Having been a student of an all girls school for about twelve years, my interaction with boys had been minimal, to say the least. I had had a childhood friend who I once had a crush on but later it grew into a more brotherly affection (at the precise time he started seeing me as a woman. Timing is a bitch). I had had a few guy friends I played Cricket with near my house, but I lost all contact with them once I ‘became’ a girl. A bunch of guy friends at tuition classes, but not many I knew well enough to be versed in ‘male psychology’.
Being in a Catholic girls school gave me the added ‘advantage’ of seeing any male who was even remotely interested in me through tinted glasses. From upper primary classes I’d been taught time and time again that men are strong, scary and sleazy. I had also had a few frightening ‘encounters’ with guys by that time, so I was convinced that nothing good would come from being in a relationship.
And yet, I kept inhaling shoujo manga and certain fictional romances like Pride and Prejudice. I idolized Sakura and Syaoran, a fictional couple who seemed to me have the perfect relationship. It was sweet, understanding and most importantly, they had maximum trust in each other. I desired to meet someone who’d see me in that way.
But that was inhibited by my above mentioned man-fear and low self-esteem.
When I went to college, for the first time (in a looooong time) I was regularly sharing a classroom with guys. They weren’t as scary as I thought they would be. In fact, I found most of them
sweet in their own little ways. There was this guy who had the sweetest voice, this sensitive musician, a loud guy who told the cheesiest jokes and a visually impaired boy who was smarter than most of us put together. And then there was Shit head, whom I’ve previously referred to in another post as my angsty ex. You can read about him here, here and here.
I wanted to wait a bit until I finally write this, because I wanted my words to be at least a little free of prejudice. Shit head wasn’t always such a…. well, shit head.
He was actually my best friend when college started. There were so many things I liked about him, albeit in a platonic manner. He was kind to others, for one. I liked how people always had good things to say about him, and it gave me a strange sense of pride, like ‘oh yeah thats my best friend you’re talking about isn’t he grrreat?!‘ He wasn’t a very good singer, but he tried, and that was admirable. I liked how smart he was, and how he almost always knew just what to say. I liked his cheesy jokes, his use of the language (I as a reader am partial to such people) and how our interests coincided so often.
He was the person who first taught me how to use public transportation. Me being a generally anxious kid, it helped to have someone experienced beside me. He seemed so special that I had this inner drive to better myself just so that I can deserve his friendship.
When he started flirting with me, I tried to act as if I had never noticed. I mean, I am generally dense when it comes to the matters of the heart, but the boy was glaringly obvious and it was frightening. I kept thinking ‘Oh please let this be my misunderstanding I actually value this person!‘
This went on for about five months or so, and then he gave me an ultimatum. Either I say yes, or he start to ‘forget’ me. Meaning, I could either be his girlfriend or his ‘nothing at all’. That scared me more than his affections.
I knew it was wrong to lead him on, but I also didn’t want to lose my best friend. In that short time he had become indispensable- a strong pillar of support in my everyday life. If he left, I’d have to face my demons myself. It was selfish of me, but I agreed to becoming his girlfriend. To ease my guilt, I decided to be the best girlfriend he’d ever had, and I was convinced that one day, I really would fall in love with him.
It went fine for some time. The guilt all but disappeared, because what I did was effectively making both of us happy. We kept on being in a relationship that was almost entirely platonic- no kissing or making out, just the holding hands part. I can even count the number of hugs we’d shared in one hand. I was comfortable. I really liked having a boyfriend. And later I started crushing on him too. But any romantic feelings I had were overshadowed by my need for his company because he acted like my baby sitter. And he liked it too.
I guess the problems began when he stopped being there for me. That was almost the entire reason why I’d convinced myself that I loved him, but now that he was weaseling himself off such situations, I panicked. We would be having a heart to heart and suddenly he’d go offline, leaving me behind miserable and lonely. I had chalked this up to network connection problems, but later he himself admitted that he was doing it on purpose because he had better things to do. Though we would see each other regularly, we almost never spent time together. He began to care less about me than he had at the beginning. Maybe it’s because we’d felt different things for each other. His ‘love’ was wearing off, but my ‘need’ was growing stronger.
I also disliked how he treated me in public. He never acknowledged me in a group, and seemed to enjoy spending time with others (mostly a few girls, once-upon-a-time close friends of mine whom people had nicknamed his fan club) more than with me.Whenever I brought this up, we’d get into a huge fight where we’d both hit the other right where it hurts. The relationship I had treasured so much had by then turned into something overwhelmingly toxic. But I was as much at fault there as he was- we’d both changed. In a response to him moving further away, I had become insufferably clingy and emotional. And he had taken me for granted.
It was very difficult for me to cope after he dumped me. He’d told me he had stopped liking me a long time ago, and I was embarrassed at how oblivious I had been to his change of heart. Then a lot of things started going wrong. There was a medical emergency, but thankfully nothing serious. There were problems in my family, among my friends and now even my own body was rebelling. But still, I came out stronger. Even better, recently I surprised myself when I found out that I have a crush on a guy. I know it would never be requited, but the bittersweet feeling is enjoyable and addicting.
But it is still difficult to have to see Shit head everyday. He held on to the hatred, I suppose (kinda confusing, because I was the one he’d dumped and not vice versa) and changed himself more than ever. Everything and anything I’d even remotely liked about him has been changed. His friend circle has been distorted, at least inside the class, and now he mostly hangs out with people who believe him God. Most people he’d badmouthed me to ended up telling me about it. Even a few teachers know of his actions because he makes it all too damn apparent. And it disgusts me how he keeps offering a hand of friendship, actually believing that I’d be eager to let him back into my life in spite of how much he’s changed or tried to hurt me after the breakup.(But I have to admit, his responses to my ‘no thank you’s are entertaining, to say the least.
I will always cherish the person he was. The slightly awkward but kind boy I called Mitty and respected above anyone else. The person I’d hoped would be my best friend forever. I don’t know who to blame for his transformation – is it me, the world or himself?
But at the very least,he would remain unchanged in my heart.