What’s Your Name
By Elyssa Nicole Stoner

Some people are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them… I think someone important said that once… His or her name escapes me at the moment.
Now, my best friend, Robbie, would be the first one. We’ve known each other since grade school, where he was always picked first for all the teams and wore his hair spiked. By the time I got my mom to let me spike my hair, it was middle school and he was growing his hair long. I’ve always been one step behind him, but he’s never left me behind.
By the time high school hit, I was a self-conscious mess on the inside, but calm, cool, and collected on the outside. I was one of the most popular guys in school and my best friend was always by my side…when he wasn’t out with every girl in class.
Sometimes I’d sit in the school yard and casually watch him flirt, thinking of how confident he was and wishing I was him. His tips and tricks never seemed to work the same way for me. Maybe he’s just naturally likeable…part of the whole born-with-greatness thing. For him, girls were like moths to a flame. For me, they were like dolls in a store window.
One girl in particular caught my eye the end of Junior year and I regretted not having noticed her sooner. She was two years younger and two grades lower, but she was…different. She was beautiful with dark hair, sparkling eyes, and a wonderful smile. She didn’t seem to get caught up in the same things most of the other girls in school went crazy over. She had friends, but she seemed to be in her own little world… She seemed mature and intelligent and independent… But she was still another doll in the window that I couldn’t touch.
I never learned her name. I didn’t know who she was. And she certainly didn’t know I was alive. Most of Senior year passed and I couldn’t even talk to her, and for once it wasn’t even because of my lack of self-confidence.
The thing was, we were never in the same place at the same time. I caught glimpses of her and that was it—maybe because of the two years between us, I dunno. Because it’s not like we didn’t go to the same places, we did, but every time I got there, it was right before she left. I would turn around and there she was again, I’d blink and suddenly she was gone.
I saw her at Starbucks once just as she was walking out the door and I was still in line. Same thing happened at the movie store. Robbie and I were renting Inception and she was just leaving. Robbie told me to chase her, but I didn’t know how to not make it awkward. I saw her again at the beach, she was with her friends and I was with mine, but we had just arrived and she was loading up her car. My heart sank. Leaving again… I didn’t say anything to Robbie that time; he might’ve pushed me to stop her.
After a few more missed opportunities, I started actually trying to get together with her. But even when I was purposeful about it, she was so hard to find. I overheard her talking about how all her friends were going to hang out at the mall. I got Robbie and some of the guys to come with me. They gave me a huge pep talk and Robbie overloaded me with “important information”. We found them and I was all set and ready to make my move…and they left before I got the chance.
Despite the discouragement, I wanted her more and more. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, day and night. I was starting to lose my mind. Robbie called it “trippin”. I called it going crazy. He told me it was nothing special, she was “just that kind of girl”. But I didn’t think so. This was something real, or at least it could be if I could only get the chance to find out who she was. But I didn’t seem to ever get that chance. Robbie said I didn’t need to know her name; I could just call her “girl”. That was when I told him I wasn’t like him and I never would be. He finally took me seriously.
I gave it one last shot. Robbie and his band played a concert at the school. Everyone was going to be there. I sat backstage, while his band did sound check, and rehearsed for an hour.
“Oh hey! We go to school together—“ I smacked my forehead, Of course we do, it’s a school concert! “Um, I missed your name last time we…” Last time we what? She’s never even looked at me! Robbie said I should tell her that I was the one she needed. But that seemed conceited. “I know you don’t know me, but… I’ve just gotta let you know the way I feel… I wanna get to know you and I want you to get to know me… This may seem awkward, but I’ve gotta tell you how badly I want you…” I shook my head. I can’t say that! “There’s something…I really wanna know—“
A bang on the door and a shout let me know Robbie’s show was about to start.
“Can’t I just stay in here?” I called back.
“Yeah, no.” Robbie said.
So I sighed and walked out to mingle with the crowd as the music started.
And there she was… I went to approach her before I lost my nerve. All I need is a chance…one more opportunity to ask…that’s it… She was turning and walking away. Oh no…don’t go…away…now…please.
I held my hand out. “Wait up!”
Too late, she had disappeared into the audience. I hung my head. If you could only see…
“Woo!” I heard Robbie scream from the stage and I looked up and startled back, stumbling into someone.
“Woah, sorry!” I turned and came face-to-face with her…I froze. “Oh, uh…”
And then suddenly, the lights went dark… I couldn’t see her, she could’ve walked away by now, my chance was gone again. I groaned.
“You ok?” The lights came back up and she was still there!
All of Robbie’s advice vanished from my mind. There were only three words I wanted to ask.
“What’s your name?”
She smiled at me as Robbie ended the show by shouting, “Ladies, Goodnight!”
“Mary…”