected to be hanging out with a beautiful popular
girl like Angie.
Over the course of a few weeks, we started talking more and more. I
remember talking to her on the phone, because it was the first time
I'd ever talked to a girl without planning a group assignment for a
As the seasoned changed, and Halloween came near, one of the clubs at
our school planned a "Progressive Party." It's a party that starts
with orderves at one house, and moves to another house for dinner,
and another for desert, and finally the last house just to party and
dance. It was a symbol of freedom to go to an event like this as a
freshman because you had to be able to get from one party to
I didn't even plan to go because I had no way of getting from one
party to the next short of having my mom drive me, which would have
been social suicide. One day after class Angie approached me, which
had become slightly less intimidating, but all the same it made me
nervous. She invited me to join her at the party, but I declined
trying not to make it obvious that I wouldn't be able to get from one
house to the next. I don't know if she picked up on that, or if she
planned to ask me to go with her, but she welcomed me to ride with
I was shocked. Her car was a two seater, and I was sure she'd want
to go with her friends. Not to mention the fact that she still had a
boyfriend. I accepted none the less, and was probably as excited as
I'd ever been.
I remember getting dressed and waiting for her to pick me up. As her
car pulled up, I met her outside, and we started in a fast paced
Progressive Party. She'd dressed up like a cheerleader, and I was a
basketball player. Neither were really costumes as I'd played for
the last three years, and she was a cheerleader in her freshman
One of my most solid memories to this day, was what she said right as
we pulled in fronf of my house. She looked at me, after our night
together, and said, "I wish I could kiss you." She went on to tell
me how much she liked me, but felt guilty because at the same time
she still care deeply about her boyfriend.
We shared the next few weeks together, until suddenly things went
One Tuesday, early in November, as practice had come to an end, the
saxophone section that I was part of decided to stay after class to
work on our part in upcoming field show. It wasn't out of the
ordinary, and we'd actually gotten used to it by this time.
After our session, as we began to pack up our instruments and gather
our coats, I overheard two of the guys in my section talking and
laughing about Angie. I never got to hear what it was they were
saying, because when they noticed me they got very quiet. It was
well known that her and I were close friends. There was nothing I
could do to stop them from talking about her, so I decided just to
let her know.
When I got home, I called her, and told her what I'd overheard. I
thought I was being a good friend to her by letting her know why her
ear would ring in the middle of the afternoon. She couldn't talk
long, cause we had practice that night, and the flag twirlers were
supposed to practice prior to the entire band arriving.
When I arrived at school, it was obvious that I'd let her know
exactly what I'd overheard, because the two guys that were talking
about her avoided me, and she was still busy with her practice. It
was a very awkward feeling, and as much as I thought I'd done the
right thing, I felt horrible about betraying someones trust. Even
though they didn't expect me to hear, It wasn't entirely my place to
invade their conversation and talk about it.
Practice started rather abruptly, and Angie and I never really got a
chance to talk. At our first break, she walked up to me, and like
every time before I got a wheezy feeling in my stomach. She told me
she'd had a chance to talk to the two guys, but they denied talking
about her. She accused me of lying, and walked away. I was too
stunned to follow her, or beg or plea she listen to me.
I let her go, and I've spent the rest of life trying to get her
back. When I was with her it was the first tim ein my life I'd felt
like I fit in, like I had a place and others welcomed me into it.
Never since then have I felt the same way again. Ever since that
say, I've been chasing Angie.