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*Sigh* It really hurts. I can’t tell whether or not he really likes me. He seems to like her… They seem way too close to be just coworkers. I’ve seen them hug before as well as I’ve seen them rush to the back by themselves.
Wait a minute, he does that with a lot of girls... except me… He goes on break with them quite often. I’ve only been on break with him once. It’s... better than nothing, right? At least I got to talk to him once…
... Ugh, it’s just not fair!
All the other girls at work get to have fun with him all they want, and here I am, socially awkward as heck, too scared to even approach the guy... and for what?! I’m only hurting myself more if I don’t take the initiative…
... Who am I kidding? He’s already so busy with other women. Why should I even try my luck with him? He might be taken. As for me, none of my relationships lasted until marriage, as if I’d get anywhere with this one.
What a fool I was, to think he really had feelings for me. I heard him say I was ugly to one of the other coworkers. Now I hate looking at myself in the mirror. I mean, I’m not THAT bad, right? I may not be attractive, but I’m at least cute, right? Right?
... There are plenty of girls cuter than me at work. As a matter of fact, all of them are. The only exceptions are the elderly managers. That may sound like a good thing, but there are only three elderly women that work there. All the rest are young and pretty; and I can tell ya, there’s a lot more of the young and pretty than the elderly. I may be young, but I’m not pretty. Why do you think my profile picture isn't my actual face?
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t look good in regular clothes. I have to wear a dress and make up to feel pretty. Anything else makes me look terrible. The work uniform makes me look hideous. I’ve tried wearing makeup with the uniform, but red lipstick doesn’t go well with it.
I’m so ugly. He'd never bat an eye towards me.
No, I’m just sad because he’ll never return the feelings I have for him no matter what I do.
I’m sure I’ll eventually move on, but…
... Look at me trying so damn hard to be positive about this.
Maybe it’s about time I blow this joint. I’m only there for him anyway—it's not so much about the pay anymore at this rate. They pay well, but they’ve been cutting my hours lately, and the wage means nothing if I’m not getting enough hours. It’s about time I leave them now. Though I don’t wanna leave him behind, I haven’t got a choice anymore. I feel like more than half of the staff hates me since I’ve taken my jealousy out on them on multiple occasions. I know I should’ve at least directed it towards the source of it, but I didn’t want to make him dislike me...
Why? After all I’ve done for him... I’ve tried so hard to be nice... tried so hard to be sweet... tried so hard to let him know subtly that I like him… and he goes off and plays with other girls.
He’s offered to help me out with something work-related once, but wasn’t able to. He’s called my name once, but with a disgusted look on his face. I hope his sour expression was really just nervousness out of a mutual crush.
You see, one time he seemed like he was just making an excuse to be near me. We were both cleaning the kitchen. I was doing dishes. He was cleaning the grills, fryers, and the like. He came up to me with a handful of small metal rods. (But don't get the wrong idea.)
The point is, they didn’t even look dirty. He asked me to rinse them off. Me being socially awkward, I just grabbed the hose and squeezed the lever that activates the water flow. He went along with it and ran the rods under the water.
Him standing so close to me surely gave me butterflies. Luckily, I was able to control my adrenaline to the point where I could only feel the butterflies in my mind, and not in my gut. I thought I was uncomfortable, but I was kind of enjoying the discomfort, if that’s possible.
After a few seconds of running the rods under the water, I thought to myself, “Okay, I think that’s enough. These things aren’t even dirty.” But an opposing thought said, “No, keep him here! I want him to touch me! Not the dirty way, but... I just... want him to... accidentally... brush up... against me…”
I had every opportunity to make my move and “accidentally” brush up against him, but I chose not to. I will keep a distance from him and myself in order to not make him uncomfortable.
This is the part where his voice took a dip. About 15 seconds into rinsing the rods, he says in a tone deeper than his default, “There. Now they’re nice and spotless, right?”
Arturo behind me disagreed. I, on the other hand, didn’t exactly want to make any kind of remark as I wasn’t paying much attention to the rods. I was paying more attention to his hands, even though they were clad in blue work gloves.
Another time he seemed like he wanted to be close to me happened on the same day. He had pulled out one of the “baking sheets” from the grill to clean. He came back to the sink and warned us not to touch the burning hot sheet. I wanted to make a response to him as I merely wanted to talk to him, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. It took me a while to come up with “Just don’t burn anyone,” and, come to think of it, I sounded a bit aggressive saying it. I probably came off as the biggest jerk to him... My social skills are so poor…
... But here’s the best part: he clearly wanted to stay back there as he wanted to wash it back there. However, one of the managers was telling him otherwise. There was a cleaning board he needed to use and he wasn’t supposed to be cleaning it back there with the other dishes. They argued about it for a while, and I didn’t like what was going on; me having feelings for my coworker, I wanted to defend him, even if it meant losing my job.
