I'm going to do it. I will do it. I said I would, and if there's one thing I do, it's keep my word. I moved from behind the tree that had been my safe place from which I would watch for the last six months and started to make my way towards the loud group of friends, chatting and joking about things only they would understand. I could do it. I have no reason not to. Except for maybe the chance of rejection and the humiliation that would follow, and I would be ostracised for all the schools social circles and lose all his friends and I would have to move schools but it wouldn't matter because gossip travels between schools and I would still be lonely and this isn't a good idea.
“Xi Gu?” too late. “Hey man, what are you going here?” said Xia De from his place on the ground with the legs stretched out in front of him, leaning back on his hands with a subtle but still there smile on his face. To his right was his brother Xia En, who was leaning forward with his arms wrapped around his knees, squatting just behind them, looking kinda bored, with one of his arms each resting on the shoulder of a twin, was Gao Qun, leaning against a nearby tree, looking as carefree as ever was Sun Bo. And standing with his back to him was the object of my distress, the one person in this world who could make me feel as if I had control in any situation. If he stayed like that, with his back turned, not giving me even a glimpse of the eyes I spent so many nights dreaming about then everything would be fine.
“Oh, yeah. I wanted to ask you about…” my rushly prepared sentence slipped from his brain as the world stopped, or at least mine. Everything outside of my line of sight disappeared, all I could see was him, his hair, his eyes, his lips and my head filled with all the things I wished I could do to him. Here I am face to face with my crush, Xiang Hao Ting.
Am I blushing? It feels like I’m blushing. Oh god, what if he sees me blushing, puts two and two together and figures out I have a crush on him and then I’ll get rejected and the humiliation will follow, and I would be ostracised for all the schools social circles and. “Xi Gu? Earth to Xi Gu. You ok man, you zoned out on us” when my Brian decide to return from it’s little vacation in dream land with a detour to my worst nightmares, Hao Ting is standing right in front of me, in all his glory, almost engulfing him with his height.
“Huh? Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Completely fine. Just like, really fine.” Well, he thinks I’m an idiot. I am an idiot. What was I thinking, just walking up to him and just saying something. What was I even planning on saying? ‘Hey Hao Ting, I know we’ve only talked like 3 times but i've been stalking you for the past couple months and you're so cute and funny that I think you might be the love of my life.’ that would not go over well.
“You said you wanted to ask me something?” said Xia De, reminding me of his existence, and the world outside of Hao Ting gaze comes back to me.
“Yes, yeah. I wanted to ask you about that thing with the mirrors, that looks at stuff thats far away and all that, what's that called again”
“You mean, a telescope?”
“Yeah, that. Well that's all I wanted, I'll be going now, have a nice day” run, run away, far away, maybe to a new continent, Australia not too far away right? Well, that was a disaster. I should stop running before I pass out. I finally stop running when I reach the school library and take a moment to catch my breath. The feeling of the bricks of the outside wall of the library cools my skin and calms me just a little bit. Deep breaths, in and out. In and out. In and out.
“So, how did it go?” my eyes take a moment to adjust to the bright light of day after how tightly i’ve had them closed, once back to normal my eyes focus on the girl standing over me, Li Xi Yu. “Did you throw up, Ting An thought you might throw up. You look pale, oh, don’t tell me you threw up” she squatted down next to me, eyes scanning me up and down looking for the source of my discomfort. Her hands were warm against my cool skin, her caring eyes calming the sick feeling in my stomach. “Are you feeling ok?” The answer to the question was a hard no but I couldn't tell her that, she had so much faith in me this time. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn't be here now. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t be so grateful? I am currently in a lot of emotional pain, and a little physical pain.
The way this all started was when Xi Yu started to pursue Hao Ting after he miraculously came second in the schools midterm exams. She likes smart guys, and that put Hao Ting right in her line of sight. The more time she spent with him and his friends the more time we had to spend with him and his friends. It started slow, with my heart beating faster anytime he looked at me, thinking about his smile in quiet moments with just me and my thoughts, but I was never certain till that day.
