This week, I found myself thinking about my times in high school. It was the best of times and the worst of times, if I’m being honest. However, today’s story titled “You Smell Like Apples” is about one of the best of times that I had at high school. It’s a story about taking a risk, having fun, honoring your word, getting out of your comfort zone and being rewarded.
It was 10th grade, and I was having lunch with my friends Luke and Malik. Luke and I were in the same grade, and he was relatively new to the school. Malik was a grade below us, and he was a fun, outgoing person to be around. Anyways, we were seated at this long table with 5-7 other people next to us. They were in the same grade as Luke and I, and we would at times talk to them every now and then. Well, one of the people at the long table with my friends and I was this girl named Karen. I was good friends with Karen, and we actually had a few classes together. However, Malik had a crush on her. He would get nervous and blush a little every time she talked with us. Also, every time that she looked at him, he would just give this nervous smile and be very quiet. He just wasn’t his normal self when he was around Karen. It was the most adorable, funny thing to me and Luke, and we knew that we had to do something about it. We just needed the opportunity. Luckily, the opportunity presented itself.
Malik started talking about the Homecoming Dance and asked if Luke and I were trying to go to it. Luke was planning on it, but I wasn’t trying to go to the dance. Then, I asked Malik who he was trying to go with, and he replied that he wasn’t sure. I smiled and looked at Luke, and he had no idea why I was smiling at him. I motioned at Malik, then subtly at Karen, and he immediately got it. Luke started smiling too, then I said, “You know, Malik, you should ask Karen if she wants to go to Homecoming with you.”
Malik had this horrified look on his face, and he just didn’t know what to say. Luke added, “Yeah bro, why not? Don’t you like her?”
Malik said, “I do, but she’s gonna say no to me.”
“Now, how do you know that she’s gonna say ‘no.’ She might say ‘yes’ to you. She might be dying for you to say something to her, but you don’t know because you scared,” I stated.
We all laughed at my comment, and Malik said, “It’s not that I’m scared, but I’m just being realistic. I just know that she’s gonna say ‘no’ to me because I’m a freshman and I’m too short for her.”
“Oh my gosh, you act like she’s a foot taller than you. She’s only two or three inches taller than you, bro, it’s not that deep, ” Luke explained.
Malik just shook his head and said, “Guys, inches matter to a girl. Size does matter.”
Luke and I started shaking our heads and giggling. Then, I said, “Look, whether you’re big or small, size doesn’t matter to a girl that much. It’s not that deep for some girls, and I don’t think it’s that deep for Karen. You should just really ask her to Homecoming.”
Malik shook his head, chuckled and responded, “You know what? Why am I the only one being pressured to do something foolish? Why don’t one of you two do something equally, if not more foolish?”
Luke was about to object, but I quickly stopped him. I responded, “Ok that’s fair. I’ll do something foolish, name it.”
Malik said alright and started thinking about what he wanted me to do. Then, he looked around and saw this table full of senior girls. He smiled and said, “Alright, Isaiah. You have to go over there and ask one of those senior girls if they want to go to Homecoming with you.”
I immediately objected because I wasn’t planning on going to Homecoming, but Malik didn’t want to hear it. Malik told me again to ask one of the senior girls to Homecoming, then he would ask Karen to Homecoming, but I refused. He smiled and said, “Well, I guess I’m not about to be foolish, then if you can’t ask a senior to Homecoming.”
Malik thought he had won, but it was not over yet. Instead, I offered a new proposal. I said, “Ok wait. What if I did something else, instead?”
“What did you have in mind?” Malik asked.
“Well, how about I go up to any senior girl of your choosing and whisper a random compliment to her,” I said.
Luke found it interesting, and Malik asked me what random compliment I would say to her. It took me a minute, but then I remember that I was watching something interesting yesterday. I was watching Jimmy Neutron, and it was the episode where Jimmy created a little brother robot. In one scene, I remember the robot smelled Cindy and said that she smelled like apples. Cindy found it to be sweet, but to me it was the most random compliment I’ve ever heard because apples technically don’t have a distinct smell. I mean, they smell nice, but it’s not that sweet or anything. I felt like the robot could’ve said something a little more sweeter than apples. It was just lame to me. However, I knew what I had to say.
