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Might be true love
I was drawn to him.
It took me a long time to figure it out. Last year, he had come into class halfway through the first semester of school, and he stood out from the others. Everything he did, the clothes he dressed in, the way he carries himself, all screamed: “I’m different than other guys! Look at me!”
Last year, I had promised myself not to fall in love when I came to China, and to save it all for college because I didn’t want it to be hard for us to part when it came to it. At an international school like this, people were always coming and going. Those who managed to stay for more than two years were considered to be part of the permanent family.
But he drew my attention almost immediately. Maybe it was because of how “fresh” he looked, straight from the States, unsure of what to do, who his allies were. I sat back and watched the wolves pounce upon the new meat. I felt compelled to get up, go up to him, and say, “Hi, I’m V----.” and shake his hand and make him feel welcome, greeted by a fellow Asian American.
The wolves did pounce all right. The hungriest ones went straight up to him, but somehow, they were repelled and he sat alone at the table, though I watched as at least a dozen other people approached, stopped, hesitated, and then turned tail and left. He didn’t notice this, of course – he was tired, still adjusting from jet lag and to the new time zone.
Then, T---- approached him. He was one of those wolves who were clever enough to know that you don’t charge in for the kill but you go around, befriend it first, and then strike when they least expected it. He leaned down and said something to him. And right after that, the bargain was struck. He had a new friend in T----.
Every time I caught myself daydreaming about what it would be like to have a guy like – no, I would turn my head away from these thoughts. I pushed the new kid out of my mind – far out. I wouldn’t fall in love.
But fate had other plans. She threw us together in a class as a group and we did recordings and we worked together. He did a lot of work – the most work, and he insisted on it. And he never asked for help, even when I, who was designated the team leader, offered to help. I was shocked because I’ve never worked with a guy like him who threw one hundred percent of his effort into one single project that was only supposed to be a ten minute presentation, not a ten-minute show. My respect for him went up. But no, I wouldn’t fall in love. After all, this was purely business right?
But like I said, I was always drawn to him. On our class trip, I became tuned to his voice. Every word he said, I always managed to catch, though I probably didn’t remember it. Every photo shot, I found out later, I was almost in every one of his photos, or I was the one taking it. On the second day, his iPod ran out of power. He had seen me the day before with an iPod and he asked for a charger, but I offered him my new iLuv (an extra battery pack) for the day, telling him that I would give him the charger once I returned to the hotel that night, even though my iPod ran out of power halfway through the day. And I did. But it’s purely business right? I’m just helping out a fellow classmate…right?
The next morning, he knocked on our door and I answered it. There he stood, barefoot, no shirt (as his room was next to ours) and his skin was slightly damp, fresh from the shower. His hair stood in spikes on his head. “Thanks,” he told me with a smile, and then he vanished after handing me the cord. I stood there for a moment, a little unsteady. “What? What happened?” R---- said as she came out of the shower, as I closed the door. She looked at me curiously. “Who was that?”
“Justin,” I replied, still a bit shocked. “He came without his shirt.”
“Ehhh!” R---- made a face and we both started laughing. Why was I feeling this way?
We had to go on two sixteen-hour train rides, both times where I was drawn to him, and I got to know him better. I learned that he had a girlfriend in the school, but it wasn’t working out well. I learned so many more other things, like the fact that he was always there to lighten the mood. When it got late, and I tried to sleep, and he and his friends were on the bottom bunks playing “Spin the Bottle”, he was never the loudest one – he was always very considerate. At one point, when I was so tired I fell asleep on a bus ride in another city on our trip, I think he was one of the ones who gently woke me up in time for me to get off the bus.
In many of the meals, he always helped me get food, even when I could reach the big bowl of rice everyone was scooping from. He bought soda for everyone, me included, and didn’t even ask for anyone to pay him back in return. I was drawn to him. Completely drawn.
And this year, I pushed him out of my mind again, trying not to think about it. But then, fate once again came into work – she threw us together for a violin duet, which we both worked hard at and got to know each other a little more over. He began to trust me, and eventually became a really good friend who I could talk to about almost anything. Almost. And then, that’s when I realized I was in love with him. And I realized that I had been fighting the inevitable, the thing that was in front of me the whole time – that I was drawn to him because I was meant to be with him at some point.
But I was afraid of one thing – I was afraid now, of losing him. Now that I had him, I never wanted to lose this love for him, nor did I want to lose him. But I know, that no matter what happens, I’ll always have a spot in my heart for him. “Better to have loved and lost than to have never known what it is to have loved and lost.”
Yes, I was drawn to him from the beginning. But was it also fate who threw us together at the same school in the same year? Who knows. It might just be true – after all, we came to this school together in the same year.
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