I was walking through the schools lost in my own mind, I had just got a 70 on an physics exam, I knew my parents were going to be upset with me, they expected more out of me after all, and I walked straight into a solid but soft mass. It was Hao Ting, I just wanted to get out of there, after the day I had I didn't need to put thinking about my confusion feeling for the taller boy on top of them. I rushed out a quick apology and tried to move past him, but he had grabbed the paper in my hand before I could. “Wow, 70 thats…”
“Yeah I know, I just need to do better next time”
“Because my parents will be disappointed in me, I’m supposed to be better”
“Well if I was them I would be proud of you”
“Yeah, I could never get a score like that. That's what I like about you, always so focused, so ahead of everyone else, it's really impressive, you’re so smart.” He handed back the paper to me and when he did our hands touched, it was just for a second, but it was the best second of my life. His slight touch filled me with so much warmth that I felt as if I would never be cold again. I felt safe and secure, like nothing would hurt me as long as I was in his arms. I wanted to stay there forever at that moment. But life always comes crashing back, and the moment was broken. I don't know if he felt something that day, but I like to think he did.
After that I knew it wouldn’t be long before seeing him with Xi Yu would become unbearable, and I would have to either have get over my crush (not likely), end my friendship with Xi Yu (also not likely) or tell Xi Yu about my crush on her crush.
“Ok spill it”
“Oh you know what. You ask me to go out for coffee after school, which means that you want to talk about something, you didn't invite the others so it has something to do with me. You got a slice of cake which means you're upset and you haven't touched it so your nerves, you can stop me if i’m wrong.” I forgot how well she can read me. We’ve been friends for years, since we were both 10, both our family’s thought we were gonna get married when were older but i’m gay and not her type, not that our families know that.
“I think I have a crush on Hao Ting”
“No, I know I have a crush on him” for anyone else it would look like she had no reaction, but after almost 7 years of friendship I can tell by the slight twitch in her left eye that she’s surprised and by stillness of her hands that she wasn’t shocked. Like she knew I would say something like this but not exactly that.
“For how long?” She leaned forward, so she's not mad, that's a good sign.
“At least a couple of weeks but I wasn’t sure till yesterday, I wanted to tell you but, I didn't want to upset you because I know you like him too and I don't want this to come between us” she looks down at the palm of her hands, shifting her focus from the left to the right, deciding on how to react to this sudden development. I don't know what she's thinking, I don't think she does either. After a very slow minute of silence she finally decides to speak.
“Ok, let's do this”
“Get you a man.” after that she became my number one supporter, always helping me, encouraging me to tell him how I feel, it became the only thing we would talk about.
“Did he throw up, if so Mei Fang owes me 100NT$” the addition of Ting An to the scene shook me back to reality. He’s looking down on me with his usual expression ascendancy, he never really like me, i’m not sure if its a gay thing or a Xi Yu thing, giving his very obvious crush on her. Not that Xi Yu knows.
“I’m sure it went great, they probably already have a date planned. Oh you two make such a good couple” and that would be Mei Fang, cheerful as ever. She was jumping up and down like the ball of joy and energy she was, she has always had a way of lightening the mood.
“They just talked, doesn’t mean that they're dating yet.” said Xi Yu, ever the realist.
“Nothing happened. I didn't say anything to him”
“But you promised” there is was, the thing I was afraid of, Xi Yu had so much faith in me, and I let her down. The only thing that scared me more was talking to Hao Ting. I’m starting to see why this is such an impossible task, because it was impossible.
“I know, I know. It's just hard. What do I even say?” I want to cry, but I know I can't. Not in front of Xi Yu. Not after all she gave up for me. “I just need a minute, I’ll catch up with you guys later”
Ting An walks away without a thought, like he mostly likely wanted to since he walked over here, dragging a protesting Mei Fang with him. Xi Yu stays behind for a moment, hand resting on mine, giving me just a little comfort, calming my mind in its crazed state. After a moment she left me to the solitude I had requested. Just me, and my thoughts.