Short story: Memories created from 50 Cent's single, "Best Friend"Winter, 2005: I was in 7th grade. It was a year prior to me having an iPod or any sort of MP3 device; CD players would serve their purpose for the final time. That was a frigid year in Maryland. No up-and-down weather like we have now—sharing many personalities; the seasons told no lies as the winds told many truths. It was my first year being around a new group of kids. I didn’t grow up in that area. Being socially awkward didn’t help matters none. Shit, playing basketball barely helped at all. I rode the middle of the bench during my first middle-school year. It was embarrassing and so were some of my clothes. I would wear my step brother’s North Face wind breaker for a bulk of that year. I remember study hall on the first floor library. For over 3 hours we would sit in there and not study a damn thing. Instead, we cracked jokes. My North Face became a joke amongst many laughs; the jacket read “he Nor Face.” A few letters were absent on the print, but the jacket looked nice on me, so I thought.

My book bag was filled with 4 disc, consistently that year. How could I walk out the house without Tha Carter 2 (Lil Wayne, 2005, enough said.), Juelz Santana’s What The Game’s Been Missing and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ Soundtrack. All three became clutch in my rotation. It wasn’t as if I was getting focused for any playing time in the games. It didn’t take too much effort to sit at the end of a bench and pass the water to the star players.

I had a crush on a girl who was one grade older than me. Her name slips my mind, but her face doesn’t. Brown skin, hair slicked back into a pony tail, pink lip-gloss that bounced off of the library’s florescent-toned lighting. I was only an observer in her museum of physical offering. I could care less about how deep she was mentally at the time; infatuation grew only from her beauty. I didn’t know any better. She was a cheerleader and study hall was shared with them all; distracting to say the least. Sadly, the reality was—I didn’t know her. We never spoke and rarely made eye contact. Somehow, the thought of not knowing whether we could or could not be together, became my favorite part of the situation. I could fantasize about us being together and turn the handle on a door that led to endless possibilities. Because I’ll tell you guys this, there was no possibilities of getting with this girl. First of all, I was heavy into G-Unit, so you already know I had the sneakers with the shirt to match; stunt 101 on my classmates, so I thought once again. If you didn’t have Nike Boots, you failed your wardrobe. Second, she had a boyfriend already and he was popular. His popularity had nothing to do with anything, but still, I envied popularity at that age.

I would go home many evening, turn on my stereo and play 50 Cent’s “Best Friend” track. Considering the popularity of Go-Go and UCB’s “Sexy Lady” at the time, this wasn’t favored by peers, if they knew. Grabbing a marker, I’d use it as a microphone and pretend as if I karaoke’d the lyrics to her:

If I was your best friend, I want you ’round all the time (I want you ’round me all the time)
Can I be your best friend, if you promise you’ll be mine (Girl promise you’ll be mine)
Please say he’s just a friend (Uh huh) now girl let’s not pretend (Come on)
Either he is or he ain’t your man (Ha Ha!) please say he’s just a friend

Homework should have been done during these times, but I was rehearsing for a moment that would ultimately never happen, so I thought. When I think back to those moments, I was way too young to have truly experienced anything the lyrics captured. “With your legs way back I say ‘this pussy is mine.” Yeah—wasn’t there yet.

These were questions that I never had the balls enough to say to her, but in due time, 2017, I would have the balls to tell a different girl I’m currently crushing on now—to let her know how I feel about her. Divine it was and lovely it is.

Finally, the moment. My confidence since over a decade ago has increased and so has everything else. I truly “glo’d” up and not just with age. Leave the present how it is, I put this song on a playlist for her and this song stood out to her the most. I digress on why this song stood out to her, but I couldn’t help but recall when I was all-too shy to even tell a girl I was crushing on how I felt. Now, here we are: the 50 Cent track still carries weight that will last forever and it will always be a favorite of mine. As I listen to this track with her facing me—brown eyes, skin glowing and a smile that drives me insane, I never want to hold that feeling back. Fantasies in 7th grade were awesome, but my reality proves to be the victor. Go and get it, go and get her. That shot not taken in 2005 might not have been an opportunity missed, but it was a shot I successfully took with another, 12 years later and 12 years greater. Instead of a rose, I’ll read her something special I wrote.