By MATTHEW CHONG
The Boy had waited long enough. After two years and eight classes together, he still didn’t have the courage to approach Her. Time and time again, something held the Boy back. From homework to family reunions, he had taken great pains to exhaust every possible excuse. His friends were of no help either, especially since they would tease the Boy without end, reminding him of his inexperience in the world of relationships.
The Boy himself was unassuming, due to his quiet nature and short stature. The latter would prove to be a hindrance to him, and in more ways than one. Besides the obvious disadvantage in future basketball games, The Boy’s stature also affected his self-esteem, leading to an increased sense of inadequacy. But in spite of these “shortcomings,” the Boy made up for them with a well-manned nature and a learned mind, all hidden behind a pair of glasses.
As a result, the Boy harbored two extremes within him. One served as the voice of reason, while the other was the voice of self-consciousness, especially when with regards to relationships.
He had approached crushes many times before, but the conversation would sour before it even began. No matter how many times he would rehearse (and yes, he did rehearse conversations), what had seemed coherent in theory would appear unintelligible in practice. With his fight-or-flight response kicked into high gear, the Boy’s thoughts would homogenize and his speech would devolve into irreproducible sounds.
“Okay, you now have her full attention. Ask how she’s doing, then talk about the weather.”
“Nobody talks about the weather anymore.”
“What? I’m just stating a fact of –”
“Will you just be quiet?! You’re not helping the situation! Besides, this isn’t so bad. Now you just have to wait for the right opportunity to-”
“Wait, what was that ungodly noise? You just made it again. Speak words. Words, man! Okay, you’re starting to perspire. Her eyes are starting to wander, so she’s losing interest. Hey, if you want to save this conversation, then you’re gonna have to think of something fast! Is she reaching for her phone? Yep, she’s definitely reaching for her phone!”
Having suffered the consequences of direct speech time and time again, the Boy had recently decided to take a new approach. Whatever he could not express verbally, he would attempt to express on paper. And so, with that in mind, the Boy began work on an elaborate piece of poetry.
The finished product– written and edited in a month’s time–soon found its way into the Girl’s hands. Though the Boy did not did not witness her reaction to the poem first-hand , the end result spoke for itself. To this day the Boy fills the lonely hours with reading and studying, still (to the amusement of his friends) inexperienced in the world of relationships.