Every four years when Olympic ads hit the TV screen, I would think of him. Not that he’s an Olympic athlete or anything. He’s not, but he’s the only one among the people I’m familiar with who loves sports and is pretty good at it.
It was 8th grade and I often watched him playing soccer in our school’s soccer field. In those days, women’s soccer was unheard of and we didn’t even know girls could play soccer. I didn’t like sports then or now, but I liked to watch him play since he is quick and very skilled in manipulating the ball. Despite his sports prowess, he’s not the most popular boy in school since he’s not very tall. In those days, only two kinds of boys were popular–those who were tall and those whose parents could afford to buy them Japanese gadgets. In school, he sat not far away from me and I often felt that he secretly watched me, which made me dream of one day I could announce him being my boyfriend.
If he and I just talked, I think the outcome would be very different. He’s very shy and couldn’t talk much at all. Still, if we just sat down face to face, things would go very well. However that’s not what happened. He chose to write me a letter and mail it to me.
I received the letter and was happy to tore it open to read his confession of love, but to my disappointment, it had only two lines, written in bad handwriting and awkward grammar. There’s no love mentioned in it, but something else that’s very trivial. So trivial that I’ve already forgot what it’s about.
I held the letter, not knowing what to do. I had imagined I would find a sickly John Keats who writes me love poems while coughing into a white handkerchief. His presence would be the best way to suit my romantic fantasy while annoying my authoritarian parents. Or alternatively my literature teacher who grew long hair, spoke in classical verses, spent all his money on alcohol and cigarette for the purpose of finishing a book that seemed never going to be finished. He would give me the sense of freedom I coveted and he would irritate my parents even more.
It dawned on me that he, who wrote the letter in my hand, possessed no literary flair of Keats or my teacher. I felt a little hesitation. A week later, I finally answered his letter with two lines talking about some equally trivial matter, which I can’t remember now what it was about.
Alas, he must be upset with my delay or my reply. Not long after I mailed out my reply, he and another girl became “special friends”. I was shocked and infuriated with his “betrayal”.