I looked at Malik and said, “Alright, I know what I’m going to say. I’m gonna walk up to any senior girl you choose, get close to her, sniff her, say ‘you smell like apples’ to her and walk away.”
Luke and Malik started laughing for a good minute, and Malik responded, “Alright, if you actually have the balls to say that, then I will ask Karen to Homecoming before lunch is over.”
I asked him if he promised, and he swore to me he would. We shook on it, and Malik in two minutes picked the girl he wanted me to say “you smell like apples” to. I saw her, and she was two tables across from us. She was really pretty, and I had no idea who she was. She was a complete stranger to me. Eventually, this complete stranger and I would later have a general art class together in February and talk about what I was about to do to her, but that’s another story. A funny, cool story that would result in us being good friends with one another. However, in this moment, I was about to confuse her so much in ways that she never expected.
Anyways, Malik thinks that I’m gonna take five-ten minutes contemplating if I actually want to do this. He thinks that I’m gonna chicken out. Quite the opposite. I quickly got up in seconds and slowly started making my way to the senior girl Malik had selected.
I wasn’t thinking or anything. I just knew that I had a mission to fulfill. A risky mission that would result to a high reward with Malik asking Karen to Homecoming. A few seconds later, I made it to the senior girl’s table. I had multiple eyeballs glued on me, but I didn’t care. I was focused on my target. I got behind the senior girl and bent down to her level. Then, I deeply inhaled her scent, and it was intoxicating. She smelled like roses with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. It was an interesting combination of smells that made me want to smell her some more, but I quickly remembered that I was on a mission. I resisted the beautiful, tempting scent of the senior girl, exhaled, got a little close to her, looked in her eyes and whispered, “You smell like apples.”
After I said what I need to say, I quickly escaped and heard a “what in the world” from her. Then, I heard some laughter at their table, as I made it back to my table. When I made it back, Luke and Malik had their mouths wide opened. They couldn’t believe that I actually went through with it. They were stunned. I nodded my head, looked at Malik and said, “Alright, it’s your turn now.”
There was only fifteen minutes left in lunch, but Malik was struggling. He was all scared and nervous, and he was asking if he really had to ask Karen to Homecoming. I replied, “Oh you better. You better honor your word and ask that girl to Homecoming. I didn’t make a fool of myself for nothing. You have to honor your word.”
Luke agreed with me, and we all started laughing with each other. Luke and I just kept telling him to do it, and he was really struggling to make his way to Karen.
Eventually, there was a minute left in lunch. I said, “Time’s almost up. It’s now or never.”
Malik finally yelled for Karen’s name down at the table and asked if he could talk to her. Karen came over to him, but a teacher dismissed us from lunch. Luke and I left, and Karen and Malik were alone together.
Luke and I waited for Malik to come out of the cafeteria to see what happened. He eventually came out, and we begged him to tell us what she said to him. He replied that she said ‘no’ to him, but she was very sweet about it. Luke and I started laughing, and Malik started laughing with us. “I can’t believe you guys. I told you guys that she was going to say ‘no’ to me. And you both knew it too,” Malik laughed.
“Well, you can never be sure of anything. At least now you know for sure,” I said.
We all started laughing with each other, and Malik said that he was honestly glad that he asked Karen to Homecoming. It felt good, and it was huge load off his chest.
We continued laughing, but then we went our separate ways to our classes.
It’s crazy that both Malik and I made fools of ourselves, probably me more than him. To this day, I don’t know why I did such a crazy, foolish thing in high school, but I’m glad I did it. I can look back and laugh about it, and that’s rewarding to me. I’m truly thankful for that moment that I told a senior girl “you smell like apples.”
Thank you for reading “You Smell Like Apples. Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.
On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “My Dark Side.”