New Year

Shannon McCleskey was the first love in my life. It was in middle school in our debate class. She was a grade above me but we still found ourselves in the same “elective classes”. From time to time we ate lunch together and we were friends. It was a bit awkward for her since associating with an underclassman was a middle school social shame and being that I wasn’t on the football team didn’t help either. I never really had the guts to tell her how I felt about her back then… I was so freaking shy and if she had not smiled at me that first day of class…. I don’t know.

Then when I graduate into high school and she is one of the first people I looked for. I found that she joined something called ROTC and I just had to be in it. I managed to talk my school consular into changing my elective classes around so I could be in ROTC with her [not in the same class but still]. From there our friendship flourished as it provided a great venue for us to interact. We went camping together as well as vacations [Padre Island several times]. We also attended competitions together for our saber team drills. Later on she pulled some strings to get me into the command council of our ROTC unit, which did wonders for my own personal skill set.

However things never turned romantic. Not for a lack of wanting it but more so a lack of timing and a huge weak spine. I was still too shy to ask her out, even after five years of being friends. And when she perused me I was in a relationship and had some strange sense of honor to stay in it [It’s high school for crying out loud].

It wasn’t until my senor year I told her how I honestly felt about her.I had written a letter a year before telling myself all the things I really enjoyed about her. I saved it and gave it to her during her freshman year in college. She was engaged by then but she told me she felt the exact same way about me. Despite her commitment we finally had our chance to share how we felt about each other.

I think about her fondly from time to time. I miss her greatly. You see….about two weeks later she reached for something in her car, lost control and hit a tree. She died at the scene of the accident.

I learned that it is NOT ok to NOT tell someone how you feel about them. That you should ALWAYS pursue your goals. Do NOT hold back because it makes you feel awkward. If you are holding back on something because it makes you feel weird…then that is NOT ok and you need to pursue it.

Nothing will bring her back but telling you might help you avoid losing something forever. In this New Year find your “Shannon McCleskey” and “ask her out”.


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