The boy beside me….more or less

Pic credits: Google

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“Hey what’s up?”

The new guy enthusiastically asked and the whole class laughed. I for one was amazed. To come into a room full of strangers and speak was an art alien to me.I was the kind of a person who once in a fancy dress competition, ran away from the stage after standing dumb for 26 seconds. Each second was pure torture as the crowd booed and laughed on my hasty retreat.

I didn’t know what conspired in the class during the time I spaced out but for some reason the new guy was walking straight towards my seat. With the first eye contact ,I flinched my eyes and kept looking down until the point I was sure my existence ended.

“Boo!”

I was scared and shocked. Did he just boo me?. He was seated next to me. I was looking directly at him, my eyes were close to tears . I was frozen in my seat.

“Oh! I’m sorry.”

I looked away. Not because I was angry but because I was embarrassed.

“Will you look at me?”

I didn’t faze but he pulled my face towards him.

“Will you forgive me?”

I replied with what resembled a nod, I just wanted to get it over with. This conversation was getting to be too much.

“Will you smile?”

Now this was hard,but these extroverts, I tell you. He pulled both my cheeks and I smiled or rather chuckled.

This was just the beginning. For every illogical reason I had to not involve myself, he had even more illogical answers to get me involved.

I would read alone in P.E class and he would say, “Go play or that girl would get picked last, don’t be rude to her, Go play.”. And I would.

I would verse in my notepad and he would snatch it and read. He’ll always ask me,

“Why so sad, boo?”

I would read it to him sometimes and he would submit my name for speech in the assembly.

I declined, I fought with him, but he still, made me do it. He told me to look at projector lights,said it reduced his fear. Till date, after so many plays and speeches, I still look at projector lights.

He would pull my cheeks and call me boo.

I named all of this love, in search of a better word but slowly slowly I believed. And he did too, he was just more vocal about it.

I was changed, I was an extrovert now. Everyday people knowing my name increased. I liked company of people for a change. But I had fun only with him. We spent every school moment together.
One year could only include so much. That’s when I heard, he had left. His dad got transferred and he just left. I was devastated. I wanted more time with him. So I decided to wait.

Seven years later, I was still waiting. The fragments of personality that he had sparked within me now burnt as brightly as ever. I was what you called popular but being true to myself, I still read. He lived in the back of my mind and I waited .

My college time had had a great start but this popularity and attention was getting to me, and after a series of sad days I was just lying on my bed when I got a phone call,

“I need to forget you”

“huh? Who are you?”

“I need to forget you, boo”

Every second spent with him, came back to me in a flash.

“but?”

“I have a girl here, and I love her. But for all our sakes, she wants me to forget you, I still talk about you, you know”

“but..”

“Please boo!”

The call lasted 3 min 40 seconds, but nobody spoke after that.

I didn’t shed a tear. The closure he gave me was not needed, not expected in the least.

I didn’t sleep for for days altogether. But now I’m ok. He done enough for me in a lifetime. I hope I get the strength to forget him as he wants me to.

The boy beside me ..more or less loved me, and more or less stayed beside me.

 

 

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Mabel Kwong

Asian Australian. Multiculturalism

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