The Beginning

Spring 1991

I trudged down the darkened hallway, filled with adolescents on all sides of me, rows of lockers up against the walls and a couple of feet of airspace between our heads and the ceiling where the overhead glow of florescent lights served as the main means of lighting inside the corridor, except for the rectangular flash of light every twenty feet or so from the window in a classroom door. I neared my best friend, Kelly’s locker, and I arced closer to her side of the hallway so I could shout out to her as I walked past. The crowd began to thin as I reached the end of the hall where Kelly was leaning into her locker grabbing her books and stuffing them into her book bag at her feet.

“Goodbye Kelly”, I called out, as I continued to walk past on my way to catch the bus home.

“Goodbye Amber,” my heart skipped a beat as the cute boy beside Kelly looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and called out to me as I walked past Kelly’s locker. I almost tripped I was so startled and almost hadn’t heard Kelly call out my name before he had. How else would he have known my name, since I had never seen this boy, who was obviously standing and talking to Kelly. I later found out his name was Mark. He was a Freshman on the swim team whom she had met while she was at dive practice. I was so envious when the two of them started dating. I wished I would meet such a handsome, charming guy who would be interested in me.

I also felt like a horrible friend just for feeling any bit of jealousy. I was happy for my friend in her relationship with Mark. He was funny and attentive to her and of course I wanted my friend to be happy. I was so confused when Kelly told me that she had accepted a date with another guy, an upperclassman, while she was dating Mark. I couldn’t understand why she would be un-faithful, but I had never had a boyfriend, never been on a date and had no idea what it was even like to be in the dating world. And, I remained loyal to my friend and didn’t tell Mark that Kelly had cheated on him. I just silently wished that he would have noticed me. Their relationship lasted only two weeks, but they remained friends.

The end of the school year was near and I had been focusing most of my attention on a Summer program at the University of California at Berkeley where I would study Architecture even though I still had one more year of High School to complete. I wouldn’t receive any college credits, but it would help me to feel confident that I was ready to leave home for college and that Architecture was indeed the course of study I wanted to direct myself towards, as I had been dreaming since I was 13 years old.