THE002 Him

It’s been a couple of years since we last met in person and I’ve learnt a lot more about love and relationships; what I like and what I dislike. I had a crush on her before, but I never did anything much about because I wasn’t as confident then as I am now.

So I’m staring at my phone, her number on my screen and I’m just one tap away from calling her. I need to know. I need to know what we could have been then, and could we be anything now? I think back to the first time I met her.

We met during a computer class though our mutual friend (my best friend and her classmate). I thought she was cute and a typical girl-next-door type. She was very polite, not cold or stuck up, and I got the “good girl” vibe off her. The three of us chatted for a bit and she and I ended up befriending each other on Facebook.

Most of our interaction was online from there. The first real connection we had was over shared interest in YouTuber Lindsey Stirling. Lindsey is a dancing violinist and creates original songs by blending classical music with dubstep. I had shared one of Lindsey’s videos and my best friend didn’t see what the big deal was. Then she came to my defense, or rather, Lindsey’s defense. The both of us bonded over Lindsey’s music videos as we gushed about how awesome she was. Since then, every time a new Lindsey music video came out, I’d share it with her, or she with me, whoever found it earlier.

The first time I actually made a move was to ask her to a short intro to Latin dance course. Bottom line is, she accepted and we went as partners. We had even colour-coordinated our outfits for each lesson. While we chatted about it online, I was my comfortable witty self and she said I was a funny guy.

A funny guy! I love to make people laugh and being a funny person has always been what I’ve striven to achieve. No one had ever told me I was funny before. Sure, they laugh at my jokes, but no one has ever said I was funny. Now THAT was the trigger. My self-confidence skyrocketed and I asked her out to breakfast a day before our first dance lesson.

She agreed, but it wasn’t exactly a date because I had put it as a “get to know you better since we’re gonna be dance partners for a while” thing. If I could reach back in time and slap myself I would do so right now. This might not have been a date, but it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to one, so naturally I was nervous. Still, it wasn’t a complete disaster. We ended up chatting for almost two hours. There were some awkward pauses here and there, but I had prepared a list of topics to talk about and ask about her, so I managed to keep the ball rolling. I think that was a bright idea on my part; my mind just kept blanking out whenever I looked at her.

Sometime later, I found a school Halloween event that her club had organized. I asked if she was going and she said that she wanted to go but nobody else was interested. Immediately I asked her if she wanted to go with me and she said yes. We didn’t dress up as anything for the Halloween event, but I still remember what she wore: a cute little pink dress that was adorable and yet somehow elegant on her.

In all the time I’ve known her, there is one thing I’ve always regretted doing and it’s the reason why I’m holding the phone in my hand, my finger hovering over the call button.

See, there was this one time after dance class when we went to have dinner with the other dancers. She and I lagged behind the group a bit to talk. I was so engrossed with talking to her that I didn’t check the small road we were about to cross. There was a taxi coming which I hadn’t noticed and I stepped off the pavement. She grabbed my hand and pulled me back immediately.

I know what you’re thinking; it’s a classic scene from a Korean romance drama or something. I seriously did not make this up. It wasn’t even a close shave. But it happened and it wasn’t even the thing I regretted.

After the taxi passed, she didn’t let go of my hand.

BUT I LET GO OF HERS.

As soon as I did, I realized my mistake. She didn’t even make a move to pull her hand out of mine. It’s not that I didn’t want to hold her hand; of course I did! And it’s not like we haven’t held hands in dance class before. I just felt so… shocked. I had no idea how to react, so instinctively I pulled away. I have lost count of how many times I’ve beat myself up over this. It’s the worst oh-gawd-why moment I’ve ever had. And I was too much of a coward to do anything about it afterwards. To this day I still remember that her hand was small and soft and her palms were a little leathery, the mark of someone who’s worked hard with her hands.

Just one mistake which I failed to recover from and it’s haunted me ever since. And with all that I know now, I have to find out if we could have been something.

The phone is ringing in my ear.

-Jace

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