I don’t know why I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it until now. I swear, I must’ve tried a thousand times over to forget about last night. Things just happen, right? Yet I still can’t get over myself.
Last New Year’s eve, I went out to buy some chocolate from the convenience store. We were walking and then you drove by on what must’ve been your friend’s motorcycle. You might not have seen me but I saw you, and I was caught off-guard. I knew who you were. How could I not know you? It was only our first year in the same college and I have already seen you, heard about you, and watched you. It didn’t matter that we were living in the same town, had the same friends, but had no clue about each other before. It just began to happen that I would see you everywhere.
You had been on everyone’s eyes the moment you stepped into campus. You were good-looking and you were so attractive girls didn’t know what to do with you… for the first few seconds. After that, they knew exactly what to do. I thought you were cute and I kept my eye on you. But I did not want to buy into your popularity. I would not crush on you and start giggling around another self-centered boy. And you made it easy. You kept passing me by, never taking notice of me.
So, I guess it would’ve been natural to assume that when you quickly ignored me last New Year’s eve I would’ve been used to it. However, something happened that year between the two of us. To this day, I don’t know if it’s something to reminisce on or be disgusted by.
One night, I was on the way home from a school event. It was later than I would’ve normally come home so all the vans in the transportation terminal that would take me home were gone. So I rode a jeepney to the next terminal a few miles away. Then I saw you waiting for a van, too. I wanted to walk back and find another way to come home. It wasn’t you exactly. I just always have this tendency to flee when I encounter things I’m not good at, such as being around good-looking boys. But there was no other way for me to go home so I stuck it out and sat down on another bench, away from you.
It was stupid, though, how I kept trying to catch you in my peripheral vision. Maybe I did catch you looking once or twice. I knew it was only because I was actually pleasant-looking and there weren’t any other girls around to give you the attention you wanted. Or maybe you just wanted to know who the weird girl was. Anyway, we kept on our glancing game until the van finally came. I made it a point not to sit anywhere near you. I even took a seat at the back of the van.
But, that was not to be the plan for that night. A couple wanted to sit next to each other and there was no way for them to do that unless I gave up my seat and move up a row, which I had no choice but to do. In the blink of an eye, I was sitting right next to you, squeezed in by the other two people in our row. We spent an hour riding that van, and I couldn’t help but feel your arm brushing against the side of my waist. Once or twice you turned your head slightly to me, but you never looked at me. Still I could feel you getting closer. I was a fool. I leaned into it. Lord have mercy, you leaned into me, too.
There was nothing else I was going to let happen between us that night, but it felt good having your attention – even when I had convinced myself I didn’t want it.
I knew where you were headed and which stop you’d get off on. It would’ve been so easy for me to get off on your stop and just let things happen or not happen with you. But, I couldn’t do it. Maybe I just didn’t want to be that girl. Or maybe I just chickened out. Whatever made me get off at an earlier stop, I don’t think I regret it.
You were so used to girls throwing themselves around you that, maybe, that night you thought it would be easy to make a fool out of me. But I didn’t let it happen. But we still shared that ride home, and now you are part of a memory.
That’s why I still remember it so clearly. That’s why I still remember when I saw you last New Year’s eve. That’s why it surprised me to see you againthisNew Year’s Eve.
I was with my sister on the way to her best friend’s house. I hesitated to come because I might be the only teen there, but I already knew my sister’s best friend. She was nice, and her brother was my age. So I came with. And, if I was surprised to be seeing you again on New Year’s Eve, I was just plain shocked to be seeing you in that house. You were the brother. I have known my sister’s best friend for as long as they’ve known each other, and you – you! – were her brother. We have never even met!
I think I died a thousand tiny little deaths just seeing you that night. And when we were introduced, I think you were just a tiny bit surprised to see me too. You also made sure to never come down from your room and actually see me again after we were introduced. I think I handled that pretty well. I only tried making it hard for you to sleep by singing karaoke the whole night long.
And now, after seeing you, I cannot get you out of my head. I try forgetting about all of it and just erase you, because it’s absolute nonsense to be thinking about a guy who’s clearly into other more ‘interesting’ stuff and is probably avoiding me. But, dammit, I can’t even shake it out of my head. I still see you in my head looking at me, then I realize that I always look like a fool every time we run into each other.
I mean, what is this? Some kind of sick joke? Serenf*ckingdipity? What, are we supposed to always have this magical New Year’s Eve tradition of seeing each other? And then we ignore each other the whole year? What this is is bullshiz. I shouldn’t even be thinking about you. You, with your centeredness on your looks and on your body and your wannabe modeling career. I can’t, though. Not for the moment. I just can’t keep myself from thinking that this is something else. But it just clearly isn’t.
The only solution is for you to stop showing up. Please, stop.