Love is like a flower. In its blooming days, it smiles at the sun, embraces every drop of rain, dances with the wind and blesses the environment with its graceful beauty and calming scent. Yet when it withers, it is forgotten and quickly fades away into its inevitable rot.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a hate campaign against love. I'm just expressing my feelings.
I'm Shania, I'll be 21 on the 31st of May (yes, I know I'm pretty young) and I've been a victim of love. The good love and the bad love.
Before I delve into my sweet and sour love story, I'd like you to know a few things about me. I'm a girl (obviously) but not your regular cotton-candy-soft don't-touch-me-i'll-break girl. I've had a taste of both worlds; the tough and the easy. My life is not based on just the black and white matter of fact, most times I live in the grey. I have an oddly complicated mind, and sometimes I don't even understand myself. It's like my mind is a Rubix cube based on the pascal's triangle formula (that doesn't even make sense, but that's precisely the point).
I love the simple things in life, like running bare feet under the rain and just being free and happy. I love being around people but I have a rather small square (yes square! Not circle... That's just boring) of friends; four girls I could call my soul mates (yes, not all soul mates are for romance). I guess that's all you need to know about me for now.
Now, I wasn't always anti-love. I actually fell in love more than once (like with actual humans, not chocolate. One never falls out of love with chocolate).
First time I fell in love, I was 15, he was 19. His name, Jake.
Jake was tall, fair, handsome and confident with a killer smile (I mean that literally. His smile could kill. I wonder how I survived). In one sentence, he was every girl's dream or maybe it was just me.
I would daydream about drowning in his eyes when in reality, I had not caught more than a stolen glimpse of his face (or maybe it was just a side effect of all the harlequin novels I read).
I saw Jake in church every Sunday (now that I think of it, he probably was a control freak because he sat in the same spot, on the same chair, every Sunday).....
On this blessed Sunday, the heavens smiled on me.
After church, I was walking through the doors of the church to the parking lot, my brothers had already skipped away, oblivious of the imminent grin plastered on my face from the satisfaction of seeing Jake, and the most unexpected thing happened. Jake walked up to me. I'm not sure whether it was my mind acting on its own and directing my body, perhaps both my mind and body were in on the scam. Either way, against my conscious will, my mind frenzied mind took a hold of me. I stepped backward until my back was pressed against the wall and I swear I would have diffused into the wall if I was made of gas. I just couldn't believe Jake was walking towards me with an outstretched hand and moving lips (oh his lips...). Was he talking to me? Nah, I don't think so!
My mind went on and on in the debate, the pessimist having the upper hand until...
"Are you OK?" His hand was on my shoulder, genuine concern spread all over his face.
He was talking to me!. The realization hit me like a frisbee on full spin.
"Hmmm?" was just about the only sound (I had to convince myself it was a word in itself not to feel like a complete embarrassment).
"Are you okay?" he asked again. By this time I had gained back a little consciousness and I noticed both his hands were on my shoulders and he was staring directly into my eyes (oooh his eyes...)
"I'm fine" I said under my breath, cursing my eyes for straying down to his lips again.
"Phew! You scared me half to death" he replied, his face awash with relief. Then he laughed, a short careless laugh rich with youth, yet laced with the deep throatiness that came with puberty. Boys my age didn't sound like this. It sent my head spinning in a waltz.
"Are you laughing at me?" I asked, my face the color of an overly ripe tomato.
"No, not at all. It's just... I was sure I had something to tell you when I was walking up to you but I've forgotten. I'm such a goldfish".
"Goldfish?" I asked with a small frown.
"Yes! It's a known fact that goldfish forget every two seconds. That's why it's okay to keep them in those little fish bowl. By the time they swim from one end to the other, they have already forgotten where there are so they never realize they are in a fish bowl."
"OK, now I get it. They probably think they are still in the ocean."
I stood there smiling like a toddler who just discovered he had a new tooth...
"umm... So..." he shuffled awkwardly. Oh no! I'm staring too much
"Emm... I need to go now. Mum would have sent out a search party by now. The SWAT team will be here any minute."
He laughed... Again.
"OK, bye Shania" he said with a smile then spun on his heels and strode away.
I began the walk to the parking lot again when it hit me. He said my name! How did he know my name? I turned around but I couldn't find him in the huge crowd of people bustling in and out of church.
I gave up and walked on to dad's car, my mind filled with confusion and my heart dancing with excitement.
How did he know my name? And was there any probability on this planet or even Mars that he likes me? These questions floated back and forth across my mind on the long drive home. Seven days never seemed such a long wait as now.