“Just let it go!” I told the manager.
“Excuse me?” he retaliated.
“Let it go! As long as it gets clean somehow, then he’s fine where he is!”
“What, you wanna clean it for him?”
“Well, if he wants me to, I’ll do it…”
... As the confrontation came to closure, I saw my coworker silently succumb to the manager's demands. Something told me he didn’t want me to lose my job; he didn’t want to lose me... or maybe he’s just sick of me defending him.
Still though. I can’t help but feel like he’s trying to make me jealous, and I’m letting him win... At any rate, he doesn’t really talk to me that much, though his voice took a dip when he got near me. That means nothing now if he’s messing around with other girls. I wonder if he’s a player.
That seems unlikely though. I overheard him talk about a girlfriend that cheated on him. He was so heartbroken, he had to hug another coworker out of consolation… He wouldn’t have hugged me since I was new on the job at the time.
Maybe he’s just friends with all the girls he “plays” with? Then again, what makes me think he actually liked me in the beginning? Talk about delusions...
... I highly doubt he’s reading this, but I'll indirectly tell him this: I'm sorry for being so blind. Whether you felt for me or not, I was blind either way. I couldn’t tell what you had for me and I was too afraid to come clean with you for fear of hearing, “I like you as a friend…”
Being friend zoned isn’t as bad as being rejected entirely, but still. I feel like I’ve done a lot for him somehow, and it isn’t enough payment in kind to friend zone me.
Why... why... why do I have the hormones of a freaking 12-year-old? The moment I even begin to have feelings for a guy, I can’t keep them from growing no matter what I do. The only escape is literal. I have to leave every place I see him.
I’ve tried so many times to pay him no mind at work. But that didn’t stop my feelings from growing. I’ve even gone as far as overdosing my medicine to keep my attention span off of him! Now the pills have really taken their toll on me. Now I can’t focus on anything without a huge amount of it!
Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve met him at the workplace. With the fact that I’ve met him at work in my legal adulthood, it probably creates the delusion that he’s my future husband.
Regardless of all the times I’ve tried to remind myself that he’s out of my league... no matter how many times I try to shut out all the pointless delusions... they just... won’t... leave me... alone! I want so badly to think that he likes me back that my mind is playing tricks on me! The “signals” he sends me probably aren’t even signals at all. I’m probably just imagining things…
... It’s a good thing I’m planning on blowing that joint soon. Even though it hurts to leave the cadet behind, I know I’ll eventually be free from this curse. I’ll miss him for a while, but I know it won’t be forever. It feels like I love him, but it’s not real love if it’s unrequited.
If he really had feelings for me, I'd hoped he'd come clean to me. There was no way I’d come clean to him. I was too afraid to creep him out... I mean, our age difference isn’t as drastic as I make it seem, but it’s still not legal for me to date a minor. I was 19 and in college. He was only a Junior in High School... We could've been friends for a few years until he was old enough to be with me (if he ever liked me back). It’d give us some time to really get to know each other… or, if he didn’t like me, maybe if I get friend zoned, he'd get to know me, and he’d grow to like me the way I wanted him to...
*Enter Romantic Fantasy*
Him: Um... Cadence?
Him: Can I...um...talk to you in the crew room for a few minutes?
Me: Um... Okay... What is it?
Him: Let’s get to the crew room first.
*in the crew room*
Him: There’s something I wanted to tell you.
Me: And that is?
Him: *sweats a little* It’s uh... kinda serious…
Me: ... What’s... the matter? Did... did I do... something... wrong?
Him: Oh, no no, it’s not that. I just... it’s hard for me to say because I’m afraid of how you’ll react.
Me: Is it something bad?
Him: ... Well, that really depends on you.
Me: Oh... jeez... okay then... well... what is it then?
Him: I... uh…
Him: I... kinda... have... a... crush... on you…
Me: Wait, what?
Him: I... have... feelings... for you…
Me: Man, be out with it already! Speak up!
Him: I have feelings for you!
*The silence seems to last for hours.*
Him: I... I understand if... you have a boyfriend, and I totally respect that. I don’t mind just being friends! It’s better than nothing! Your boyfriend’s a really lucky guy to have a girl like--
Me: *hushes him* ... I don’t have a boyfriend.
