For the past 18 years of my existence, I had not known anyone that liked the same music I did. As a very pretentious teenager, I only wanted to emotionally connect to someone that listened to the same artists I did, because obviously someone who had both Beyoncé and System of Down in one playlist was the coolest person to ever exist.
Before enrolling into college, my sister invited me to check the campus out, which was really just a tour of the pubs around the area. When an Indian goes to college, the second important factor after scouting how many Indians I’d have to share the space with is where I could go to drink after class. She brought me to this pub that served beer priced at RM1 and it was where all her classmates were at — surprise, surprise — and among all the roses was a thorn wearing one of my favourite band’s t-shirt, which as anyone would expect, caught my attention. We didn’t talk for very long but my sister was certain I’d like him because he was very much like me.
I started classes months after bumping into him and didn’t think I’d ever have the chance to sit with him to have a conversation ‘cos he was the popular kid. He was always standing in a group that consisted of no less than 7 people at any given time, whereas I was a nobody. One day I was at a café and he’d just walked in. I smiled because it would’ve been a tad bit creepy to just stare at him, right? He smiled back and came over to talk to me.
I reacted in a similar fashion as every protagonist ever created in a cheesy-romantic-comedy did: sweaty palms, heart beat going faster than Usain Bolt’s running speed and a smile so wide you’d think I had one pint too many. Only, I was completely sober.
Nobody could get a word in while the two of us talked. No matter how random the topic was, we’d break it down as if we were experts in the field and believe me, we’d dissect anything. I remember having a two-hour long conversation with him about the existence of aliens because the truth is out there and the government is obviously keeping it away from us for their own benefits. Who could resist conspiracy theories? Not us, that’s for sure.
I put him on a pedestal from the first time I met him because he was funny, crazy intelligent and we had a lot of things in common. What could’ve gone wrong, right? Plus he played the guitar and could sing/scream like Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall, so it was guaranteed satisfaction in both clean and dirty aspects of a non-platonic relationship.
He was very popular among girls and my sister warned me that he was entangled in a few scandals that no person could save him from. Most of it were self-inflicted, but as the closet hopeless romantic that I am, I wanted to try my luck. Looking back at my attempts of being a life-coach makes me roll my eyes so far back that it could pop out of my sockets at anytime but “it’s all a learning process,” I say to comfort myself.
One day my sister came back from a night out drinking with this particular group. She said that he talked about me throughout the night but instead of elaborating on that crucial point she began expressing how uncomfortable the situation made her feel because she’s the [over]protective older sister and didn’t want to know how someone felt about her sister. When she finally paid attention to my facial expression which basically translated to “if you don’t tell me what I want to know now, you will wake up eyebrow-less tomorrow,” and disclosed what he had said.
“He called you his dream girl and said that he would love to be with you when he was ready for such a commitment. But ultimately when he felt like he was good enough for you,” she said. Now, as an insecure 18-year-old who had never experienced what it felt like to have the guy I was interested in to have mutual feelings for me and to say that I was his “dream girl” well, that feeling is best described in two words, “fuck yes!”
When I saw my best friend the next day, I brought her up to speed with this new information. She being my ride or die was as ecstatic as I was about the situation. Just before the two of us started squealing about the “what ifs” and “imagine ifs”, we saw him sitting at the mamak with his friends. We composed ourselves faster than someone tryin’ to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” because we were going to walk past him to get to our classroom. He stopped us to say hi, and two of us were doing our best impersonation of normal human beings, so we said hi and smiled back.
I noticed that he wasn’t smoking while all his friends were and asked he if was going to quit — because that was something he’d been talking about for a while — and he said he was trying to, which another friend responded to by asking “which girl are you trying to impress now?” He looked directly at me and said, “We’ll find out.”
#2 of Karat Romance will be published in December. Read more ramblings from this writer here.