As expected, the days crawled by as fast as a snail crossing the Sahara. The wait seemed endless but it came eventually.
I was up earlier than the cock and buzzing with energy (took my mother by surprise seeing as she usually had to drag me out of bed every morning).
In no time, I had brushed my teeth, had a bath and gotten dressed in my neatly-ironed high-waisted black pencil skirt with my yellow flannel blouse neatly tucked into the skirt. I put on some light make up and threw on my yellow and black polka dot scarf. Voilà! I was good to go.
The drive to church was unnaturally long, I could barely sit it out and had to force myself not to fidget too much.
When we finally got to church, I spotted him planted on the same pew. This time, when my parents weren't looking, he flashed me a wide grin and a wink then turned back in feigned concentration. My heart went wild. Okay, to be honest, sermon that Sunday fell on deaf ears. The disco going down in my chest region completely drowned out even the church choir, the priest's voice never stood a chance. If anything I was surprised everyone couldn't hear the pounding of my heart, it was so loud.
I only survived mass that Sunday without my parents noticing my absent-mindedness by kneeling when I saw them kneel and standing when I saw them stand.
I was suddenly feeling claustrophobic so I went out to get some air.
“Jeez! What’s wrong with...?”
There he stood with a smirk adorning his super cute face.
“Why would you do that? You scared me” I said, acting cross with him.
“That’s the big idea, smarty pants! You shoulda seen your face”. He laughed. I crossed my arms and looked away in defiance.
“Heey! Don’t go all cute on me, wrinkling your nose like that”. He said, a sly smile playing on his lips. I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing.
“Don’t touch my nose, Dumbo”. I retorted, sticking my tongue out.
“Why? It’s such a cute little nose”. He replied with a pout.
“Shania!”. Our little romantic episode was interrupted by my elder brother’s voice.
“What are you doing here?”. He bellowed.
Did I mention my elder brother was a big time party-pooper and I’m not speaking of just this incident. I’m mentally rolling my eyes right now at the thought of several moments he ruined for me, but this story is not about him)
“Just get inside. I don’t want to hear it.”
I bowed my head in submission and trudged along like a loyal dog beside my brother. Before I completely lost sight of Jake, I managed to mouth a “see you next Sunday” to which he smiled in reply. Another wink.
Sundays became routine for us. We would sneak out while mass was still in progress and sit somewhere hidden and chat the rest of the time away. It was a dream love story except Jake hadn’t asked me out yet and it was beginning to get me worried. He bought me nice gifts for no reason at all, treated me like a princess, nobody and nothing else mattered when we were together and when we were not physically together, we would talk on the phone for hours on end. The earth itself seemed to stop spinning. But for some reason unfathomable for me, he hadn’t made it official. I decided to take laws into my own hands.
“Jake, I need to ask you a question but I can’t say it. I’ll prefer to send it via text message”
“Uh okay. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah sure. Just drop the call I’ll text you now”
“Okay”. The line went dead.
Moment of truth. As much as I loved the way things were, I really wanted to know if he was seeing things the way I was. Or not. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the truth but the earlier I did this, the better. I was already neck deep in it. So I typed with trembling fingers. Well, let’s say I did a lot of typing and erasing before finally arriving at:
‘I think I have feelings for you, Jake. I know it sounds crazy and even crazier because I’m taking the first step but I promise you I’m totally cool with whatever your answer might be. We can still be cool friends but I just need to know, do you have feelings for me?’
Sending the text message wasn’t the hardest part yet. Waiting for his reply was like waiting for the executioner who was polishing his fine axe while your head rests on a block, secretly hoping that he changes his mind. And in all this, you still have to smile for the camera.
I tried to keep my mind off it by rearranging my already well arranged room. Why was he taking so long?
Beep! Beep! My phone screamed into my thoughts. I snatched my phone and opened the text message, my heart racing faster than a Ferrari. It read:
‘I must say, I didn’t see this one coming. First off, I want to apologise... *some text missing*’
“Darned network!”. I hissed. The network signal was low so the text message was coming in bits. I had to wait another fifteen centuries, fifteen minutes in real time.
Beep! I didn’t even wait for my phone to beep the second time. I grabbed it and opened the text message.
‘...for being a total jerk. I was so scared you would laugh in my face if I asked you to be my girlfriend so I shied away. I would like to make this official. Miss Shania, would you accept this lame ass no-good totally ugly guy as your boyfriend for forever and a day?’
Beginnings are so cute. I could cry just reminiscing.