There is no was.

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There was this guy.

He sits at the back of the lecture hall but he always made sure he was never situated at the last row. He was late enough to be coming in when class starts but early enough to be there when class ‘starts’.

He wore big framed glasses, making his already small eyes seemed like they fit one-tenth of the actual lens. His outlook was nerdy like one of those dorks from movies. I could picture him with a bunch of his pals trading cards or superhero comics. He was a bit plum looking and he clearly finds joy in the mantra ‘live to eat, not eat to live’ and saw no urgency for staying in shape for the looks. Yet, I catch him occasionally dressing up to class. Not that he puts on a suit and tie or anything, but you could clearly tell he was putting effort in trying to look good. Of which I found it funny because I could definitely tell he was obviously trying to look stylish but the way his slightly bulky figure fits into his style of gussying up… Skinny chinos do not go well with chubby thighs. Let’s just say he looks best when he is wearing what he feels is the most comfortable. I find him wearing a hoodie and a pair of comfy joggers more acceptable to look at, he also smiles more when he had these apparels on. He’s nice and he’s cute. Not the ‘I would date him’ cute but ‘comfortable’ cute.

In lectures, I sometimes would come in late because of the traffic on the way to campus or I was held back by some meeting or agenda with the camp committee and I would often sit at the back of the hall. It was because of these late attendances I got to observe him so closely. He usually sits between the same two guys, I am guessing those two are the closest to him among his friend group which the rest of them sits a row behind for god knows why. There was a slight imbalance between the relationship he has between the two: one which he would often talk to more often than the other. Yet, both of them share some comfortable sense of silence between them. Sometimes I see the occasional fist bump with the one guy on the left, other times I see the guy on his right, leaning over almost “head-on-shoulder” watching corgi puppy videos on Instagram. It was the perfect crossover between “brooo” and “awww” which is rare in this world when every guy thinks he has to beat the feminine side out of him to be more masculine. To me, it is the exact opposite.

One time, I got to sit beside him but it was more of an accident. My friend who used to book seats at the lecture hall before class would begin happen to come in late and I came in later than late. She ended up taking two seats on the same back row as that guy and his two friends. So, I sat beside him. Actually, there were two empty seats between us and that is just because it’s common etiquette to leave seats between strangers or people you never talk to before. But we kind of sat together?

It’s funny because, throughout my life, I’ve never had one good experience with boys. Maybe it’s bad luck. But guys are terrible. They’re so oblivious. It’s like we’re wired completely different from each other as two genders. For us, we think using our head; for them, all the blood goes down to whatever is in their pants. All they do is stare at us. They give us creepy looks, they offer ingenuine gestures and even when they do seem sincere, they always end up asking for your phone number in the end. It’s like all they want is to acquire one of us like we’re their possession, like it’s a trophy to show off!

And you know what’s worse, that half of them are predatory. I’m not talking rapists or stalkers, those are definitely on the list. I’m talking about normal day-to-day guys who seem like they’re normal but they’re not. A lot of them notice you from the start and observe your actions behind your back. Their eyes latched onto you and they start jotting down in memory of everything you did. And when they think the time is right, they strike. For a sexual abuser, it’s a dark alley in the middle of the night; for a stalker, it’s finally getting to know what your social media profile is; for any other guy, it’s sending you a gift he thinks you would absolutely like and asking you out on a date. And when you reject them, they manipulate the situation and turn it on you. That’s the worse part.

For just once in my life, I want to be proven wrong. I want a guy who would look at me like I’m a person.

And this person sitting beside me? Two seats away from me? Throughout that whole lecture, I never caught him taking a glance at me. None at all. Can you believe it? In my whole life, all the boys around would do is stand and stare, blow whistles and catcall. This guy? He never looked at me, not for a second.

Maybe that’s better: not being looked at when everyone else did. Maybe he doesn’t care how I looked. Maybe that’s a good thing because everyone else who did took me for my appearance, treated me terribly. Maybe he’s different.

There was this girl.

Last week, I and the boys were drinking our guts out. We were laughing and clinking beer bottles until one of us shushed us and said: “Hottest girl in the class? Everyone has to share. We’re going clockwise, starting with you Ed!”

“Me? You’re putting me on the spot? Well, I am a little too drunk to fight you. If I had to pick one, I would say…”

There were 12 of us drinking that night, only 2 of them heard of the girl’s name I mentioned. One of them is my bro, Timmy who I used to share corgi videos with during lectures.

“For sure bro. She’s like a hidden gem. She even asked for your phone number the other day!”

“My man!”

“Dude didn’t lift a finger and is already on 2nd base…”

“You’re the nerdiest of us all and you’re the first to get a lady? That’s unfair, yup I said it,”

When you hit it, remember us and don’t forget to share the deets. We’re your bros!

Truth is, I’ve always had eyes on the hidden gem from the start. She was like, Jade. Jade always sat at the front row of the lecture hall but that was mostly because her friend would always book two spots right in front of the lecture podium. Jade was something else. You remember when you first had your high school love fling? It was hot, spontaneous but also the rush it brought… I can’t believe it but she brought back that exact feeling to me.

Jade was beautiful, no doubt. But I can’t help but wonder if she is single? She definitely looks single. She’s got no guy friends as far as I can tell, she always hung out with the same girl she always sat with during lectures. Isn’t it surprising how she doesn’t have any male friends at all? You would think, a girl as pretty as her, would have guys crowding around her like crazy. But, no. She’s just sitting at the front row, the row which is usually the emptiest except for her and her friend.

“For sure bro. She’s like a hidden gem,”

Initially, I would sit around the middle of the hall because it was the perfect balance between the perfect view and the perfect spot for not being called out by the professor in case he starts a random Q&A spree. But then, I started noticing Jade and every time I caught her presence, I couldn’t look away. It’s like my eyes are latched onto her whenever she sets her foot into the hall. Slowly, I started changing seats in the hall. Finally, I managed to find this one less than perfect seat position where I could catch the entire back of Jade’s body face against me and sometimes catching glimpses of her front when she makes a slight turn. Unfortunately, that meant I have to sit at some of the back rows in the hall. Well, at least I made friends with Edd who already sits at the back, he really likes cute dog videos and at least I wasn’t actually sitting at the last row of the hall.

One day, this Jade sat next to me, with no absolute reason why. That whole hour of lecture, my heart was racing. I got a literal beauty, a doll just 2 meters away from me. That was the most stress I felt in a long time. The whole hour, all I did was control myself. Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her. Or else she might think I’m a creep. So all I did during that one hour of class, was repeating that mantra. I missed out everything the professor taught that day. I guess it’s better than maybe ruining my chances with the hottest girl in class. And so I did it, an hour of no looking at the hottest girl alive. What an accomplishment.

She even asked for your phone number the other day!

Who knew the silent treatment would work? I thought that trick only worked in the movies.

Thank you for reading. Story is entirely fiction. I DO NOT CONDONE THESE BEHAVIORS EXAMPLED IN THE WRITING.

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