Him: Wait... you’re single? But I thought you’re in college?
Me: I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m with anyone.
Him: Well... it’s just that most of the girls here have boyfriends. You being one of the oldest, it seems unlikely you’d be single… and you’re really cute, and—
Me: How? I’m not that pretty, and I’m a bit overweight…
Him: Well, you’re a bit chubby, but I think that’s cute about you.
Him: Yeah. And you’re wrong about not being that pretty. You’re... you’re beautiful, Kate. I fell in love with you just by looking at you on your first day here! I was so awkward about it... I just... I was instantly drawn to you especially because you’ve got this aura...
Him: Yeah. I didn’t really think it through when I walked up to you.
Me: I had a feeling there was something about you.
Him: It was that obvious, wasn’t it?
Me: Not exactly. I’ve just got strong intuition.
Him: Oh, really? That’s amazing!
Me: Oh come now, you’re making me blush…
Him: Oh wait, there’s something else I wanted to ask you. I’ve come clean with you, so now it’s your turn. Do you like me the way I like you?
Him: *thinks, “Oh no. She’s probably trying to think of the nicest way possible to say that she only likes me as a friend…!”*
Me: ... Well, the thing is…
Me: I like you back, but—
Him: YES! OH MY GOD YES! I’M SO HAPPY! *pulls me into a sweet embrace* Oh, what can we do together? Do you wanna go see a movie sometime? Wanna come home with me sometime? I’ve got video games! You’re a gamer right? Oh, maybe we can—
Me: Wait, hold on! I like you back, but this could be a problem!
Him: Problem? How?
Me: What if work finds out about this?
Him: Oh, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. It doesn’t really say anything in the company policy about workplace romance…
Me: No, it’s not just that. You realize I’m in college, right?
Him: Yeah, so?
Me: We might get in trouble with the law if we date.
Him: Oh... oh, Cadence…
Me: ... I... I’m sorry... I really wanna be with you too, but…
Him: ... Do you really think I care what the law says about us?
Me: Wait, really?
Him: They don’t have to know we’re together. As a matter of fact, no one has to know. It’s just between you and me after all.
Me: But... they’re gonna find out eventually.
Him: We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Me: I’m thinking we can just remain in contact, and that’ll be enough to keep us together...We can make plans to see each other… Oh, but then it depends on what happens when we’re discovered…
Him: Like I said. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Let’s just enjoy the moment.
*The two of us kiss, then resume our roles at work, trying to spend as much time close to each other as possible without making it obvious that we’re officially a thing now.*
I remember not wanting to leave after seeing this little scene in my mind. I thought to myself, "I’ll get another job for now, just so my stepdad will stop whining about how my hours have gone down. I’ll stay with McDonald’s so I can be with him, but I’ll work another job on the side so I don’t burn my stepdad’s fuse too short."
I also remember consulting myself in my head about this.
???: Oh, as if working somewhere else will make a difference.
???: You know full well no career is as great as being a musician.
Me: Well yeah, but there’s virtually no time to chase my dreams right now. Gotta work and go to school…
???: Well I’m just saying; it’ll likely be worse without him there to make you feel good.
Me: *blush* sh-shuddup! What’re you implying by “make me feel good”?!
???: You feel good just by him being around, honey. You enjoy his company.
Me: Well... yeah.
???: So why leave? Every job sucks just as much as the other.
Me: Yeah, but I can’t beg and plead for my hours back! They’ll be taken away the moment I get them back! Plus, I have to leave before my stepdad’s fuse burns out completely! By then, I’ll be kicked out!
???: Then LET him kick you out! You want to leave, don’t you?!
Me: Yeah, but I know I’m not ready yet! I barely have a full time job!
Me: ... Once I do at least get 20 hours with another job, I’ll likely have to leave McDonald’s behind. Going to school full time whilst working two part time jobs will drive me nuts.
???: *scoff* As if you weren’t already nuts... Why do you think he doesn’t like you back?
Me: Precisely! Another reason why I should leave! My feelings for him affected the way I acted at work no matter how much I tried to mitigate it with pills. Unfortunately, there’s no pill that dulls down crush feelings. At least not as far as I’ve seen.
I spent a total of six months hurting myself with that job. The job itself was already torturous, but having a crush on one of my coworkers just rubbed salt on that wound.
I've left that place behind now. I don't know if I'll ever see that little crush again, but I'm glad he's gone for now.
Maybe I'll run into him sometime down the road. Maybe not. But I know I'll be okay at any rate.